About the Buzz
You have probably heard some buzz about GMOs, which stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. Recently, Whole Foods mandated its suppliers must label all products containing GMOs by 2018, and the Girl Scouts are petitioning the makers of their cookies to ban GMO ingredients from their products. Chipotle restaurants banned GMO foods from their ingredients in 2015. So what exactly are GMOs, and why should you care?
Here, There and Everywhere
Genetically modified organisms have been manipulated by genetic engineering to change their fundamental DNA structure. Foods are often modified to enhance taste, improve resistance to pests and disease, withstand the rigors of shipping, and increase shelf life. GMOs are widely prevalent in our food supply, and have invaded every genre of crop, dairy product and animal. Almost all processed foods, unless otherwise labeled, have ingredients that are genetically modified. Ranchers and dairy farmers feed their livestock GMOs, which are passed on to you when you eat them. Fresh produce, fish and poultry are not immune from GMOs.
Given their prevalence in our food supply, most consumers assume that GMOs are safe to eat. So why should we avoid GMO foods? In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) stated that, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified food…” Risks to human health include infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. To learn more about GMOs’ health risks to humans, you can download a free brochure from the Institute for Responsible Technology.
In Europe genetically modified foods must be labeled, and are easy to avoid. But in the United States and Canada, labeling of GMOs is not required. Recently, the US Congress voted on a bill which critics labeled The DARK Act, standing for Deny Americans the Right to Know. The bill would have allowed food manufacturers to hide GMO ingredients. The Bill passed in the House but was defeated in the Senate.
How to Dodge GMOs
Here are some pointers on avoiding GMO foods:
- Educate yourself on which products are most likely to be genetically modified. Soybeans, corn, wheat, sugar, canola, papayas, zucchini and baked goods typically contain GMOs.
- Buy only foods that are labeled 100 percent organic.
- Buy local, from local farmers who do not mass-produce huge crops.
Grow your own, using organic seeds and organic soil.
- Eat only organic free range grass-fed beef and poultry.
- Eat only wild-caught fish.
- Filter your drinking water with a quality filter.
If you want more information about avoiding GMO foods, you can download a free copy of the “Non-GMO Shopping Guide” from the Institute for Responsible Technology.
Nutrition knowledge is fundamental to good health, physical performance and weight management. Yet much of the information we hear about nutrition can be misleading and confusing. W.I.T.S. offers nutrition courses that can lay the foundation for your healthy lifestyle journey. Enroll in Nutritional Concepts, Sport and Exercise Nutrition, or the Certified Personal Trainer course to enhance your knowledge and understanding of this important topic.
Institute for Responsible Technology: Non-GMO Shopping Guide.
Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.