I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on genetically modified ingredients. It appears in our zeal to outsmart our Creator, we’ve pushed an increasing number of unhealthy creations into the mainstream. I believe genetically modified organisms (GMOs) fall into this category.
GMOs are the result of laboratory processes which artificially insert foreign genes into the DNA of food crops or animals. Those genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Although banned by food manufacturers in Europe and elsewhere, the FDA does not require any safety evaluations. Most Americans say they would not eat GMOs if labeled, but the U.S. does not require labeling. GMOs are not safe, but have been in the food supply since 1996 and are now present in the vast majority of processed foods in the U.S. Genetically modified foods are linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals. (Source: Institute for Responsible Technology)
The bottom line, GMOs are bad for our health. They also deplete our soil of nutrients, they cause a staggering amount of health problems for the little animals they’ve been tested on and they are bad for our environment.
How do we avoid GMOs? This is where it gets a little tricky. Since the U.S. doesn’t require GMO labeling, we need to arm ourselves with knowledge to avoid these ingredients. Thankfully, the folks at the Institute for Responsible Technology have put together a Non-GMO Shopping Guide. Download a free copy and have it with you when you’re making your grocery shopping list.
The Institute for Responsible Technology also gives us four tips for avoiding GMOs:
- Buy organic.
- Look for “non-GMO” labels.
- Avoid At-Risk Ingredients. If it’s not labeled organic, avoid products made with the “Big Four” GM crops: corn, soybeans, canola and cottonseed, used in processed foods. Also, more than 50% of Hawaiian papaya is GM and a small amount of zucchini and yellow squash. Also, become familiar with the Institute for Responsible Technology’s list of invisible GM ingredients and avoid sugar from GM Sugar Beets.
- Buy products listed in the Non-GMO Shopping Guide and learn to recognize the most common GM ingredients.
Corn: Corn flour, meal, oil, starch, gluten and syrups. Sweeteners such as fructose (like high fructose corn syrup), dextrose and glucose. Modified food starch.
Soy: Soy flour, lecithin, protein, isolate and isoflavone. Vegetable oil and vegetable protein.
Canola: Canola oil (also called rapeseed oil).
Cotton: Cottonseed oil.
Sugar: Avoid anything not listed as 100% cane sugar. GM beet sugar recently entered the food supply. To avoid it, look for organic and non-GMO sweeteners, candy and chocolate made with 100% cane sugar, evaporated cane juice or organic sugar.
Aspartame: The artificial sweetener also known as NutraSweet and Equal, which is derived from GM microorganisms. You also find this in a lot of gums and mints.
What are your thoughts about genetically modified ingredients? Do you actively avoid them?