A portion of all U.S. tax dollars goes towards supporting farmers financially, which prevents food shortages and shuttered growing operations—something everyone can get behind, right? Not so fast. In a recent paper published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, the authors delve into the world of farm subsidies, and particularly the billions of tax dollars going towards the growth of crops that could pose health threats.
The study sought to determine whether or not subsidies encourage the excessive consumption of ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, in direct contrast with the American nutritional guidelines. Researchers from Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed the daily diets of over 10,000 adults via a federal health survey, and determined the amount and variety of subsidized food consumed in a 24-hour period.
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What they found was that the average American diet favors potentially harmful subsidized crops, and our tax dollars could directly be leading to their increased consumption. The authors point out that between 1995 and 2010, $170 billion in government subsidies were spent on "financing the production of corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, sorghum, dairy, and livestock"—all of which contribute to foods that pose a heightened health risk.