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Top 10 Ways Corporate Food Is Making Us Fat and Threatening Our Food Supplies

It all starts with the collosal power that organized businesses have over Congress.

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4. Over-use of  antibiotics may be making us fat. There is now scientific evidence that the antibiotics activate bacteria that are good at turning carbohydrates into fat. That is, the Atkins and Manhattan diets may work mainly because a lot of people’s gut microbe population had already been messed with by the antibiotics. People are always trying to get antibiotics for their children with viruses, which can’t anyway be treated that way. Ironically, they may not only be giving them medicine inappropriate to their malady but may be priming them for diabetes and heart disease later in life.

5. Speaking of antibiotics,  150 scientists and physicians are calling for the end of non-medical antibiotics being routinely administered to livestockAll that is happening is that we are evolving bacteria to be resistant to antibiotics, and are already killing 100,000 Americans a year that way (more than die of AIDS). This baneful practice, they warn, has to stop.

6. Genetically modified corn, treated with the pesticide Roundup,  were found by a French team of scientists to cause more frequent and more rapidly growing tumors in rats than ordinary corn. The study has been criticized and it is based on a small N. But, I’ll tell you what. Let us decide. Could we please have the genetically modified vegetables marked as such, Congress? I know we ordinary folk don’t pay you the way the corporations pay you, but you are supposed to be representing us lab rats too.

7. The  global collapse of bee colonies, a severe threat to the world food supply, according to three new studies, is likely being in some part caused by a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. France and Germany have already banned them. But Corporatocracy America has not. Are there other factors involved in the great bee die-off? Sure, but why not remove a major factor when we can? Oh, and by the way, see 4 above, because another cause may be genetically modified plants that have absorbed pesticides into their genetic structure.

8. It is not just what corporations put in our food. It is also how they produce it that endangers us.  Industrialized, often state-subsidized fishing is rapidly depleting world fish stocks. I’ve heard David Suzuki worry that half of all marine species could be extinct in 50 years at this rate, between overfishing and ocean acidification (caused by all the extra carbon we are pumping into the air at the Koch brothers’ behest).

9. Blooms and dead zones in coastal waters from the run-off from corporate farming of massive amounts of nitrogen fertilizer are threatening the health of our seas.

10. 40% of US corn production goes to making ethanol, and at a time of drought and high food prices, this policy is indefensible. The US has to relax the laws mandating ethanol. Although ethanol claims to be carbon-neutral because the corn takes carbon dioxide out of the air when it is growing, processing it into ethanol releases a lot of greenhouse gases. Moreover the policy of burning it in cars is apparently on the verge of causing malnutrition.

Juan Cole is a professor of history at the University of Michigan and maintains the blog Informed Comment.
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