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Traces of Corn Found in Almost All Fast Food
Date:11/13/2008

Only 12 servings out of hundreds had nutrients that didn't contain it, researchers say

THURSDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that many fast-food meals begin with a single ingredient: corn.

Researchers uncovered signs of corn in food items from Wendy's, McDonald's and Burger King.

"We found that corn is not just a grain used in the production of fast food, it is the basis of all fast food," said study author A. Hope Jahren, a professor of geography and geophysics at the University of Hawaii. "Of the hundreds of fast-food meals we purchased across the country, there were only about 12 servings of food that could potentially be traced back to something besides corn."

The findings may not be very surprising considering that corn and its byproducts -- including the controversial high-fructose corn syrup -- are such an integral part of the American diet. Still, "the heavy use of corn in the U.S. food supply has been linked with obesity related to the availability of cheap, low-nutrient food," said Cynthia Sass, a nutritionist in New York City.

According to the study, Americans spend more than $100 billion a year on fast food. The study authors decided to analyze the fast food on an atomic level to discover how corn is used in the production of fast food.

A research team bought more than 480 servings of hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and French fries at fast-food restaurants in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Denver, Boston and Baltimore. The food was freeze-dried and sent to a lab for analysis.

The findings were published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

By analyzing the biochemical makeup of the food, the researchers found that 100 percent and 93 percent of the cows responsible for the hamburgers and chicken sandwiches had lived on exclusively corn-based diets.

There was an exception: 12 Burge
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