Guest post by Bastyr Nutrition Studies Student Amber Lagerwey
 
America loves food, this we know. With over 40,000 grocery store products available to the consumer, our continuous need for more options is obvious. Equally, America loves waste and we throw away an average of 40% of food purchases every year. One theory for this ridiculous phenomenon is the fact that as food becomes increasingly cheap to produce, consumer respect for such products depreciates, resulting in an apathy that threw away an equivalent of $165 billion worth of food in 2012. With food waste only viewed in monetary terms, it appears that America’s obsession with ignoring nutrition has led us to forget the real purpose behind food consumption: nourishment and support. Two examples that come to mind: corn and beets. 
 
Corn. Not a vegetable that people think very highly of. In fact, besides the seasonal obsession with BBQing, most place corn under the useless empty calorie label with little nutritional value. The agricultural departments see corn in much the same way, as corn is used as a crop that is grown to be stripped and adulterated into various piece parts for use in processed foods, animal feed, and alternative fuel. Corn is so good at being used as non-food that of the 84 million acres of corn planted in 2011, less than 12% was used for food products, majority as high fructose corn syrup. What if consumers knew that one-cup of yellow corn, whole kernel or whole grain, provides 211 mg of magnesium, a whopping 53% of the DRI for an adult? Or that it is also a rich source of B vitamins, dietary fiber, and omega fatty acids, majority of which is lost during the massive refining of corn into processed foods? Would Americans prefer HFCS then?
 
With resources and water supply becoming an increasingly desperate situation, American consumers should be mindful of ensuring that every inch of soil used for food production yields nutritious whole foods that protect our health, not work against it.
 
References:
1.)  Food Marketing Institute. Supermarket Facts 2013. http://www.fmi.org/research-resources/supermarket-facts
  
2.) The Washington Post:  “How the U.S. Manages to Waste $165 Billion in Food Each Year”. 
 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/08/22/how-food-actually-gets-wasted-in-the-united-states/
 
3.) Environmental Protection Agency: “Major Crops Grown in the United States”. http://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/ag101/cropmajor.html
 
4.) USDA: Corn. http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/corn/background.aspx
 
5.) Self-Nutrition Data: Yellow Corn Nutritional Profile. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5687/2
 
6.) NIH Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
 
7.) Medical News Today: “What are the Health Benefits of Beetroot?”
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277432.php
 
8.) Agriculture Marketing Resource Center: “Sugar Beets”. 
http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/grains__oilseeds/sugarbeets/
  
9.) Sugar Industry Biotech Council. http://www.sugarindustrybiotechcouncil.org/sugar-beet-faq
  
10.) Harvard Health Blog: “Above-Normal Blood Sugar Linked to Dementia”. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/above-normal-blood-sugar-linked-to-dementia-201308076596