Fast Food Mostly Feeds You Corn, Opposes Regulation

Armen Hareyan's picture
Corn in Fast Food
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A new study published in the current issue of Proceedings of National Academy reveal that The bulk of a fast-food hamburger from McDonald's, Burger King or Wendy's is made from cows that eat primarily corn, or so says a new study of the chemical composition of more than 480 fast-food burgers from across the nation. Don't think that the beef or chicken sandwich that you are eating at those fast food restaurants are coming from an animal meat that eats grass. Majority of them eat corn.

Here is why it matters for you. By purchasing and eating one serving of one hamburger, one chicken sandwich and one small order of fries you gain 50 percent of that day's recommended calories, 80 percent of carbohydrates, 75 percent of protein (90 percent if the consumer is a woman) and the full day's limit of dietary fat at a cost of $3 dollars. As meat consumption has skyrocketed in the United States, the consumption of fast food meat is a unique problem in cost-optimization: to accelerate tissue production in animals, calorie consumption is maximized, and calorie expenditure is minimized.

Americans spend over 100 billion dollars on restaurant fast food each year, reads the abstract of the study. Fast food meals comprise a disproportionate amount of both meat and calories within the U.S. diet. "Our results highlighted the overwhelming importance of corn agriculture within virtually every aspect of fast food manufacture."

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Another part of the problem with corn in our fast food is that instead of eating a predominantly whole grains, fruits and vegetables, we are diverting the grain supply to feeding the animals, says Bob Lawrence, director of the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, arguing for a diet that treats meat as a garnish rather than the main course and corn for human consumption rather than cows. "Corn-finished beef does add to what has become a preferred taste for the American palate. We've acquired that taste at our own peril."

The study on corn and fast food is led by geobiologist Hope Jahren of the University of Hawaii at Manoa's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. Another participant of the research is Rebecca Kraft.

The researchers concluded that the fast food corporations, although they constitute more than half the restaurants in the United States and sell more than one hundred billion dollars of food each year, oppose regulation of ingredient reporting. Ingredients of fast food matter for many reasons: U.S. corn agriculture has been criticized as environmentally unsustainable and conspicuously subsidized. Of 160 food products that the researchers have purchased at Wendy's throughout the USA, not one item could be traced back to a non corn source. "Our work also identified corn feed as the overwhelming source of food for tissue growth, hence for beef and chicken meat, at fast food restaurants. We note that this study did not included an examination of beverages served, which are dominantly sweetened with high fructose corn syrup."

The U.S. reader should know that in 2002, the European Union adopted Regulation 178 requiring suppliers to trace the origin of materials used for production. At this time in the USA, such tracing is voluntary and seldom-invoked, note the researchers in their concluding remarks.

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Comments

That is so wierd about corn and fast food. I dont eat fastfood that much so I'm very glad for this article. People should really consider things like this before ordering a #, but yet again who listens to the truth these days besides the ones who actually care about life.
since corn is what cows eat. Have you folks ever been to the country? What do you think all those cornfields are for? Damn straight son, now let's plow that field. Yeehaw!
This is a SAD FACT OF LIFE: McDonald's Hamburgers are to Health as Military Music is to Music.
When you don't regulate industry, you get the China Syndrome---- bad milk, pastries made from cardboard, and every other trick in the book. Americans should be smarter but we're not... so far. Maybe some day we'll be as smart as the Europeans who REGULATE what gets put in their food and their bloodstream.
If you take the time to read food labels in your supermarket, you will be quite surprised at all the corn sweeteners you will find. It took me 20 minutes to find ONE loaf of bread that was not sweetened with corn syrup!
Getting you excited is the name of the game. FEAR! So! They grain feed cows corn before they slaughter them. There is no real news in this article, except that someone wasted maybe millions to find out that cattle eat a lot of corn before they die. I and certainly many that grew up outside the cities learned this as young children. In fact you should know that cattle even if they are contained inside or on a lot: Eat milk when they are babies. As adults probably grass/hay, soy beans, nuts, seaweed if you got it, etc. etc. With the price charged for corn I doubt that most farmers feed only corn to their cattle. In fact most, as quoted in the story, "Corn-finish...." the beef. Adding additional fat and weight in last two or three weeks just before slaughter. Obviously a heavier cow makes a bigger profit and when you cook the burger it sizzles instead of just falling apart. Hey! you can get all bent out of shape. Make your blood pressure go up. Or. My advice. Check the nutritional facts guide that all the major fast food places should have. Request them. For example: (Figures are rounded off) Burger King Whopper 1/4 1b. patty 240 calories total = 160 Fat, 80 protein. 4 calories per gram protein. 20 grams = 80 calories 9 calories per gram fat. 18 grams = 160 calories USDA - http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/cgi-bin/list_nut_edit.pl Beef 80% Lean. 1/4 lb patty 204 calories 4 calories per gram protein. 20 grams = 80 calories 9 calories per gram fat. 13.25 grams = 120 calories 34 calories different. Not a big difference. (If you don't burn this off) 34 calories * 30 days = 1020 calories per month. 12240 per year. About 4 lbs around your waist. Good Advice: If you knock of the mayo which is 100 percent fat and 160 calories from the whopper. Then: -160 + 34 = about 126 calories less per day. (Keep the BK burger. OK!) 126 calories * 30 days. 3600 calories per month. (You are then losing 1 pound per month.) More Good Advice: 1. As before enjoy the whopper but knock off the mayo. 2. In the story it mentions fries, beef burger and chicken burger. (Don't eat the chicken - you hog). 3. Before you visit the restaurant have an apple or a banana. 4a. Don't eat that candy bar. 200 calories a day * 30 = 6000 calories a month. 12 months = 72000 calories which means ABOUT 20 pounds more weight a year. 1/2 a candy bar a day = 100 calories or 10 pounds additional weight each year. 1/4 a candy bar = 50 calories or 5 pounds per year. (Sadly 10 years equals obese!) 4b Eat 1/2 a candy bar and two apples. Sweet and good. (Its all about balance!) 5. Go for an hours fast walk. Lose 200 to 400 calories per day. (1 to 4 lbs per month.) Now if only the researchers would spend less money telling us what is already known. Anybody want to discuss global warming...........? FEAR!