No doubt you have heard about GMOs, but you may know very little about just what they are. GMOs are genetically modified organisms, which basically means they are engineered in a laboratory as opposed to the old school method of using natural seeds to produce plants, and in turn, food. Controversy surrounds the cultivation and consumption of these foods. But why?
GMO foods were developed to be "Roundup Ready", meaning that farmers can spray their crops with toxic herbicides to kill weeds and pesky insects that affect and attack the plants without wiping out their crops. The engineering can also potentially produce larger, higher yield crops, which also grow faster and can be cultivated sooner. At least 80% of corn and 90% of soy grown in the US is now genetically modified. This, in turn, is being fed to our livestock, and is used to supply the majority of our cooking oils and sweeteners. Other GMO crops include canola, cottonseed, alfalfa, zucchini and yellow crookneck squash, sugar from sugar beets, and Hawaiian papaya. With processed food, it is nearly impossible to avoid GMOs, unless it is specifically labeled as organic, generally meaning less than 5% genetically modified ingredients.
According to the Non-GMO Project, "In 30 other countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all the countries in the European Union are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMO's, because they are not considered proven safe. In the U.S., on the other hand, the FDA approved commercial production of GMOs based on studies conducted by the companies who created them and profit from their sale".
Because GMO foods can make you sick
Since GMO foods have only been around since the 1990's, their long term health impacts are unknown, despite Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, etc., claims to the contrary. What has been discovered, however, is that these foods do have risks that may adversely affect your health and make you ill in the following ways:
Contribute to an increase in food allergies: According to an article from the Organic Consumers Association, "There is concern that GM foods pose an allergy risk. Currently the list of GM food products intersect with the eight most common food allergens: eggs, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat. Proteins in food are what trigger most allergic reactions in people. Most of the foreign proteins being gene-spliced into foods have never been eaten by humans before or tested for their safety. There is also no mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. Those who suffer from food allergies have no way of knowing if the food they purchase contains GM foods"
Digestive disorders: Since the inclusion of GMOs into our food supply, there has been a significant rise in irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, chronic constipation, Crohn's disease, leaky gut syndrome, and acid reflux, to name just a few. Additionally, cases of gluten intolerance and Celiac's disease have substantially grown over the last two decades since the introduction of GMOs.
Increased toxicity and link to reproductive disorders and infant mortality: A study published by the journal, Reproductive Toxicology, "identified toxic GMO pesticides in maternal and fetal blood, including Monsanto's Bt toxin used in corn, and points out how susceptible the fetus really is to the adverse affects of foreign chemicals that are not naturally produced". It also suggests future studies are needed relating to women's reproductive health, toxicology and nutrition in regards to the effects of GMOs.
Link to cancer: GMO corn has been proven to cause cancer in rats. The Food and Chemical Toxicology journal published a research paper called "Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize", which publicized the link between pesticides and insecticides sprayed on or given to the rats as food. The rats died young with tumors the size of golf balls.
These are but a few of the health dangers being exposed which provide evidence that GMOs can and do make you sick. Additionally, it has been shown that GMOs in soy have contributed to an increase in aging, and obesity.
What can you do to avoid consuming GMOs?
Avoid processed foods
Shop locally; go to farmer's markets in your area and speak to the farmers
Support stores that are conscious about food ingredients, e.g.. Trader Joes and Whole Foods
It is imperative that you become aware of the how GMOs may be negatively effecting your health, and making you sick. WizeLife provides an online health assessment test which can provide invaluable insights.