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Your government is using your tax dollars to poison you!  So put down your cheese burger and fries and read on to see what you can do to stop it...

The United States is under going a huge epidemic.  One third of us are affected.  That is the largest epidemic in our history.  

We are facing an obesity and diabetes epidemic.  This epidemic is predicted to cause the next generation of Americans to have a shorter life span than the previous generation.  This is another first in our history.

The reason that people are fat?  There is just too much food and people are over eating, right?  Wrong.  We now realize that something in our diet has triggered a hormone cascade that is telling our bodies, at least for some of us, to hang on to every calorie and convert it to fat.  That something is also telling our bodies to get depressed, move less, have pain, snore, destroy our blood vessels and our hearts and a host of other serious noxious things.  Years of research have gone into figuring out what it is that is causing this change in people and we now think we have some idea about what is happening.  Higher sugar intake is causing higher insulin levels which in turn create inflammation and trigger the hormone cascade.

So we are choosing to eat more sugar and should stop.  Right?  Well not so fast Tex.  It might not be a choice.  Go to your kitchen cabinet and pick up a box, can or bottle at random.  Scan the ingredients.  I’ll wait....

Does the box say, "High Fructose Corn Syrup" or "Dehydrogenated", "Partially Dehydrogenated" or "Mono-diglycerides"?  You my friend are the victim of government poisoning.

Here is how it works.  For decades now the government has used our tax dollars to give to farmers to encourage them to grow what Americans consider staples.  Specifically, corn, soy, wheat, rice and cotton.  That has made these five crops very inexpensive to grow.  Corn is especially cheap to grow (3 cents a lb).  Until Willie Nelson started growing corn for ethanol we had a surplus of corn.  Nothing was cheaper to buy than corn.  What can you do with all that corn?  Why you can make High Fructose Corn Syrup out of it and use it as a sweetener.  And now HFCS is in almost everything.  Even things that you and I do not ordinarily consider sweet.  The problem is that HFCS has a very high glycemic index.  It goes directly across the stomach lining and into your blood.  It is converted to glucose almost immediately and then causes your insulin to rise in a sharp spike.  Remember, insulin is connected to the inflammation/obesity cascade.  

A secondary problem is that soy and corn oil are also being made too cheaply.  These oils are the "bad" oils that are implicated in obesity and heart disease.

These subsidies are contained in something called the Farm Bill.  Originally this bill was to help small farmers produce the staples that the US needed in case something bad should happen to our food supply.  But over the years it has morphed into a bill that encourages industrial farming of one or two crops that are of poor nutritional value and do not even taste good.  These crops are taking over our food supply.  Less and less variation in our food supply now exists for several reasons and the Farm Bill is one of them.  The Farm Bill is pushing our farmers to grow the exact foods that are making us sick.  Meanwhile the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables (the cure for the epidemic) has gone up 38.9% from 1985-2000.  The cost of soda over the same period dropped 23.6% and sugar is down 7%.  Fats and oils are also down 14%.  That is why the obesity epidemic is worse among the poor.

Now you may think that I want the Farm Bill repealed.  That was my first instinct but thank God there are people in Washington much smarter than myself.  For the last 3 years a group of activists and physicians have been working on a new Farm Bill.  This bill subsidizes the things that make Americans healthier.  Fresh fruits and vegetables grown on smaller more local farms.  (OK...the activists did not get every change they wanted in the bill but it’s a start.)  That bill comes before the House on Friday.

SO HERE IS THE ACTION:

I need you to call the Congressional switch board at 202-224-3121 and tell your representative that you want the Healthy Farm Bill (HR962) passed so that the government stops poisoning you with your own money.

For more information on this subject or to sign an on line petition go to Healthy Farm Bill .

My sincere thanks to Dr. Wallinga for his very insightful talk at the 5th Annual Nutrition and Health Conference held this week in Phoenix, put on by Dr Andrew Weil’s Integrative Medicine Center .  You can see more of Dr. Wallinga’s work at The Health Observatory .

See Dan Imhoff explain the basics of the Farm Bill at Part 1
Part 2 Part 3
Part 4 Part 5

And while you’re at it check out how the government is poisoning our kids at school lunch, Healthy Eating Research .

Originally posted to Dr A on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 05:59 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  very good job (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfk, Bronx59

    recommended

    "So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we'll be called a democracy." -Roger Baldwin

    by voila on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 06:08:07 PM PDT

  •  Timing, timing, timing.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, eeff, cfk, Bronx59

    do you know that there is a debate going on tonight?

    Very worthy topic and diary; pls try to post it again when most people are not occupied elsewhere.

    Demand a "voter verified paper trail" in every election, in every state. Sign Rush Holt's Petition for HR. 811.

    by SeaTurtle on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 06:14:03 PM PDT

  •  The only concern I would have is the effect (0+ / 0-)

    this might have on the poor, who count on inexpensive oils and often need to use processed foods when they are holding down two jobs or working shifts opposite their children's day schedule.

    Is the idea that the fruits and vegetables and other oils would be as inexpensive as the oils and corn syrup, or would this be accompanied with improvements in food stamps to balance the economic picture?

    Cheap foods may be bad, but they do help people to eat.

    The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

    by vox humana on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 06:30:33 PM PDT

    •  Corn oil, HFCS, and Soy oil are.. (6+ / 0-)

      all cheap because they are subsidized.  If we subsidized olive oil more of it would be grown and it would be the cheap oil instead.

      If we subsidized apples they would be cheap.

      How about subsidizing organic which would decrease the toxins in the environment and decrease the use of petroleum products and antibiotics.

      I agree with you that we also need to spend our other tax dollars on things that would bring the poor up the socio-economic ladder instead of on, oh I don't know, maybe a war in Iraq/Iran.  But the Farm Bill right now is contributing to the ill health of the poor.  If we made food good for people cheap that would only help the poor.

      •  I agree. I was not sure whether this bill (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SarahLee

        had the subsidizing portion covered.

        They both have to go together.

        The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

        by vox humana on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 06:41:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, I meant to say (0+ / 0-)

          which food items it was specifically subsidizing.

          The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

          by vox humana on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 06:41:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The bill still subsidizes the old staples but.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SarahLee, vox humana

          it also has a portion that starts to subsidize fresh local produce.  That is the part that was worked on by health care professionals for 3 years.  We hope to make bigger gains in the future but you have to start some where.

    •  Fresh healthy food (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bronx59

      can be cheaper than the foods which contain these poisons. The cheap foods are, indeed, slow poison, with the damage magnified over generations of bad eating. If we teach people how to cook fresh foods and make sure we have fresh grocers in the parts of the city where our poor shop, then these prepared foods can be replaced.(I'm always amazed at my friends who don't know how to make what they buy already prepared). The difficulty, at least for people like me, is that sometimes it's too time-consuming to cook fresh foods. When I get home after a 12 or 16 hour day, I look at the lettuce and veges I've grown, then reach for the froizen dinner if I'm too tired to fix frsh.

      Like matter and anti-matter, Republicans and the truth seem unable to occupy the same space.

      by dykester on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 08:01:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey Dr A (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peace voter, vox humana

    I'm a vegetarian ,
    I watch what I eat ,
    people tell me I am to thin .
    Good food is out there to eat if you care to look for it .

    "The fussy armchair jackboots who live here 24/7, tossing around their cool "donut" slang are the rather pathetic souls at the root of the problem."

    by indycam on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 06:32:22 PM PDT

    •  Absolutely true, and not everyone has this... (5+ / 0-)

      problem.  But many Americans are working and commuting, or working 2 jobs, or being asked to work more than 40 hours a week and do not have alot of time to read the labels, prepare food, search for the good stuff.  I live in rural America.  Some places you can not even buy organic goods.  But you can always get over processed food with plenty of the cheap staples in it.  And it is because the manufacturers can make it cheaply and make a profit on it.  If we subsidized the things that made us healthy instead then those would be the things that would be abundant in the US that the overstretched Americans would take off the shelf first instead of last.

      I would remind you that if you are paying for health insurance or taxes then you are subsidizing the ill health of the poor who have no insurance.  It pays to keep all of us healthy.

      •  "It pays to keep all of us healthy." (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr A

        Then I should press everyone to be a vegetarian ?

        "The fussy armchair jackboots who live here 24/7, tossing around their cool "donut" slang are the rather pathetic souls at the root of the problem."

        by indycam on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 06:51:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL..Good Luck! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          indycam
        •  Would be better for the planet too. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          indycam, CSI Bentonville
          •  Dr A (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CSI Bentonville

            "I would remind you that if you are paying for health insurance or taxes then you are subsidizing the ill health of the poor who have no insurance."  

            I am subsidizing the meat eaters who are doing damage to them selfs and the planet I live on .
            The meat eaters are asking me to pay for their bad choices . Social justice , health insurance , food prices and environment .  

            "The fussy armchair jackboots who live here 24/7, tossing around their cool "donut" slang are the rather pathetic souls at the root of the problem."

            by indycam on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 07:05:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hmmm....Maybe... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dykester

              The conference that I am at now suggests that there are problems with a strictly vegan lifestyle.  For example it is harder to get adequate omega 3 fatty acids.  Inadequate amounts of this fatty acid are associated with many inflammatory disorders.

              This makes some sense if you look at prehistoric man he was a hunter gatherer.  Most peoples who are still living a "primitive" life are eating some fleshy foods.

              Not to say that the current way most of us are getting our protein is good.  Meat in by gone era was never in such crowded conditions, never grain fed and never as much of it as we are eating now.

              A good compromise would be to treat meat like a spice and not like a main course.  This would go a long way to preventing the environmental damage, allow for better meat to be raised and allow the few things that humans can not make for themselves to be eaten.  

              •  "Man" is an opportunistic eater (0+ / 0-)

                Doesn't need meat or most, if any, animal products.

                Look at all the people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to eggs.

                Truth is that the modern diet as it's subsidized is overdone with Omega 6 which negates what little Omega 3 a person gets. If a person is concerned with omegas then s/he will turn away from how 98% of the flesh is raised in this country.

                Americans are downing close to 200 pounds of meat, poultry and fish per capita per year (dairy and eggs are separate, and hardly insignificant), an increase of 50 pounds per person from 50 years ago. We each consume something like 110 grams of protein a day, about twice the federal government’s recommended allowance; of that, about 75 grams come from animal protein. (The recommended level is itself considered by many dietary experts to be higher than it needs to be.) It’s likely that most of us would do just fine on around 30 grams of protein a day, virtually all of it from plant sources.

                While it's been shown that vegans don't seem to be quite as healthy as vegetarians (who are healthier on a whole than those who consume meat and animal products) I'd say it's more a symptom of the Industrial Food Complex that makes it so difficult to obtain good vegan friendly food and that includes not growing enough flax for instance and using it as well as essentially suppressing the info on the seed. But it's not the diet.

                ~~~~

                I'm sorry I missed your diary until just now but I'd encourage you to take a look in on my recent diary on the [Food &] Farm Bill which has a focus on the movie, "King Corn" and mentions Imhoff's book (which is excellent).

                Soylent Green & Yellow: KING CORN movie on PBS for Tax Day
                by CSI Bentonville
                Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 01:02:51 AM EDT

                There's also some info on nutrition differences in the companion diary I posted (though it's a little flitty and I'd like to make it over but was too connected to it when I was putting it together):

                The Politics & Profits of World Hunger & Food Shortages
                by CSI Bentonville
                Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 11:43:57 PM EDT

                I very much agree with Indycam that we've been supporting, encouraging, propping up, and propagating the culture of meat eating and at great expense to health, the environment, our economy and our humanity.

                Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

                by CSI Bentonville on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:19:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Some of us are required to eat meat (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bronx59

              I am on a high-protein diet. I am directed by my nutritionist to eat 10-11 servings of protein every day, and it has to be "high quality" protein. This means animal protein. It's spelled out in the dialysis manual. It's not OK to make it all dairy, either, because dairy is very limited on a dialysis diet due to the phosphorus.

              I am healthier eating meat than I would be not eating meat.

              Want to be a living kidney donor? I need one from someone with a bloodtype of B or O. Drop a note at riverheart.livejournal.com.

              by Kitsap River on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 11:30:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Harder to do when you are poor (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peace voter, indycam, Hens Teeth, Dr A

      and that is more and more of us every day.

      •  Eating empty (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peace voter, CSI Bentonville, Dr A

        calories is way way expensive .
        Eating real food that has nutrients is cheap .

        "The fussy armchair jackboots who live here 24/7, tossing around their cool "donut" slang are the rather pathetic souls at the root of the problem."

        by indycam on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 07:18:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes and no...... (4+ / 0-)

          A box of oatmeal is certainly cheaper than most heavily advertised breakfast "cereals", for instance. And brown rice costs a lot less than Uncle Ben's. But white sugar or corn syrup is much less expensive than real maple syrup or honey. A loaf of wonderbread is a lot cheaper than good whole wheat. Orange juice is much more expensive than Hi-C. Real cheddar cheese costs more than velveeta. Butter costs more than margarine.
          Much of the problem could be managed with better education of consumers and more careful shopping habits. But much of it also has to do with subsidation of some growers over others. Is the govt assisting maple tree farmers or bee keepers?

          •  No...No assistance for maple syrup... (0+ / 0-)

            or bee keepers.  And bee keepers have been hit pretty hard this year.

          •  Plus that good produce in (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bronx59

            poor rural areas or poor urban grocery stores generally is pretty expensive and not very good.

            I can only afford to go to the city for good food about 4 times a year.  Produce where I live is generally not very appealing and expensive.  Luckily I can buy some things on-line and get delivered but that isn't very cheap.

            I am lucky and have a garden that provides a good bit of food for a LOT of labor - and I work at home, so I can take my lunch break to plant, cultivate, weed, harvest, dry the beans, etc..  Most people don't have that luxury.  

      •  I'm poor (4+ / 0-)

        and I don't have as much control over my diet as when I was gainfully employed - bummer - I used to be a stickler for only eating organically grown food - for many years I was able to grow much of my own food - I considered the organically grown food to be my form of health insurance.


        ````
        peace

        Basketball Diary - Will Obama Be the First Hoopster in the WhiteHouse?

        by peace voter on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 07:57:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Additional Information (6+ / 0-)

    I’m one of those obese people recently diagnosed with diabetes (mild enough to be controlled by diet) and high blood pressure. In a weird way it’s actually been good for me. I’m eating healthier than ever, I lost 50 lbs and at my last blood test, I was within normal limits. I was definitely a carb junkie. Now since I’m eating healthier, I don’t have the same cravings. I think it must be like detoxing your body.

    The NY Times magazine had a very informative article last April - You Are What You Grow - It details the impact of the farm bill. I was surprised at how far reaching and negative it is.

    To speak of the farm bill’s influence on the American food system does not begin to describe its full impact — on the environment, on global poverty, even on immigration. By making it possible for American farmers to sell their crops abroad for considerably less than it costs to grow them, the farm bill helps determine the price of corn in Mexico and the price of cotton in Nigeria and therefore whether farmers in those places will survive or be forced off the land, to migrate to the cities — or to the United States. The flow of immigrants north from Mexico since Nafta is inextricably linked to the flow of American corn in the opposite direction, a flood of subsidized grain that the Mexican government estimates has thrown two million Mexican farmers and other agricultural workers off the land since the mid-90s. (More recently, the ethanol boom has led to a spike in corn prices that has left that country reeling from soaring tortilla prices; linking its corn economy to ours has been an unalloyed disaster for Mexico’s eaters as well as its farmers.) You can’t fully comprehend the pressures driving immigration without comprehending what U.S. agricultural policy is doing to rural agriculture in Mexico.

    I also thought this was really interesting - a researcher named Adam Drewnowski from the University of Washington wanted to find out why the the people with the least amount of money to spend on food are the ones most likely to be overweight?

    Drewnowski gave himself a hypothetical dollar to spend, using it to purchase as many calories as he possibly could. He discovered that he could buy the most calories per dollar in the middle aisles of the supermarket, among the towering canyons of processed food and soft drink. (In the typical American supermarket, the fresh foods — dairy, meat, fish and produce — line the perimeter walls, while the imperishable packaged goods dominate the center.) Drewnowski found that a dollar could buy 1,200 calories of cookies or potato chips but only 250 calories of carrots. Looking for something to wash down those chips, he discovered that his dollar bought 875 calories of soda but only 170 calories of orange juice.

    As a rule, processed foods are more "energy dense" than fresh foods: they contain less water and fiber but more added fat and sugar, which makes them both less filling and more fattening. These particular calories also happen to be the least healthful ones in the marketplace, which is why we call the foods that contain them "junk." Drewnowski concluded that the rules of the food game in America are organized in such a way that if you are eating on a budget, the most rational economic strategy is to eat badly — and get fat.

    There’s also some interesting information about Twinkies and farm subsidies.

    If you’re curious about who gets the farm subsidies, there’s a database with all kinds of information. Here’s a link to the list of the top recipients in 2006. Note these are corporate farms, Not family farms. #1 is Riceland Foods, Inc. of Stuttgart, Arkansas - $7,710,705.  From 1995-2006 this one corporation received the following payments:

    Rice Subsidies   $526,296,548
    Soybean Subsidies  $20,258,260
    Wheat Subsidies    $7,742,225
    Corn Subsidies   $44,799

    Click around in this database- there’s a lot of information.

    It is ironic our government is spending millions and millions to subsidize unhealthy foods and meanwhile they raise concerns about obesity and we have a health care crises. If that money were used to subsidize fruits and vegetables instead, we go a long way to curbing the obesity epidemic and chronic conditions that contribute to our health care crises.

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