Reasons to avoid GMO food
1994 is when it all started. GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) crops became a regular part of America's food chain. Soy, corn, alfalfa, canola, cotton, sugar beets, hawaiian papaya, yellow squash, and zucchini are the crops approved in the US.
What's a GMO? It is splicing the genes (DNA or RNA) of a species and crossing it with another species genes in attempts to produce a desired outcome. In the case of food, increased tolerance to herbicide and/or the plant producing its own herbicide.
I must admit the science nerd in me finds the whole frontier of genetic engineering intriguing. For instance the GloFish is a fluorescent fish sold in stores as a pet. It is a GM pet and is created by crossing DNA from Zebrafish with genes from things like: jelly fish, coral, anemone, and sea pansies. Not only are they house pets but they glow in the presence of pollution and certain chemicals, so they are used in other industries as well. Anyways, I digress.
Back to food...the majority of GM seeds are designed to do one of two things:
1. Resist normally deadly doses of the herbicide, Roundup. This will theoretically allow the farmer to spray so much Roundup on the plant that no other living thing could survive on or around it, which should increase crop production.
2. Corn and cotton both are modified so the plant itself can produce Bt toxin, a herbicide that punctures holes in the intestines of pests to kill them. Again, this will allow farmers to increase crop production.
GMOs have never been proven safe in any studies that were not funded by Biotec firms who create the GM seeds. For instance this study by Monsanto (the largest Biotec firm) shows corn fed to rats is safe (source). However, this study (source) explains why the Monsanto's study is flawed. This literature review (source) also exposes how almost all the studies showing GMOs are safe are funded by the biotech companies themselves, which makes the study internally flawed and therefore inadmissible.
However, there is a plethora of literature that shows its toxic effects on both humans and animals. These effects come from both the high doses of Roundup used on the resistant plants and from the Bt toxin produced by the corn. Here is just a small sample of the damage they do:
- GM corn causes a potent immune response throughout the entire body when fed to mice. IgG antibodies increase dramatically in both these studies cited, allowing the body to create allergic reactions to food that is also non-GMO and potentially its own self, causing autoimmune disorders. (source) (source)
- Structural and functional changes in liver cells of mice fed gmo soy. (source)
- High death rate and low birth weight of rat pups fed GM diets. (source)
- Severe diarrhea, low birth weight, stomach ulcers, high pup death rate reported by farmers of GM fed pigs. (source)
- Stomach lining become inflamed and eroded in pigs who were fed GM feed. (source)
We are living in denial if we think that GMOs are not affecting our bodies. The seeds themselves are effecting us and the heavy doses of herbicides/pesticides they spray on them are effecting us. This, I believe, is one of the reasons for the dramatic increase in autoimmune diseases since the invention of GMOs. It is estimated by the American Autoimmune Association that 50 million Americans are suffering from autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune rates are increasing rapidly, for instance lupus rates have tripled in the last four decades! Autoimmune disorders are one of the top 10 killers in females ages 1-64. Chances are you know someone, if not yourself, that is suffering from one. Some of the disease are: lupus, fibromyalgia, graves disease and other thyroid disorders, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, crohns, gluten intolerance, etc.
GMOs are causing Leaky Gut Syndrome, a disease where the GI tract lining becomes more permeable, allowing food to pass directly into the blood stream causing an allergic reaction. Leaky gut syndrome causes autoimmune diseases because you are always in a state of inflammation/allergic response (source). We know this because GM food erodes and mucosal lining of the intestines and it produces an immune response in the blood stream.
So the main component of Roundup is glyphosate. It is the chemical that the GM seeds are sprayed with in massive doses. Not only does it have effects on humans as noted above, it ruins our environment. It is present in our water supply, (source). It wrecks the soil for future crops by changing the soil microbiology and killing earthworms. Glyphosate is also toxic to most plants and it causes disease in fish, frogs, and other water animals (source). It is leaving behind damage that is irreversable and will have effects on generations to come.
If you need one more reason...
Here it is...the GMO history in food is full with government corruption, scandal, and greed. It is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the companies have shown they are going to protect their businesses at all costs. A simple google search will give you a picture of the kinds of business practices they adhere to. One example is the current Deputy Commissioner of the FDA is the former Vice President for Public Policy of Monsanto (one of the largest biotech companies in the world who control up to 90% of the global market on GMO seeds and who own Roundup). The Deputy Commissioner position was “created” in 2008, in which he took the spot. Smells like the Ben Bernanke/Federal Reserve kinds B.S. to me...bedfellows to the end. I'd like to keep the corruption off my dinner plate. Do you think there would be corruption if GMOs were perfectly safe? GMO is big business, unfortunately with the ramifications are landing on the consumers health and environment.
A few tips so you can avoid GMOs
- Buy organic whenever possible for your budget because certified organic products prohibit the know use of GMOs in production.
- When choosing something with sugar that is non organic always choose cane sugar if possible (as opposed to just sugar). Conventially grown cane sugar is not GMO, “Sugar” on the other hand is most often from beet sugar which is GMO. This is truly a hidden source of gmo, because “sugar” is in most packaged foods. For you Starbucks fiends out there the good news is they only use cane sugar in their syrups! Also C&H is always cane sugar so they are safe too.
- Soybean, canola, and cottonseed oil are in just about everything these days, especially when dinning out and in prepackaged food. Just be aware that an estimate of 80-94% of these crops are GMO now, so if you eat them, you are eating GMO. I challenge you to try and find something at a commercial fast food chain that doesn’t contain one of these oils. It is really astonishing how prevalent they are.
- Know your hidden sources of GMO. These are ingredients that are made from GM crops, like maltodextrin is from corn. Others include soy lecithin, cellulose, dextrose, corn starch, malt syrup...and the list goes on. To check out the full list click here.
- Buy meat, eggs, and dairy that is 100% grass fed if not organic. Most livestock, poultry, and pig feed is GMO because it is made from corn, soy, and alfalfa. You are what you eat...so if your eating animals who dine on gmo feed then you are eating gmo.
- If you have a smart phone download one of the many non-gmo shopping guides to help you find groceries. Here is a great one!
- When at a restaurant ask for your food cooked in butter instead of oil. Although the butter still probably contains GMO via the feed the cow ate it is better than soy, cottonseed, or canola oil that the majority of restaurants cook their food in.
- At home good oils to cook with instead of soy, corn, or cottonseed are coconut, olive, nut oils, safflower, and avocado.
- Look for the Non-GMO Project Verified label when shopping. I always look for this seal to know it's safe to eat. Here is their mission statement.
- The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit committed to preserving and building the non-GMO food supply, educating consumers, and providing Verified non-GMO choices. The Non-GMO Project verification seal indicates the product bearing the seal has gone through a rigorous verification process. The verification is an assurance that a product has been produced according to consensus-based best practices for GMO avoidance.
Here are some resources if you would like to know more
Video talk on GMO basics from Jeffery Smith, a leading consumer advocate of Non-GMO
Do you already eat GM free? If not do you think you will now?
What did you think will be most difficult when switching to GMO free products?