Hello again. School is over, but MCC Sustainability will keep on providing you with information all summer long to keep you informed of issues in sustainability.
Today's topic is corn. Corn is a vegetable, so it must be good for you, right? Well, yes and no. Corn is a vegetable, and corn itself is good for you in moderation. But the more you know about corn, the less you might like it.
Think you hardly ever eat corn? Think again. I bet you eat corn every day, probably at every meal and in every snack, and you don't even know it. But, corn is a vegetable so that is OK, right? NO!
Do you eat bread? Candy? Drink soda? Use ketchup? Sauces? Salad dressing? Crackers? All of these contain high fructose corn syrup. Open your pantry and fridge, pick out some products, and look at the ingredients. Most will have HFCS in them. Here is a list one website compiled of everyday products containing HFCS: http://www.accidentalhedonist.com/index.php/2005/06/09/foods_and_products_containing_high_fruct Here is another one that focuses on fast food chains: http://www.foodfacts.info/high-fructose-corn-syrup.shtml So why does this matter? Now that you know it is in so many products that you eat, maybe you will start to realize that you are getting bombarded with sugars in every meal, snack, and drink you have during the day. Maybe you are dieting and trying to cut out soda and candy. Bet you didn't even realize that you are still getting that same poor version of sugar in so many other places. No wonder it's so hard to lose weight and so easy to gain it! The processed parts of the HFCS affect your body's leptin differently than sugar, so it reduces your ability to feel full. Read more here: http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/79/4/537 Then read labels when you shop, and try to buy things that don't have HFCS in them.
Corn is everywhere, not just in your food. Check this out: http://www.ontariocorn.org/classroom/products.html And now, corn is being used for biofuels and to make degradable 'plastic'-type products like food containers and disposable flatware. Why is this bad? Well, all this use of corn results in a larger and larger need for corn. So instead of alternating crops to maintain a healthy balance of nutrients in the soil, the same crop, corn, is planted over and over in more and more places. With that, bugs that like corn will always have corn available to them. This increases the need for soil additives and pesticides. Anything going into the soil and plants is going into you. Read more about the problems with monocultures here: http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/~agroeco3/modern_agriculture.html
If you get the chance, see the movie King Corn. If you can't find the movie, check out this site with lots of information from the movie: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/kingcorn/film.html
You will learn a lot and you will rethink the way you eat.