News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Gaining or losing weight impacted by today's foods

America's farmers, with the help of the government, are doing to good of a job getting their products to the people.

Although many don't like farm subsidies, they do encourage farmers to grow more products. The more products they grow, the cheaper food is for consumers.

Americans pay about 9 percent of their income for food, compared to the 15 percent people in other countries, government statistics show.

That's because of those subsidies and the fine work of our farmers tending their soil and crops.

The ease of buying food and the abundance at our markets and food outlets also are causing Americans to be among the fattest people in the world.

Now, studies show 10 percent of children ages 2 to 5 were overweight in 2002, the latest study, compared to 7 percent in 1995.

Dr. Robert H. Eckel, president elect of the American Heart Association and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado calls the statistics "alarming."

Blame it on corn.

Yes. Corn.

Corn is one of the most abundant products in America and from that crop flows sugar that permeates almost everything we put in our mouths.

And much of that sugar originates in Decatur.

Ever noticed the rail cars going by headed to American Fructose? The cars haul in the corn and take away the byproduct, fructose syrup, which is in almost every food product we purchase.

Soft drinks, candy, bread, canned meats . . . the list could go on for thousands of products. It all boils down to sugar — sugar in our diets that tend to make us put on the pounds.

Add in too much television and couch potato mentality and it's easy to see why Americans are losing the battle of the bulge.

An average male should not eat more that 3,000 calories a day. But these same studies show that amount has moved up to about 4,000 daily for most males. At that rate, unless heavy exercise is involved, that person is going to gain weight.

Some, we can blame on corn and those government subsidies. But when it comes to gaining or losing, it's the individual that really makes the decision.

In the meanwhile, we should count our blessings that we have the food abundance that most nations around the world envy.

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