Big Brother and the Food Industry’s HIDDEN Skeleton (GMO FOODS) – Genetically Modified Organisms – Part 2
GMO FOODS—or genetically modified organisms— continue to be a hot topic of debate in the nutritional, medical, consumer, and food industry worldwide. Everyone from concerned parents to skeptical nutritionists wants to know if these manipulated foods are as safe and healthy as their counterparts. The answer? Well, it is not that straightforward.
Genetically modified foods and plant seeds originate from your typical plant seed. Scientists and engineers extract the genes from the original seed and, through gene-splicing techniques, combine the seed’s genes with genes from bacteria, viruses, or other plants and animals.
Why? GMOs are designed in labs to increase production by reducing the risk of losing crops to insects and worms, droughts, and deadly doses of weed killers. In addition, by engineering their genes, scientists can promote the growth of robust crops identical to each other.
This may not sound all too bad, right? I mean, who doesn’t want to purchase hearty-looking fruits and vegetables at a lower cost? But how the foods and seeds are modified for protection makes GMOs such a questionable topic.
After the gene sequence of the genetically modified organism has been constructed, scientists further manipulate the organism with poisonous pesticides and herbicides. This doesn’t sound like anything I want to consume, and you probably agree. So why, then, does there even need to be a debate about food products altered using toxins?
First of all, the consumption of genetically modified—or GM—foods concerning health risks posed to the human body has never been tested. BUT, other studies conducted on animals such as pigs, cows, and chickens consuming GMOs have revealed that there are, in fact, related health problems. Furthermore, even further studies have shown that GMOs are dangerous to the environment.
Would you be shocked to know that GM foods are not always labeled as such? Unlike 60+ countries worldwide, the United States does not require food producers to market their products as GMOs. Instead, these modified foods can be passed as food harvested or produced naturally when that isn’t the case.
And even worse, the pesticides used to alter the organisms are known to kill most, if not all, of the nutrients found in food. So that green pepper you bought to add nutrients to your salad may not be doing you any good at all. If it is a GMO, you might as well think of it as a filler or even an embellishment on your dish.
But GMOs aren’t just found in the produce section. You can find genetically modified foods wall to wall in the grocery store from the meat and deli department to the dairy aisle and even in the frozen foods section. I know, crazy!
Look for organic, homegrown foods and those produced by local farmers. You may want to consider buying your produce from a farmer’s market or road stand instead of the local supermarket. If you are still unsure, your best bet will always be to choose foods labeled as Non-GMO Verified. Now that is a tip you can never go wrong with. The good news, though, is that you can avoid GMOs as long as you are vigilant about reading the nutritional labels and ingredients list. My rule of thumb—and this should go for any food item even if you don’t suspect it is a GMO—is to read the ingredients list thoroughly. If it is lengthy and chock full of ingredients you don’t recognize as a whole food, it is probably best to choose another item.
Q: BUT I don’t want to give up the occasional Doritos binge or my favorite restaurant; what can I do?
A: Here’s the scoop. All we can do is try our best. But, first, give yourself a break—processed food is addictive by taste. It is deliberately designed that way! The key is not to be too hard on yourself but instead learn how to counter some of the effects of pesticides, GMO foods, preservatives, and all those unpronounceable words on the ingredient list.
Luckily for you, you don’t have to look far. Our next blog will reveal a secret weapon in our arsenal—along with some simple things you can do to counter food stressors on the body. So stay tuned and check back often for more great tips and tricks to leading a healthy and vital life!
For any questions on this topic, acupuncture, functional medicine, or healthy eating habits, give us a call at 714-962-5031.