Did you know that American farmers feed their cattle corn because the government subsidizes it?
Even worse, did you know that farmers must drug cows so their stomachs can tolerate grain rather than grass?
The US population is addicted to corn, for the worst reasons. Processed food contains corn syrup and cows and chickens are fed corn instead of grain because it's cheaper. In our country, corn is snuck into everything, from candy bars to baking powder (corn starch is the starch used).You'll find corn in sauces, flours, sugars and syrups.
Michael Pollan was one of the first to discover how this unhealthy state of affairs has emerged about in his 2006 book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and how the industrialization of agriculture has denuded soil, poisoned animals and helped to bring about the rise in type 2 diabetes.
Corn and the Omegas
Farmers drug cows to feed them corn because their stomachs don't tolerate corn like their preferred grain/grass.
What about the Chickens?
In addition to the cows, chickens have been forced to eat corn as well. When chickens are fed corn instead of grain or grass, it makes the natural omega 3's lower and forces the omega 6 in the egg to sky rocket. This imbalance of omega fatty acids can lead to many health issues.
This dietary imbalance may explain the rise of such diseases as asthma, coronary heart disease, many forms of cancer, autoimmunity and neurodegenerative diseases, all of which are believed to stem from inflammation in the body. The imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may also contribute to obesity, depression, dyslexia, hyperactivity and even a tendency toward violence.
Bringing the fats into proper proportion may actually relieve those conditions, according to Joseph Hibbeln, M.D., a psychiatrist at the National Institutes of Health, and perhaps the world's leading authority on the relationship between fat consumption and mental health. At the 2006 Nutrition and Health Conference sponsored by the University of Arizona's College of Medicine and Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Hibbeln cited a study showing that violence in a British prison dropped by 37 percent after omega-3 oils and vitamins were added to the prisoners' diets.
What are Omega-3 and Omega-6?
Omega-3 and omega-6 are types of essential fatty acids – meaning we cannot make them on our own and have to obtain them from our diet. Both are polyunsaturated fatty acids that differ from each other in their chemical structure. In modern diets, there are few sources of omega-3 fatty acids, mainly the fat of cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, black cod, and bluefish. There are two critical omega-3 fatty acids, (eicosapentaenoic acid, called EPA and docosahexaenoic or DHA), that the body needs.
Vegetarian sources, such as walnuts and flaxseeds contain a precursor omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid called ALA) that the body must convert to EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are the building blocks for hormones that control immune function, blood clotting, and cell growth as well as components of cell membranes.
A few healthy tips from Pollan
In the Guardian, they write about this issue and about Pollan's new book. "Pollan has written a digestible paperback, Food Rules: An Eater's Manual. It extends his manifesto into 64 injunctions, including "Buy a freezer" and "Don't eat breakfast cereal that changes the color of the milk". Here's hoping that Pollan will go on to expose other perverse food chains that afflict the world's diet.