I hear chatter about GMO’s allllll the time. Frankenfoods, if you will. I’ve heard someone at the grocery store look at a box of granola bars (that were literally loaded with added sugars) and put it back because the label indicated it used some GMO ingredients. Yes…they were terrified of the GMO’s but the cup of added sugar per serving didn’t seem to phase them at all. I was so confused!!!! You see, there’s so much more research on added sugars leading to chronic disease than GMO’s so it got me wondering…what exactly is being said about GMOs to make the average person more terrified of that then the proven fact that too many added sugars can lead to chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer!
While GMO’s seem like weird Frankenstein plants, I want to clear up some misconceptions about them to give you the facts so you can make informed choices when it comes to buying food. I’ll give you the 411 you need and then you can make decisions for yourself and your family. Let’s get controversial!
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. Basically this means that scientists took a plant and changed its DNA to make it what they need it to do/be (resistant to a disease, produce more fruit, resistant to herbicides, etc) in order to have a “better” plant. What happens is they usually combine DNA molecules from other sources in one single molecule for the plant they’re working on. To make it simple: if they want to keep a certain disease from apples, they get a plant that doesn’t get that disease and use it’s genes in the apple. Boom, apple is now resistant to that disease.
Still following me after all that?
In the US there are 11 commercial crops that are GMO. So if you are looking in the grocery store, here’s the GMO’s you could potentially run in to.
- Field corn (corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, cereals, etc)
- Canola (canola oil)
- Alfalfa (used to feed farm animals)
- Soybeans (Silk has a patent on their soybeans which are non-GMO)
- Cotton (cottonseed oil)
- Sugar beets (added sugars in foods NOT the red beets you eat)
- Sweetcorn (corn you eat off of the cob in the summer and canned/frozen)
- Summer squash
SO! When you see a package of rice that says “Non-GMO” and it seems awesome because it wasn’t made with GMO rice, rest assured, there isn’t a GMO rice. They are suckering people into their marketing tactics! When you see a company that says “made with some GMO ingredients” they’ve used one or more of the above foods in their product. Does that make it “bad”? You decide. I can tell you, it makes it genetically modified to be resistant from bugs, pesticides/herbicides, or disease resistant.
An important point I need to make is that cross breeding/selective breeding in plants DOES NOT mean its genetically modified (GMO). Cross breeding or selective breeding has been done since the ancient of days to continue the lines of fruits/veggies/grains/nuts that taste the most delicious and produce the most crop! Seeds were saved from the best plants and continued while the seeds of the worst producers/tasting plants were thrown out. This left us with tomatoes that taste like a dream and cucumbers that are super crunchy and sweet! Heirloom varieties of crops are prime examples of this. Farmers continued to pass down their seeds of the plants they had worked on for generations to be the best and tastiest!
Whats the research on GMOs? Well, honestly, GMO’s have only been available at the grocery store since the 90’s so we don’t have a lot of GOOD/LONG TERM research to give a solid answer. There have been questions about allergens in GMO crops. Much of the “gluten intolerance” pushers say that GMOs are to blame (this is why you need to ask and listen to a Registered Dietitian and not “joe shmoe”) Did you notice the list???? Wheat is not a GMO crop. It literally cannot be the reason people have an increase of sensitivity to gluten…literally can.not. More research needs done on GMO’s clearly, BUT there are no solid research studies that show GMO’s are to blame for any chronic illness, allergy, and/or issues known to man.
Many GMO crops are resistant to herbicides like RoundUp. If you know me you know my absolute hate of RoundUp…it is not allowed near or around my house because of it’s proven cancer causing chemicals. And you’ve guessed it, I’m not a fan of Monsanto either…there. I said it. It is now internet official…if my blog gets turned off, you know why. Hah! Would I prefer that RoundUp be banned like they did in Europe? ABSO.LUTELY! If I can list any con’s of GMO’s the herbicide resistance would be a huge one.
Wanting to steer clear of GMO’s? Go organic! Plant your own garden! Watch what you buy! There are ways to avoid them most of the time.
What do I conclude? I have 5 thoughts about GMO (both pro and cons) for your reading pleasure!
- Many of the GMO crops are used in more heavily processed foods (high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, added sugar, etc). If you start eating less processed more fruits/veggies/grains/homemade items then by default you’ll be eating less GMO crops. Is that good or bad? I dunno BUT there it is!
- I like apples, potatoes, and sweet corn. I take advantage of the fact that some apples don’t brown as fast, I don’t buy potatoes that have rotten spots, and the sweet corn isn’t riddled with worms. Knowing that they are GMO doesn’t stop me from eating them or enjoying them. Can I buy these tasty foods organic? Sure. Do I have the budget for it? Not often. Do I lose sleep over it? Absolutely not!
- I use canola oil all day every day. I could buy organic if I wanted to spend triple the amount of money on it but I choose to continue to use GMO canola and mix in some olive oil too. If organic canola gets cheaper I’d definitely use it (remember the RoundUp-rant? Yeah, Canola is one of those plants) but for now we stick with the regular stuff. It still has omega 3 fatty acids, still great for your heart, and still makes my salad dressings taste like a vinegary dream!
- If it is important for you to steer clear of GMO’s based off of personal beliefs then go for it. Organic produce will be non-GMO. It will be heavy on the budget but it is feasible. Like I said, if I had the budget for it or if organic canola went down in price I’d be buying it simply because of my absolute annoyance of herbicides.
- The last piece of advice I have for you is this: you can live your life as if everything is a conspiracy but what kind of life is that? I’m not saying to trust everything (remember my hatred for RoundUp? hahaha) but I’m saying that if you can’t trust anything, you’re living life worried and in fear instead of in confidence and freedom. If you believe in God and you’ve given your life to Jesus there should be no fear (GMOs included). Again, this is not to say you should believe everything you hear and go out and wrangle poisonous snakes and eat all the bacon you want because you’ve been washed by the blood of Jesus!!!!!!!! Hear me out…it’s to say that you can live your life without fear that everything is out to get you because He who has created the universe has big plans for your life…much bigger than what kind of apples you eat. Understand where I’m coming from? Be informed but be free!
So that is my take on GMO’s. There’s not a ton of research because it is a new science. I will tell you that before a GMO edible plant comes to market, it has been tested for at least 13 years and 5-7 of those years are going through all the regulatory steps. It’s not an easy process and it shouldn’t be if people will be eating them. There have been plants turned down during this process…not all of the fruits/veggies/edibles they have altered make it through. Why do scientists continue to do it? Because there are real farmers who depend on a good crop and people to buy their produce for their livelihood. Because there are real people to feed in the United States and honestly around the world. Because sometimes God gives scientists the knowledge to make our lives better, even if it’s just so that worms don’t eat our corn!
Eat in freedom friends!