Corn is not the only source of cheap energy in the supermarket – much of the fat added to processed foods comes from soybeans – but it is by far the most important. As George Naylor said, growing corn is the most efficient way to get energy – calories – from an acre of Iowa farmland. That corn-made calorie can find its way into our bodies in the form of an animal fat, a sugar, or a starch, such is the protean nature of carbon in that big kernel. But as productive and protean as the corn plant is, finally it is a set of human choices that have made these molecules quite as cheap as they have become: a quarter of a century of farm policies designed to encourage the overproduction of this crop and hardly any other. Very simply, we subsidize high-fructose corn syrup in this country, but not carrots. While the surgeon general is raising alarms over the epidemic of obesity, the president is signing farm bills designed to keep the river of cheap corn flowing, guaranteeing that the cheapest calories in the supermarket will continue to be the unhealthiest.
Source: The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Large Print Press), Pages: 108
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