Avoid GMO foods. It’s all the news lately: “Stop Monstanto.” “No GMO Food.” What does that even mean?
GMO stands for genetically modified organism. A genetically modified organism is one whose genetic material has been changed through genetic engineering. Genes can be mutated, inserted, or deleted to change the organism. Monsanto scientists were the first to genetically modify a plant cell and are one of the world’s largest sellers of vegetable and agricultural seeds, many of which have been genetically modified.
In regard to food, scientists set out to improve the quantity, quality, and availability of food. They have genetically engineered crops to make them more resistant to pests and herbicides. Sometimes they increase the nutritional value of the plant. Sometimes the changes allow the plant to grow in an area that is not in the original plant’s region.
So why is everyone ready to tar and feather the people who set out to make food “better?” Research and studies on animals are showing that GM food has some serious health risks associated with it. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine reported, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food.” These risks include accelerated aging, infertility, faulty insulin regulation, immune problems, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM advises people to avoid GMO foods. Here are 6 ways you can keep them at bay.
The US government does not allow companies to label products as 100% Organic, Certified Organic, and USDA Organic if they contain genetically modified foods. If the package says Made with Organic Products, then up to 70% of the ingredients are organic, and the remaining ingredients might include GMO products. Buying USDA organic is one way to easily identify food that does not contain GMO.
Avoid processed food
Processed foods are more likely to contain GMO ingredients. Common foods with GMO are corn, soybeans, canola, and cottonseed. These foods are the largest GMO crops in North America.The best plan to avoid GMO foods is to avoid processed food unless you know what is in that product.
Avoid artificial sweeteners
Aspartame is made with bacterial strains of genetically modified strains of E. coli. In fact, aspartame comes from the excrement of the GM E. coli. That is pretty nasty stuff. But that is not all. Aspartame causes many negative side effects. Read more about why you should avoid aspartame and other sweeteners.
Learn how to read labels
It is easy for manufacturers to hide ingredients in labels because the print is so small, and the names are so hard to read, plus you have to know which ingredients to look for. Companies are not required by law to label foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, but many ingredients in packaged and processed foods come from GMOs. Common products to avoid include:
- Xantham gum
- Lactic acid
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Citric acid
- Mono- and diglycerides
Buy hormone-free dairy products
Organic milk is hormone free, but there are also many non-organic dairy products that are made without synthetic hormones. Look for labels that say the product is from cows treated with rBGH or rBST. These synthetic hormones are likely to contain genetically modified components. Aside from GMOs, it is just a good idea in general to avoid dietary synthetic hormones.
Read PLU codes on fruits and vegetables
Look for the 5-digit code that begins with a 9. This tells you the produce is organic. Ignore all those other messages floating around the Internet, saying that codes that start with an 8 means the food is a GMO. While 8 does equal GMO, using that code is OPTIONAL. Why would growers and manufacturers want to advertise that? Well, they don’t, so all you can trust is the organic code, which growers are proud to advertise.
Are GMOs all bad?
We as a society have reaped the benefits of scientific progress. Without genetic engineering, we would not have the cures for disease and medications available to us today. We use gene therapy to cure genetic disorders and diseases in humans. Genetically modified viruses can help patients with such conditions as cystic fibrosis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. We cannot say that all genetic modifications are bad, but there is evidence against using GMOs in food, which seems to increase risk factors for allergies and antibiotic resistance.
For your best health and immunity, do your best to avoid GMO foods and look for organic unprocessed foods as often as possible. You probably have been eating genetically modified food for a long time without realizing it, so there is no need to panic. Just look to make the best decisions for your health going forward.
GMO Dangers. Institute for Responsible Technology