The term GMO is tossed around a lot these days, especially in the healthy food world. What is a GMO and why are more and more people saying we need to avoid them?
GMO’s are genetically modified organisms and they are made by combining DNA (genes) from different organisms. I think this technology is fascinating and has lots of exciting applications, particularly in medicine, but in our food is NOT one of them!
At a molecular level, our body absorbs the GMO’s that we eat in our food. These GMO’s can do all sorts of things inside our bodies that we have almost no knowledge about. For example, a recent article from Discover Magazine explains how mRNA from rice negatively affects our cholesterol levels. In essence, mRNA in cells from rice lowered receptor levels in our cells that, in turn, increased our LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Who knew? This example is only the tip of the iceburg in terms of the effect genetically modified foods are having on our DNA.
Why the push for GMO’s? Among other things, proponents of genetically modified foods say that genetic engineering will increase crop yield and be the solution to the world’s hunger problems. A heartbreaking article in the Huffington Post reveals just the opposite as it tells the story of how over 200,000 Indian farmers have commited suicide because of crop failure due to GE seeds.
70% of our processed foods now contain GMO’s. To avoid GMO’s, look for a GMO-free label or buy organic. I have started buying only organic bread, for example, because SO much of the wheat grown in the US is genetically modified. Thankfully, Costco has a great organic sprouted wheat bread – check it out if you live near a Costco!
You can influence change in a couple of key ways. We vote with our dollars, so each time you choose a GMO-free product, you’re sending a message to the corporations that you want GMO-free food! Various non-profits are waging war on the food industry by campaigning for truth-in-labeling and for keeping our organic foods GMO-free! Sign these petitions and email your Congressional representatives, sharing your views and opinions on your food supply. We can make a difference together!