Fast Food Mostly Feeds You Corn, Opposes Regulation
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."
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.