Upon recently watching the documentary, King Corn, I realized very quickly how much corn is in our everyday diet. This film pointed out how corn ends up as different by-products in foods, how inexpensive it is to grow it, and how much surplus is grown as well. One fact, however, disturbed me the most throughout the film. The cows that are bred to become meat to feed the U.S. are fed on a strict grain (corn) diet. It is inexpensive, make the cattle fatter even quicker, and therefore reduces the cost of beef.
What most people don’t realize is that cattle are not supposed to be on a grain diet eating that much corn for as long as they are. A cow’s stomach needs to be at a pH of 7 for it to be normal and healthy. When a cow is on a corn diet the acidity level skyrockets and causes acidosis in the stomach. Now that the cow is sick, it requires medication, which raises the likelihood of the meat to contain antibiotics. Grain-fed diets also increase the risks of E.Coli in the animal. So not only is the cow suffering from this diet but it is creating potential risks for its consumers.
That isn’t even the sad part about this whole situation. The fact that fast-food companies are the top users of corn or corn by-products as fillers or sweeteners for their food is the shocking part. They have corn in their hamburgers, they use corn oil for their french fries, there is even high fructose corn syrup in their breakfast sandwiches! The overuse of corn in meat and other products is one of the leading factors in risks for diabetes, obesity, cancer, and heart problems in the U.S.
Both Americans and the cattle we raise deserve better! We need better products, whether it be the corn or the meat. It’s a never-ending cycle of bad nutrition and blindsided individuals. So think twice before you bite down into your “100% beef” hamburger patty.