Michael Broadbent’s Efficient Dorm – Week 4

This week, we aren’t really going to talk about my sustainability goal.  I’m pretty sure all one of you reading this are already quite familiar with my struggles of stagnation, and nothing has really changed since last week.  Instead, we’re going to talk about CORN. KING CORN.

King Corn is a documentary following the decision of two guys who want to grow an acre of corn to see why so much corn is in our diet these days.  Not because we eat a lot of corn itself,  but because of corn syrup and other food additives made from corn.  As a result, we’re essentially “made” of corn, since most of the cells in our body are made from what we eat.  (It’s a little disingenuous to word it that way, since some of the atoms in our body came from the atoms in corn, and beyond a very basic chemical level no longer resembles corn in any way…)

The film showed the usage of corn in the livestock industry.  A lot of our beef comes from corn-fed cows and cows actually cannot survive for very long on a diet of just corn.  Over time, they get sicker and sicker until they can barely move and, eventually, succumb to death. However, since corn is cheap, cattle are fed nothing but corn for up to one year before slaughter.  This even makes the resulting beef more unhealthy.  I found it somewhat surprising that cows were able to last even a year on a purely corn diet.  Since corn is something they were never meant to eat, I would normally expect the negative impacts to appear much faster.

Corn syrup is interesting in a different way.  It’s bad for us, yeah, but not in the “slowly poisoning us” kind of way a lot of other food additives are.  It’s just really sugary and fatty.  I actually felt somewhat relieved at that, which says something about the state of food and nutrition in our country today.  I was actually happy that something was only really unhealthy in the normal sense, and not actively killing me as the days go by.

So, long story short, it turns out corn is evil now.  Who knew, right?  Even vegetables are being turned against us.  I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, considering what potatoes have done to our diet.  I wish there could be one industry where the machinations of an evil corporation weren’t actively ruining everything for everyone, but I suppose that’s a bit too much to ask for.

Sadly, “not eating corn” isn’t really feasible (unless I go on a strictly organic diet, which could be problematic in other ways), so the only real form of protest I have is writing negatively about it on the internet.  Better than nothing, I suppose.

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