The Milk Conspiracy (Part 2)

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        Today we think of dairy as a food group. Why? Humans survived for tens of thousands of years without it, and in many parts of the world, dairy is seldom eaten. There are numerous non-dairy sources of calcium, protein, and Vitamin D. So why is it enshrined in our food pyramids and dietary guidelines that dairy is an essential part of a healthy diet?

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The Importance of Dairy: Fact or Fiction? (Part 1)

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I have always hated milk. When I was young, my parents forced me to drink a glass of milk every night with dinner, citing the three cups a day guideline, to ensure I would grow up to have strong bones. I soon also became terrified that I was not getting enough calcium, thanks to the “Got Milk?” ads that hammered home the message that if I wasn’t drinking enough milk, I could get osteoporosis. I lived in fear that I would suffer later in life for not being diligent about drinking milk as a child.

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The Food Industry’s Front Man

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Today we are more aware of where our food comes from and how our food system works. Despite having more knowledge about how the food industry operates, it is difficult to make changes to governmental food regulations and guidelines because of powerful food lobbies that fight tooth and nail to maintain the status quo. In addition to fighting on a political level, food industries have begun a far slimier campaign on the grassroots level under the guise of organizations that claim to be looking out for the little guy, primarily farmers and concerned consumers.

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Subsidizing Junk Food

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        Why is junk food often cheaper than healthy food options, like fresh fruit and vegetables? The cost of many processed snack foods is kept low because ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and soy oils have been highly subsidized in the past, largely by means of the Farm Bill. The first Farm Bill was passed during the Great Depression to help struggling farmers, and Congress has passed an updated version of the bill every five or so years since. Through its allocation of government subsidies, the Farm Bill has played an instrumental role in keeping the price of junk food lower than fruits and vegetables.

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Your Meat on Drugs

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The European Union and Canada have banned the use of antibiotics to promote growth in livestock, but America has time and time again fallen short of a ban. In fact, the EU banned the use of antibiotics in meat production way back in 1989, and US farmed meat has not been welcome in Europe since. What’s wrong with a little extra medicine in our food, you may ask. Well, taking antibiotics always comes with the risk of developing microbes that are resistant to antibiotic drugs. Often times it’s worth the risk when you’re sick, and most of us have experienced the wonders of modern medicine to fight infection and restore us to health in a matter of days.

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Feeding the Obesity Epidemic

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31It is clear that the food industry profits from making us overweight. Every food product is tested hundreds of times in various iterations so that the flavor and “mouth feel” of the product make us want to eat more and more. And let’s not forget about the advertising campaigns, often targeted at children, that have twisted our perceptions of what constitutes a meal. What is less clear is that the food industry continues to profit from us once we’ve gotten fat and want to lose the weight we’ve put on.  

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The Secret of Addictive Junk Food

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“What I love about Pringles is how you can have just a few and feel totally satisfied,” said no one ever. What is it about snack food that makes it so addictive? It’s almost like someone is designing them to make you crave more and more without ever feeling satiated. Does this sound a little like a conspiracy to you? It shouldn’t. This is actually how food corporations design their snack foods and sodas.

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Ever Dream of Becoming a Dairy Farmer?

 

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There are many among us who have dreamed of the good country life: living on a farm with cows, rising early to milk, and enjoying the fresh air of the countryside.

 

Not only does the lifestyle feel ideal, but it’s also a fairly attractive business. The United States is the second largest world producer of milk. While domestic milk consumption isn’t growing, global demand is booming. Export to China alone grew to $706 million last year, up from $137 million in 2009.”

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Don’t Have a Cow, Man?

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“Don’t have a cow” was popularized, and is perhaps only used, by Bart Simpson.

It is described in urbandictionary.com as a statement intended to “dismiss[] the other person’s feelings as overreactive…and or to minimize an activity as something not so bad.”

I wonder if Bart were to sit in Ms. Krabapple’s class and actually learn about cows, meat and milk in the US, whether the meaning of the phrase would change.  

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Cows and Trees in the Latin American Tropics

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“The livestock sector is by far the single largest anthropogenic user of land,” according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It is also the leading cause of deforestation in the Latin American tropics. For instance, in the Brazilian Amazon, raising cattle has caused “80 percent of rainforest loss,” a size currently comparable to a plot of land larger than France.

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