About 15 years ago I first heard the “buzz” all around the health industry about genetically modified organisms (GMO) or genetic engineering foods.  At the present time, many Americans are still unaware of the issue at hand. The initial objective for developing plants based on GMO was to improve crop protection and increase the level of crop protection against diseases caused by insects or viruses and through increased tolerance towards herbicides. Let’s examine how GMO “protects you”

#1) Insect resistance is achieved by incorporating into the food plant, the gene for toxin production from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (BT). One bite from an insect on the GMO plant and the BT poison splits open their stomach and kills them dead

#2) Virus resistance is achieved through the introduction of a gene from certain viruses which cause disease in plants

#3) Herbicide tolerance is achieved through the introduction of a gene from a bacterium, carrying resistance to some herbicides for killing off tough weed population

GMO crops have been shown to require lower quantities of insecticides, be less susceptible to diseases caused by viruses and have a reduction in the amount of herbicide usage. All of which will yield more crop. How could something that gives us more food be so bad?

This is the thing…all the studies done over the years have either a pro or anti-GMO favoritism. On the one side, studies showed infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. 22 Countries in Europe are calling for a halt to GMO foods. So the question is, why in the U.S. are we not concerned?  On the other side of the testing, the chemical companies are denying any long term harm from these chemicals. Not surprising. That is how they make their profits! Here are some GM foods that you eat every day by way of packaged foods you bring home and feed your family.

  • Soybean milk, tofu and Soybean oil or Lecithin is in almost every packaged food
  • Cotton from the cotton plant not only produces fiber for clothing, the seed is used for oil. Cottonseed oil is cheap to produce. You will see this oil in salad dressings, margarine and in fried packaged foods and snacks
  • Corn is used as filler, for livestock feed and Corn flour products as in tortillas and chips, etc. Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup is a very cheap way to sweeten foods
  • Canola Oil, an inexpensive oil that is about 90%GMO if it’s not organic
  • Papaya grown in the U.S.
  • Alfalfa grown for cattle and dairy cows
  • Sugar Beets unless it is specified on the label “pure cane sugar”
  • Milk with the rBGH, a synthetic GM hormone injected in cows. Look for milk and milk products like yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. with “rBGH free”

We are bombarded with GMO foods whether we like it or not. If we eat any processed food or packaged food, peanut butter, salad dressing etc., and even our livestock and eggs will have eaten GMO grain and pass it onto you.  According to the USDA 90-94% of the crops that were mentioned in the list above are GMO.  The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on “Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.” FYI:According to Green America, an advocate group for your health and food, there are about 30,000 genetically modified foods from products that sit on US grocery store shelves! It’s the consumers right to know what is in the food we are eating!

But did you know that the U.S and Canada are the only countries that do not require labeling for GMO? And too many consumers still believe that “natural” label equates to “almost organic,” and   “all-natural” label means a product is better than organic. This is just NOT TRUE!! But that’s the power of word-association, and these food industries are well aware of how the word natural “feels” to consumers who are in the dark about the regulatory differences between the labels. Groups like Organic Retail and Consumer Alliance(ORCA) are exposing these misleading tactics, and promoting truth-in-labeling.  Since 1990 we have seen labels stating Nutrition Facts and calories, the country of origin, trans-fat and most recently to disclose if orange juice is from frozen concentrate or fresh squeeze. So we’ve come a long way. Using this information helps us make healthier food choices.

So, until “non-GMO” labels are put on packaging, we can still be sure to purchase nontoxic food, free of GMO from Co-ops, natural food stores, farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) buying clubs and wholesalers and of course anything labeled ‘USDA Organic’ and rBGH free, are good choices.

Happy to be

Gerri Gatto, your weight loss coach