We’ve talked a lot about the cultural differences between the present day and the 60s and 70s; however, I think it may time to highlight a biological difference. Pretty much everyone reading this post is made of corn - prior to the 1980s, we were not made of corn.
It’s true. Your dry weight is almost completely corn derived. In other words, the carbon atoms and various other organic compounds that make up your body were once in a corn field in Iowa.
Once upon a time, our beverages were sweetened with sugar (from sugar cane); now everything is sweetened with corn syrup.
Once upon a time, our livestock were fed with grass/hay; now, their diet is nearly entirely corn based. Thus, the majority of the biomass that you consume when eating beef is corn derived.
Your French fries are fried in corn oil, your beer has refined corn starch, your coffee is sprayed with maltodextrin (made from corn), etc. I daresay, most of the things you will ingest today will have come from corn.
This is a good thing and a bad thing. Let me explain…
In 1973, Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz, drastically loosened government restrictions on farmers. Farms could now expand, grow, and become massive corporations churning out more corn than ever before (with the help of genetically altered corn, equipment and pesticides increasing yield/acre 400%).
Butz did this to free up the American economy – the price of food went WAY down. Prior to this, the average home was spending half of its income on food, now they were paying around 16%. This was huge. Corn actually costs less today than it did in 1950. Yippee!
The downside is that we Americans are now obese. The genetically altered yellow corn is nearly all endosperm (the part that has the sugar/starch), and it wiped out all other varieties of corn from Mexico which had more proteins and nutrients. Plus, the cheapness and efficiency of corn farming led to the modern day factory farm (raising millions of cattle was not financially feasible before cheap corn), which makes our meat so much more fattening than the ol’ grass fed beef our grandparents ate. The picturesque farm that we envision no longer exists, thanks to Butz letting the corn fed genie out of the bottle.
It’s really a give and take. Do you want cheap groceries or do you want healthier food? Americans have made the choice (willingly or unwillingly, depending on who you talk to); and now we are all made of corn. Peace out.