A Man with a Flashlight


Protectionism makes you fat
April 25, 2007, 8:49 am
Filed under: Food, Politics

Why are cola and potato chips cheaper, calorie for calorie, than tomatoes and carrots? Two words: farm subsidies.

Michael Pollan gets the very cool story. (New York Times, registration required.) Here’s the crux of it:

Like most processed foods, the Twinkie is basically a clever arrangement of carbohydrates and fats teased out of corn, soybeans and wheat — three of the five commodity crops that the farm bill supports, to the tune of some $25 billion a year. (Rice and cotton are the others.) For the last several decades — indeed, for about as long as the American waistline has been ballooning — U.S. agricultural policy has been designed in such a way as to promote the overproduction of these five commodities, especially corn and soy.