Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What is a GMO?

GMO- that's the new buzz word in health and nutrition.  But, do you know what it is?  A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process when genes from the DNA of one species (plant or animal) are extracted  and then artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated species.  Where do you find them?  In the food that you are eating!!  GMOs are present in the majority of processed food that is sold in the United States.  They are banned in Europe and other countries, but here in the US the FDA doesn't even require GMOs to be listed or identified on the food packaging.  So, why use GMOs?  Companies that produce the seeds of GMO crops are doing so because they are making the seeds resistant to herbicides and giving the seeds the ability to produce their own pesticides.  Currently, in the US, the most common GMO crops are:  soy (94% of all crops), corn (95% of crops), cotton (90% of crops), canola (90% of crops), and sugar beets (90% of crops).  There are many products that are made from the above items including oils, soy protein, soy lecithin, corn starch, corn syrup- including high fructose corn syrup and many, many more.

How does this affect you?  Laboratory research has shown that nearly every organ on lab animals has been damaged when they consumed GMOs.  Also, the incident in cancer in the lab animals sky rocketed.  Other side effects include allergic reactions, decreased nutritional value in the GMO crops, increase in toxins in the foods produced, and even possibly death.  Research hasn't been done to determine the long term side affects that consuming GMOs will have on the human body.  In the late 80's, early 90's, 37 people died and over 1500 people were permanently disabled in the United States from a disease called eosonophil myalgia syndrome (ems).  The disease was caused by an extremely poisonous substance found in a tryptophan food supplement that was made from a genetically engineered bacteria in Japan.

What should you do?  If you eat any type of corn or soy products, including tortilla chips, corn tortillas, corn starch, corn syrup, soy protein, soy lecithin, etc., make sure the label says it is organic or that a company has confirmed and certified that it contains no GMOs.  Currently, there is no legislature that says a company has to disclose that their product contains GMOs- but, hopefully that will change in the future!!!  Until then- read your labels and be careful about what you buy and consume!


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