Choosing what foods to eat can be confusing. And marketing tricks used by American companies can be deceptive!
What is GMO food?
GMOs are foods that have been genetically modified by splicing the DNA of a different food or organism into its DNA. This creates a mutant plant or animal- salmon have started to be genetically modified, as have certain mosquitos. We have no idea what introducing these mutants into our environment will cause to happen to us and our food chain. In my opinion, this is a scary experiment! GMOs entered our food supply in the mid-1990s. As the years have passed, greater numbers of these foods continue to be approved. There are two main kinds of GMO foods, plus a category of modifications specific to a particular crop.
The first type of GMO is foods that have been modified to withstand the heavier applications of weed killers like Roundup.
These weed killers were originally thought to be harmless to humans because the mechanism they use to kill weeds involves disrupting a metabolic pathway in the weed that does not exist in a human. Only one problem…. The healthy microbes in our gut DO have this pathway. Exposure to these chemicals in our foods is proving to be a huge factor in many health problems, due to the fact that the gut is home to much of our immune system.
This type of GMO includes Soy (used in animal feed, soybean oil in salad dressings and vegetable oils, soy lecithin and tofu), Alfalfa (used in animal feed), Canola (used in cooking oils, margarine, and packaged foods), Cotton (cottonseed oil is used in restaurants for frying, snack chips, margarine, animal feed, and the filler cellulose), Maize (used in animal feed, high fructose corn syrup, and corn starch), and Sugar Beet (over 50% of sugar in the US comes from GMO sugar beets, so chances are your favorite candies and baked goods contain GMO sugar).
The second type of GMO is foods which have been modified to contain a biological toxin that kills any insect which takes a bite by exploding their stomach. Think what this can do to your gut!! It has been shown that this biological toxin acts in our gut for several weeks after eating a food that it has been spliced into. This is why I bring my own organic corn chips when I eat at a Mexican restaurant.
This type of GMO includes Corn (eaten as a veggie, grain, corn oil, corn starch, corn syrup, and used in animal feed), Cotton (cottonseed oil is used in restaurants for frying, snack chips, margarine, animal feed, and in the filler cellulose), Canola (cooking oil, margarine, salad dressings, packaged foods, snack chips) Most corn, canola and cotton grown in the US is GMO. So when you see that listed on an ingredient list (and it doesn’t say organic or non-GMO) you’re definitely hurting your gut.
The third type of GMO is where more individualized traits are influenced, such as resisting a virus or giving food the appearance of being fresh rather than naturally deteriorating. This type includes squash, papaya, white potato, and apple.
Organic vs GMO
USDA Organic is a label you can count on for both produce and livestock. These foods cannot be GMO and also can not have been grown with pesticides or weed killers. The livestock with this label can not have been fed foods that were GMO or grown with pesticides or weed killers. This is absolutely the type of food you want to eat and feed your loved ones.
Non-GMO labeled foods only mean that they are not genetically modified. They can still be grown with pesticides and weed killers which are harmful to you.
This answers the question, Organic or Non-GMO. Organic is what to look for because it will not contain GMOs, but Non-GMO food can have non-organic ingredients containing pesticides and weed killers like Roundup.
Read the labels on packaged foods carefully, because some of the ingredients might not be organic, even if the package has an organic label.
Remember, marketing can be tricky! Just because it’s labeled gluten-free or non-GMO, doesn’t guarantee you healthy food.
Fortunately, the mighty dollar speaks! The more consumers buy organic at their grocery stores and restaurants, the easier it will be to find and the less expensive it will be. The only reason organic is more expensive is because the government subsidizes farms that grow food conventionally. I hope this has helped you to be more informed so you can make better choices and be healthy!