“The People of Corn”

Pollan, M. 2006. Omnivores Dilemma. England:Pengiun Books Ltd. pages 15-119


I poured myself my morning glass of orange juice, and began to read. With my glass only half finished, Michael Pollan had already managed to completely change my perspective on the so called “orange” juice I was drinking. Do I really know what I’m putting into my body? It’s almost like can feel the corn running through my veins as I sipped my healthy citrus drink.


I was absolutely amazed with all of the products that we use that are made from corn! Juice along with many other products Pollan listed such as;

  • Beer
  • Coffee Whitener
  • Cheez Whiz
  • Frozen Yogurt
  • TV Dinners
  • Ketchup
  • Canned Fruit
  • Candies
  • Most Soft Drinks
  • Soups
  • Snacks
  • Cake Mixes
  • Frosting
  • Gravy
  • Frozen Waffles
  • Syrups
  • Hot sauces
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Hot dogs
  • Bologna
  • Margarine
  • Shortening
  • Salad Dressing
  • Vitamins
  • Relishes


Corn travels into these products by chemical names such as;

  • Glucose Syrup
  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Unmodified or Modified Starch
  • Crystalline Fructose
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Lecithin
  • Dextrose
  • Lactic Acid
  • Lysine
  • Maltose
  • HFCS
  • MSG
  • Polyols
  • Xantham gum
  • Caramel Colour


Also, some non-food items containing corn;

  • Toothpaste
  • Cosmetics
  • Trash Bags
  • Disposable Diaper
  • Cleansers
  • Charcoal Briquettes
  • Matches
  • Batteries
  • ‘Shine’ on Magazines
  • Wax on Cucumbers
  • Pesticides
  • Ingredient in Cardboard
  • Parts of Building Structures (Wall board & Joint Compound)
  • Linoleum
  • Fibreglass
  • Adhesives


I will never look at corn the same. My citrus juice I drink every morning, is sweetened with both glucose and fructose syrup as the first ingredients. Sad part is, most of my favourite foods are made of corn! So why are we “The People of Corn”? How did this happen?


In Michael Pollans’ book, he goes into great detail explaining the many reasons humans have grown so reliant on corn. The most engaging section of the book was, There Goes The Sun, pages 41-47.  In this sub-chapter, Pollan explains how there were excessive amounts of Nitrogen left over from World war 2, from the all of the chemical warfare used. The idea arose that we should use the excess, nitrogen-rich chemicals for the farmers fields as the first man-made, synthetic fertilizer. Corn farmers had amazing results and continued using it until the world had a surplus of corn! With all of this corn, and advancing technology, scientists came up with a variety of ways to use corn, such as all of the synthetically produced chemicals listed above. We did this to ourselves. Omnivores Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, tells an amazing theory about how we transformed ourselves into “The People of Corn”.


2 thoughts on ““The People of Corn”

  1. I really enjoy the layout and style of your blog, it draws my attention to specific lines and creates a great flow pattern. You really draw my attention to specific sentences by having them bolded or isolated. I think you set up your blog very well by having a detailed explanation of the book before you give your opinions about it. This gives every reader a chance to understand and enjoy your blog regardless of whether they have read the book or not. I really liked the blog: “People of the Corn” because of the layout and how informative it was. I like how you listed the chemicals and products that come from corn, it was a very powerful yet concise way of delivering that information. I think you do a great job of informing the reader and giving them information to think about long after they’re done reading your blog.


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