Misconceptions About Agriculture: Food Costs Too Much

With the growing options provided at grocery stores for agricultural products, many options are becoming available to consumers to choose from. With this it is also known that with many of these products there is a large price range that these goods are sold at. Many consumers believe that even with all the choices and price ranges provided, the good sold are just too highly priced. This seems to be true due to the fact that over the years even a gallon of milk has increased steadily in price. All though this is true it is actually just a misconception that our food is priced too high. In order to prove this misconception wrong we are going to look at some information that will hopefully prove otherwise.

Taking a closer look at this I reference an entry on blog.fastline.com. This site states “The Truth – Our food prices are some of the most affordable and abundant in the world. For a quick comparison, American’s food cost makes up about 6.7 percent of our incomes. In comparison, Japan was 14 percent; China was 21.3 percent; and India a staggering 51 percent. How’s that for affordable food?” (www.blog.fastline.com, 2014) With this statement we actually see that our food is not overpriced, we see just the opposite. It turns out that the food that we purchase is quite affordable and among the most affordable available. So there you have it, another one of those pesky misconceptions about agriculture, debunked.

sources: http://blog.fastline.com/2014/03/25/top-ten-myths-about-agriculture-farming/

Misconceptions About Agriculture: Corn Isn’t a Good source of Any Nutrients

Eating healthy is always of great importance to many citizens in America in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. By avoiding unhealthy foods that contain lots of calories and trans fat it’s easier for these people to be in better shape then most. They tend to depend on healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables. Although this is the case many people tend to believe that corn doesn’t have as many nutrients, if not at all, as other vegetables. This is just another of those pesky misconceptions about agriculture. We are going to look deeper into this question in order really determine whether or not it is true that corn does not have any good source of nutrients.

Many vegetables that are agriculturally produced hold a lot of nutrients including potatoes, turnips, tomatoes, etc. for those who question the nutritional value of corn, is say to you that is the blatantly incorrect. I reference Amanda L. Chan in order to make a statement about the nutritional value about corn, “Vegetables like kale and spinach may have better reputations as nutrition all-stars, but corn has something to contribute, too. Corn contains certain B vitamins and vitamin C, as well as magnesium and potassium. Yellow corn is also a good source of two antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein, which are good for eye health.” (www.huffingtonpost.com, 2014.) With that said we understand now that corn does in fact have nutritional value, and it should be used as a solid part of a healthy diet for a healthy lifestyle. Therefore it turns out that another one of those pesky and common misconceptions about agriculture has been debunked, so go ahead and finish off that cobb of corn.

Sources : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/26/corn-health-myths-nutrition_n_5591977.html

Misconceptions About Agriculture: Does Turkey Make You Sleepy? (Thanksgiving Edition!)

First off I just want to wish everyone and their families a happy and blessed Thanksgiving, hoping that you all have enjoyed your Thanksgiving dinners. I know that I had a great turkey day, filled with all kinds of amazing food like rice, stuffing, dinners rolls, several different options of Puerto Rican cuisine (because I am of Puerto Rican descent), and of course a nice big juicy turkey! Of course I also had my wonderful family to share this meal with because I couldn’t finish it on my own of course, actually I probably could have. So after this huge feast, as it may go with many of you and your families out there, one by one my family members dropped like flies. They slipped into eternal slumbers, perhaps even food comas. Usually this is how it always happens after Thanksgiving dinner, my entire family just takes a group nap in my grandmother’s living room, but then I think to myself, If this always happens after Thanksgiving is it something that we all eat to make us fall asleep? I think maybe it’s the turkey, since I’ve heard before the idea tossed around that turkey makes you sleepy. I decided to look into whether or not this was actually true, whether or not turkey makes you sleepy.

It turns out that this idea seems to be relatively widespread, that eating turkey really does make you sleepy. When I heard this though, it seemed a little off, how can something as natural as a turkey make you sleepy. Actually while researching this question I found that this is just a common misconception, eating turkey actually does not make you sleepy. How do I know this? It’s actually due to a natural amino acid found in turkeys called “L-typtophan”. To explain more about what this amino acid is and what it does I reference Linda Yerardi, R.D., a diabetes nutrition educator at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. “Turkey alone will not make you sleepy. It’s true that L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in turkey and many other protein foods, can have a sedative effect in some people. But its effects are blunted by the presence of other amino acids in turkey, which compete for the same binding sites in the brain, she notes. “You’d have to take L-tryptophan alone (with no other amino acids present) and on an empty stomach to produce any drowsiness. “Lots of other foods, including ground beef and chicken, contain L-tryptophan, too, and don’t have this reputation.” (www.eatingwell.com, 2014)

With that said, it’s actually true that there is something in turkeys that could perhaps be a sedative, but is negated, by other amino acids and has no true effect. Therefore all my family members after dinner tonight weren’t falling asleep because of the turkey, but solely because of all the food we ate. So there’s another misconception about agriculture, debunked. Have a wonderful rest of your thanksgiving and sleep well with all that turkey in your tummy.

Sources: http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/5_nutrition_myths_busted

Misconceptions About Agriculture: Pesticides are Not Used In Organic Foods

They way that food is produced is both very important and crucial to consumers simply because most if not all of us are concerned about what goes into our bodies. Though we are for the most part well informed when it comes this subject in terms of agriculture, many consumers have an issue with the use of pesticides in their food. Since the use of pesticides is wide spread in the world of agriculture, many turn to organic food options in order to avoid the risk of consuming pesticides, since of course no pesticides are used in the production of organic foods right? Wrong. It turns out that contrary to popular belief, pesticides are in fact used in the production of organic foods.

First off lets take a step back and talk about what exactly a pesticide is and what constitutes a pesticide, as well as why farmers use them in the production of their crops. By definition a pesticide is “a substance used for destroying insects or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants or to animals.” (www.dictionary.com, 2014) These pesticides can also be broken down into separate categories such as insecticides, killing several species of insect, fungicides, killing species of fungi that harm specific crops, etc. With this in mind we take a look at why farmers use these potentially harmful pesticides. The reason for this use of pesticides is actually to protect the crops themselves, by the use of pesticides many crops in each harvest are save due to the extermination of harmful insects, fungi, etc. that can potentially kill the crops. Since these pesticides sound so extreme, it is also important to question just how safe these things are, the answer to that question may perhaps be unsettling. Pesticides can cause some rather severe health problems, “Laboratory studies show that pesticides can cause health problems, such as birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time. However, these effects depend on how toxic the pesticide is and how much of it is consumed.” (www.epa.gov, 2014) This of course is not good at all and makes you question the use of pesticides, though this is true these pesticides prevent many other harmful bacteria from infecting the crops.

Finally we return back to the issue of pesticide use in the production of organic foods, particularly crops. As stated before pesticides are in fact used in organic farming, though there is a slight difference. That difference is stated here in this quote, “organic farmers do use pesticides. The only difference is that they’re “natural” instead of “synthetic.” At face value, the labels make it sound like the products they describe are worlds apart, but they aren’t. A pesticide, whether it’s natural or not, is a chemical with the purpose of killing insects (or warding off animals, or destroying weeds, or mitigating any other kind of pest, as our watchful commenters have correctly pointed out). Sadly, however, “natural” pesticides aren’t as effective, so organic farmers actually end up using more of them!” (www.realscience.com, 2014) So in principle, organic farmers actually end up using more pesticides then normal farmers, just using a different pesticide. So there you have it, another common misconception in the field of agriculture, debunked.

Sources: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/food/risks.htm

http://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2014/06/the_biggest_myth_about_organic_farming.html

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2011/07/18/mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/

http://www.azfb.org/articles/78798/the-myths-and-facts-in-agriculture