Monsanto is an American biotech/agribusiness company that is responsible for the promotion of genetically modified crops (GMOs) and our country’s reliance on corn as a major staple of its food supply. Over the years, Monsanto and a select few similar corporations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying the US government to influence food policy supporting purely financial aims. Monsanto has also developed intimate relationships with trusted agencies like the FDA and the USDA to promote their interests over the public health of our country.

Last week our government extended even more protection to this corporation by passing what people are calling the “Monsanto Protection Act.” Hidden within a much larger government spending bill, the provision prevents future legal recourse against Monsanto in case GMO crops turn out to be harmful. There is even strong circumstantial evidence that the company itself had a hand in writing the legislation. President Obama signed the bill into law amidst significant public protest, continuing his legacy of deference to Big Corn at the expense of American health.

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Why You Should Care

First of all, nobody really knows the long term effects of consuming genetically modified organisms. There is mounting concern that GMO foods pose some danger, though there hasn’t been significant scientific inquiry done up to this point. Guess who funds most of the food research? Some speculate that GMOs can influence DNA expression through altering RNA that can survive digestion. The increasing rates of obesity, cancer, hormone deficiencies, etc. in our society may be purely coincidental, but they are likely linked to our eating habits as a society.

Even factoring out GMOs, the company is at the center of our government’s support of Big Corn. Essentially, Monsanto and similar corporations control both the supply side and demand side of the corn market. Monsanto spends millions to lobby Washington for corn farmer subsidies that end up as corporate welfare for the company. Corn farmers receive further breaks if they use Monsanto’s genetically modified crop seeds to grow their product.

If you’ve opened your eyes in the last 25 years or so, you’ll notice that Americans are incredibly fat. Ever wonder why high fructose corn syrup is the first ingredient in nearly every staple of the standard American diet? Corn and soy are ubiquitous in the standard American diet not because of any nutritional benefits or inherent advantage to the crop, but rather because multinational companies like Monsanto influence legislation that makes them artificially profitable to grow and sell.

Sweeteners such as corn syrup are also addictive and stimulate hunger, causing us to crave and consume more of them in spite of our bodies’ inability to handle them over the long term. A superabundance of dietary sugar is linked to diabetes, hypertension metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. Even the meat you buy at the grocery store is fed on unnatural diet of corn, necessitating the animals to be pumped full of antibiotics near the end of their lives and decimating the nutritional composition of their meat.

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What You Can Do

Though it’s probably too late to make any realistic action to diminish the hegemony of Monsanto and Big Corn as arbiters of food policy in our country, you can combat it on an individual level by taking ownership of your diet:

1. Stop eating processed food altogether

2. Buy produce and meat labeled GMO-free, certified 100% organic, or 100% grass-fed

3. Encourage others to do the same

Other than Ancel Keys’s dreadfully inaccurate lipid hypothesis, the Monsanto/Big Corn axis has had perhaps the most deleterious impact on our country’s health of any single agency. People are at least generally aware of tobacco’s bad effects, but most will blindly follow the insidious corporation-controlled governmental recommendations on nutrition. Look around you — the most elementary observation of day-to-day life should tell you that our emphasis on grains, low-fat, and high-carb is completely wrong and represents an epidemic failure of our government’s food policy.

Once you realize that our government actively encourages the production of terrible food and that lawmakers have financial incentive to keep shoving corn and soy down our throats, the clear conclusion is to go Galt with your food. Cut these foods from your diet, and make conscious choices that keep Monsanto out of your kitchen.

Read More: 4 Reasons Your Diet Sucks