Why You Should Avoid Genetically Modified Foods
In my prior post, “The Monsanto Superweed,” we touched on the problem of
genetically modified foods, or GMOs. The article focused on who
engineers and endorses these products, as well as the effect that
glyphosate has on the environment. This time out we will look at the
foods that GMOs are found in and the potential health issues that can
present from ingesting them.
So What’s the Problem with GMOs?
About two decades ago a company that is now the property of Monsanto
gave us the Flavr Savr tomato. It was the first genetically modified
organism approved for consumption in the United States. The flood gates
flew open and an ongoing debate has been in progress since then.
The problem is pretty straightforward. There is mounting evidence that
GMOs are not safe for either the environment of for human consumption.
The American Society of Environmental Medicine has gone so far as to
maintain that GMOs “pose a serious health risk.”
There has been virtually no testing done on humans to determine if GMOs
are safe, but studies in animals have discovered pre-cancerous cell
growth, damage to immune systems, smaller brains, livers, and testicles
and partial atrophy of the liver.
Furthermore, when states attempt to mandate GMO labeling, companies like
Monsanto, DuPont, and Dow Chemical superfund efforts to squash the
If you wish to avoid the negative effects of GMOs, then avoid those
products that contain them. Easier said than done since the United
States does not employ the same standards as Europe where labeling on
GMO products is required. The United States has no such requirements. Given this approach, it is beneficial to know what to look for.
Products that are most likely to be genetically modified are soybeans,
corn, canola, sugar beets, cotton, dairy, sugar and bake goods. GMOs
are normally added to make crops more resistant to herbicides. Further
complicating the mix is the Food and Drug Administration’s approval to
sell GMO sugar beets under the name sugar. Should you see the words cane
sugar you can be reasonably sure that it is not GMO, but there are no
guarantees. Sugar is a pretty common ingredient is a huge number of
products, and thanks to the FDA we cannot be sure of the composition of
the sugar in what we eat. Products containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are most likely GMO as the sweetener is derived from corn rather than cane sugar.
Knowing fruit and vegetable label numbers is a useful practice. If the
number is four digits then the food is conventionally produced. Five
digit numbers beginning with an eight are genetically modified, while a
five digit number beginning with a nine is organic.
Look for the mark of approval from organic certification institutions
like QAI, Oregon Tilth, and CCOF. USDA organic certification does not
guarantee that a product is 100% organic. Eggs are of particular note
whereas “free range,” “natural,” or “cage free” labels do not absolutely
mean that the product is not genetically engineered. Buy only eggs that
are marked 100% organic.
Living life well-fed,
My Bariatric Life
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