Worst Vegetable Award: Why Corn Is Bad

The Award

Late last night, a friend randomly called me and said, “Hey, man, if you could wipe any vegetable off the planet, what would you choose?”

I was stunned by the wackiness of the question and contemplated just hanging up on him because the hour was so late. But I gave it some thought:

  • Lettuce? Nah, lettuce is the cornerstone of any decent salad. 
  • Carrots? They aren’t that tasty, after all. Wait, no, they have Beta-Carotene, and that’s really good for you. 
  • Tomatoes! Wait, they’re fruit… Right? And finally I settled upon…
  • CORN!
You heard me, folks, if I could choose, I’d definitely get rid of corn. As such, it garners my highly dubious (yet esteemed) Worst Vegetable Award. Before you recruit one of America’s thousands (tens of thousands? Millions?) of obese people who’ve (evidently) had too much corn syrup, let me plead my case first, okay?
Corn has, in my mind, two huge things going for it: its hand in the massive (no pun intended) population of obese people around the world (not just the United States), and its hand in ethanol, the biggest sham this side of off-shore drilling, which is a pretty big player in the global food crisis. The latter particularly put corn on top in its running for the WVA. I mean, what other vegetable can claim that it is the driving force behind a declining production of wheat and massive amounts of deforestation? 
*   *   *

The Reason

As touched upon, corn is a master of making people inflate, and, consequently, gain weight. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS from now on) is found in a multitude of foods that us Americans particularly enjoy — especially in the food of a fast food restaurants. HFCS is full of empty calories (meaning it has energy, but no other nutritional value like, but not limited to, amino acids and vitamins), and is commonly found in soft drinks and other junk foods that anyone with a sweet-tooth (like myself) enjoys. The USDA says that the America consumes about 50 pounds of HFCS per capita/year. 50 pounds a year! With all those empty calories, no wonder 1/3 of Americans are obese!

The other, and more controversial reason for corn’s WVA, is its use in ethanol, a purported “clean” fuel. With growing demand for ethanol (because, for some reason, people want an easy, cleaner alternative for oil), there is a greater need to expand corn production to meet that demand. What happens? Deforestation occurs en masse (look up the effects of corn subsidies in the Amazon) and wheat farms get converted into corn since farmers will make more money off of it because of aforementioned high demand. The effects? The “environmentally friendly” effects of ethanol are rendered null by the loss of trees that were cut down to grow the corn in the first place, and wheat skyrockets in price. The higher price in wheat makes every wheat product grow in price, and, of course, with a higher price, it’s harder to attain them, so the poor who depend on wheat products may have to go hungry. Combined with a drought in Australia (massive wheat producer), bread, pasta, pastries, etc. are all more expensive. I should also add that because of ethanol, corn’s cost has tripled in the past 4 years. It follows that all kinds of food are more expensive just because of ethanol.

So, for making our people fatter, cutting down trees, and making wheat more than double its cost, corn is the winner of my Worst Vegetable Award.

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  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  2. Putting aside the apocalyptic consequences of actually making corn disappear off the planet, I do think that biofuels are a crime against humanity…

    http://apocalyptickiwi.wordpress.com/2008/07/05/biofuels-are-a-crime-against-humanity/

  3. tyla

    i hate corn
    unless its dark indian corn, and even then ill only eat a little bit
    blah!




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