Federal Food Subsidies

Did you know that the government actually gives the meat industry money? Oh and by money, I mean YOUR tax dollars. Check out this pie chart from Physicians Committee For Responsible Reform that illustrates how much money each food industry gets.

Yes, that’s right….63% of the money goes to the meat industry and less than 1% to the fruit and vegetable industry. According to this chart, our own government is discouraging us from eating fruits and vegetables. Do we even need to wonder why 68% of Americans are overweight or obese? Or why over 60% of U.S. deaths are caused by heart disease, cancer, and other diet-related diseases?? (And for the naysayers..yes, I know, meat is not solely responsible for these numbers and that some vegetarians are fat too. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if produce, whole grains and legumes were promoted and as cheap and readily available as much as meat is, a lot of people would probably be thinner and more importantly, healthier).

Oh and by the way, the Society of Actuaries states that obesity related healthcare costs in this country are around $127 billion per year. Add in another $100 billion in lost worker productivity and disability costs and the total cost of obese Americans totals nearly $300 billion per year.

The ironic part of all of this is that the USDA food pyramid we all know so well never quite matched up to the distributions of government subsidies. Look at this chart from PCRM:

The food pyramid was used from 1992-2011, when it was replaced with the new and improved “MyPlate” that looks like this:

These guidelines, while a vast improvement nutrition-wise over the original food pyramid, are still just as ridiculous as the pyramid. MyPlate suggests that Americans should fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables. Yet, the government is still spending 3/4 of the food subsidies on meat, which should make up only about 1/4 of your plate.

Something doesn’t seem right, now does it?

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6 responses to “Federal Food Subsidies

  1. delennelizabeth

    Have you seen the documentary Forks over Knives? I recently saw it and have been thinking about eliminating many animal-based foods from my diet but fruits and veggies are so expensive that we have to buy processed foods in order to get enough food without breaking the bank. Great post 🙂

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    • I hear that a lot and it’s sad to me. Your health is worth more than the cost of your food and more often than not, if people wanted to cut back on other expenses to support healthy eating, they probably could. Also, trust that the meat you are eating is full of crap you’d never dream of ingesting (or let your family ingest). I sure hope you are saving a lot of money because you will probably need it for healthcare one day.

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      • delennelizabeth

        we definitely eat a lot of fruits and veggies, just making a comment on the problem with the discrepancy in the price between what people should be eating and what people are eating. I agree with your post –no misunderstandings 🙂

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        • Oh good! I wish everyone had fresh fruits and veggies available and understood the importance of spending a little more to save their own health. It is sooo important!!

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  2. Wow. Awesome post. May have to rant about this on my site….I always get angry when I pay the same for my salad as my friends pay for their steak dinner.

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