A new study shows that the US food subsidies may promote foods that make people fat and are not as healthy as it would have been desired. Among these foods are cheese, meat, and corn.
The researchers found that the persons who relied on these foods to make up their daily meals were more likely to be overweight. Moreover, they had dangerous levels of blood sugar and cholesterol.
The study had been performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While the Department of Agriculture and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans stress the importance of consuming fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and protein, the subsidies support an entirely different type of foods.
The current food subsidies relate to the production of corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, sorghum, and dairy. Also, the livestock is supported by subsidies on feed grains.
The Daily Meal Survey
The authors of the study analyzed the responses from 10,000 people who had to list the meals consumed on the previous day.
The results show that 56% of the calories contained in a daily meal came from foods that were subsidized by the government.
Moreover, people that relied the most on subsidized foods were 37% more likely to be overweight and 41% to have more belly fat.
The incidence of high cholesterol was 14% higher, and the unhealthy blood sugars were 21% more likely in people who consumed more subsidized foods.
The overall consumption of corn, wheat, rice, or cheese was related to cardiometabolic risks.
The current government policy can create a lower price on the subsidized foods and, on the same time, a higher price for products coming from crops that did not receive financial help from the government.
The conclusion of the study is that people who include in their daily diet fewer subsidized foods were more likely to be healthy than those who extensively relied on corn, cheese, and meat.
The Food Subsidies Debate
Health experts have warned of this duplicity for years and said that the government should be helping the farmers who have crops of fruits and vegetables. However, it seems that it is not that clear how food subsidies can relate to the American eating habits.
Other food experts argue that even though the cheap food is one of the major causes of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, the most important factor is junk food. Junk food is not subsidized, and the authors of the study did not take it into consideration.
Moreover, farmers receive a greater share of beef and milk than from processed foods like bread. This means that farmers are encouraged to produce healthy products, as processed food is not supported by the current market.
As a general rule, medical experts recommend the population to stop consuming cheap and unhealthy foods.
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