Another measure of how processing has altered the nutritional value of foods is the increasing calorie density of food. This can be measured as the number of calories per pound of any given type of food. A shocking example of this is what happens to corn as if goes through modern food processing.
One pound of corn off the cob contains approximately 450 calories. Now grind this up a bit and turn it into a modern corn tortilla and you have increased the calorie density to an impression 1000 calories per pound. Let’s take this a step further and convert the corn into commercial tortilla chips. The calorie density of tortilla chips has been condensed to a whopping 2450 calories per pound!
Now that doesn’t even take into consideration the dip we would use the chip to scoop up ant eat with. With this kind of increase in the calorie density of our foods is it any surprise that the modern carbohydrates many of us eat are contributing to our weight problem.
The end result is a confluence of factors leading to a significant increase in highly-processed carbohydrate consumption in the U.S. that is many believe is the primary cause of the obesity and diabetes epidemic. There is also an alarming trend in a wide variety of other illness (cancers, heart burn, pre-mature heart disease, sleep apnea, liver disease, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis) believed to be directly attributable to the increase in carbohydrates and obesity in the American diet.