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Food politics

Atkins diet more expensive to follow, but the real reason is government subsidies on high-carbohydrate, disease promoting foods

Friday, May 07, 2004
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: food politics, soft drinks, processed foods


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A new cost analysis of diet foods reveals that following the Atkins diet or the South Beach diet can cost nearly twice as much as following the USDA's "thrifty" dietary plan. Now here's the real story behind this news: it's true that the Atkins diet or South Beach diet can be more expensive the way people typically approach them. The first reason is because low-carb packaged foods are remarkably expensive. It's simultaneously more expensive to manufacture many of these low-carb food items (like low-carb breakfast cereal) and there's also an element of profit-taking with these higher prices, too.

Other items in the Atkins diet certainly up the daily budget: red meat is very expensive in terms of calories per dollar, and healthy oils like olive oil, flax oil and macadamia nut oil -- all of which are recommended on low-carb diets -- are admittedly more expensive. But that's only the more obvious part of all this.

The not-so-obvious story here is that cheap sources of calories from groceries -- like those calories found in soft drinks or corn snack chips, for example -- are only cheap because they are subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Both the sugar industry and the corn growers receive extravagant subsidies courtesy of the federal government. This makes high fructose corn syrup very cheap in terms of calories per dollar (but expensive in terms of the fact that it promotes obesity and diabetes, which create enormous future costs for society).

In fact, every food based on corn or sugar is far cheaper than it would be in a free market situation. It all comes down to food politics and influence: Big Sugar, for example, is strongly favored by the Bush Administration, so there's practically no chance of ending those subsidies any time soon. And, unfortunately, the foods being subsudized by taxpayer dollars are precisely those foods that are linked to the alarming rise in chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity. Processed foods based on corn, for example, are typically very high on the glycemic index, low in fiber, low in vitamins and minerals, low in essential fatty acids, and so on. So it is precisely these government-subsidized foods that are contributing to the rise in diabetes and obesity.

The real question to all this goes way beyond what's been reported in the press. The issue is not that the Atkins diet is expensive, it's that our federal governmet is subsidizing foods that directly promote chronic disease. And that's clearly an insane public health policy. It would make a lot more sense to subsidize foods that promote health and prevent disease. What if the government gave subsidies to flax oil and olive oil? What if broccoli were half the price? What if healthy whole grains like quinoa and brown rice were cheaper than corn chips and soft drinks? See, the economics really do matter, because poor people tend to buy whatever they can afford, regardless of its nutritional merit. (Poor poeple also tend to buy a lot of packaged, processed foods instead of making their own meals from bulk ingredients.) And today, I say that the federal government has its food subsidies policy completely backwards. Refined white sugar, for one thing, should be double taxed, not subsidized, if you want to teach people to avoid it. Let's get right down to it: if the government is going to muck around with food prices, then they should make unhealthy foods very expensive and healthy foods cheaper, don't you think?


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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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