You’ve heard about them before: GMOs. But there is a lot of conflicting information.
Are they terrible chemicals lurking in all your produce? Can they alter your DNA? Do they reduce or increase the nutrient density of food products?
Let’s start with the basics. What are GMOs?
GMO stands for genetically modified organisms.
There are 9 major GMO crops today: corn, soy, cottonseed, zucchini, squash, alfalfa, sugar beets, canola, and papaya.
Most of them fall into two categories: herbicide tolerant and pesticide producing.
Herbicide tolerant are plants that are able to withstand herbicide so a farmer can kill weeds without harming the crops.
Pesticide producing are plants that have been altered to produce their own pesticides to repel the insects that prey on them without needing to apply pesticides.
From a farmer’s perspective, it sounds convenient, efficient, and economical.
But it’s vital to recognize that both forms of GMOs involve a gross manipulation of nature, and their long-term health consequences are still unknown.
Which is why I’ve rounded up everything we DO know about GMOs, so you can decide for yourself:
Are GMOs an agricultural advancement or a terrifying health hazard?
7 Must-Know Facts about GMOs:
1. GMOs are EVERYWHERE (especially processed food!)
GMOs were introduced in our food supply in 1996. Although there are only 9 GMO crops, they can be found in approximately 70-80% of the foods in the United States due to their many derivatives.
The most prevalent source of GMOs is in processed foods. It is estimated that over 60% of processed foods contain at least one GMO ingredient, and they’re often hidden in words like “soy, corn, sugar, soy protein” and more!
Check labels vigilantly or simply avoid processed foods entirely.
2. Most restaurants are GMO minefields.
Unless a restaurant is serving organic produce, pasture-fed animal products, and organic, unrefined cooking oils, you are likely getting a healthy dose with every meal.
I like to call ahead and ask if they serve organic produce and animal products. I do this to simply heighten their awareness of the demand for higher quality ingredients. You may also use Yelp to locate clean restaurants in your area.
3. GMOs cause damage in animals.
Although GMO advocates proclaim them as safe, in 2009 the American Academy of Environmental Medicine stated that…
“Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified food.”
These risks include immune disorders, accelerated aging, infertility, and notable changes in certain major organs and the gastrointestinal system.
4. GMOs are linked to anxiety and depression.
Roundup is an herbicide that kills plants. The company that produces Roundup (Monsanto) claims that the effect it has on plants cannot affect humans, but in reality, their claims are not entirely true.
There is evidence that consuming GMOs may increase your risk for mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
5. No long term studies have ever been conducted on humans.
When we consume GMOs, we are participating in the ONLY long-term GMO safety trial EVER conducted in humans. Although the FDA’s job is to ascertain the safety of the foods in our food supply, it doesn’t conduct its own safety research on all GMOs.
Instead, the biotech companies who create GMO seeds are allowed to conduct their own safety testing which is often twisted in their favor and not reviewed by the FDA.
6. GMOs are harming our children.
Philippe Grandjean and Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan, reported that a “silent pandemic” of toxins has been damaging the brains of unborn children. In this report they identified 12 chemicals which they believe to be causing a reduction in IQ, ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.
Children are also far more susceptible to the effects of GMOs due to their increased metabolic rates, higher food consumption, sensitivity to toxins and underdeveloped immune systems.
That is why I encourage every family I work with to be sure to feed their children organic, non-GMO foods!
7. Since GMOs were introduced, rates of disease have risen substantially.
According to the IRT, between the years of 1996 and 2005:
- Americas with 3 or more chronic disorders increased from 7-13%
- Food allergies have increased
- Autism rates have risen
- Reproductive disorders are more common
- Digestive conditions have skyrocketed (conditions like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, chronic constipation, gastrointestinal infections, gastroesophageal reflux)
- Inflammatory bowel disease has raised by 42%
While these incidences may be due to many factors, GMOs in our food supply are likely playing a role.
You can see how GMOs are still very much a mystery, even to the self-proclaimed “experts.”
A lot of us are unknowingly participating in one of the world’s biggest biological experiments. An experiment that we may not know the conclusions of until it’s too late.
Scary, right? But all hope is not lost.
There are a few things you can do to stay vigilant, and ensure your family is not suffering at the hands of the GMO giants.
What You Can Do:
First, buy organic non-GMO foods. This is the greatest thing you can do for yourself today to stop ingesting these mystery organisms.
Second, eliminate processed foods from your diet. Most of them contain GMOs (among other unhealthy ingredients) and this is a great way to help cut them out of your diet.
Third, push for GMO labeling. I think everyone can agree, it’s our right to know exactly what we’re putting in our body. If a company is using GMO ingredients, fine. But they should be required to tell us.
One thing we can do to push for this is to reach out to our local lawmakers and congressmen, asking them to create laws that require GMO labeling. There are 64 countries around the world that already require GMO labeling, but unfortunately, the US is not one of them.
And finally, buy products that are outright non-GMO. These products are the future of the anti-GMO movement. The more support non-GMO products can get, the higher the demand for them will be.
And if a food product can boost sales significantly by creating a non-GMO product, they will find a way to make it happen.
So there you have it: 7 Must-Know Facts about GMOs.
P.S. One of my favorite non-GMO snack products are Paleovalley grass fed beef sticks. Think beef jerky, but made only with non-GMO grass-fed beef! If you want to try these, you can get a 15% discount using the code at this link!
And as always, I am not a medical doctor and the above post is based on my experience. No information on this site should be relied upon to make a medical diagnosis, treat, prevent or cure any disease or medical condition.