Worst Vegetable Award: Why Corn Is Bad
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…
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.