Not everyone is familiar with GMO. People don’t know what it means and what its side effects are. Well, you’re in for a surprise. More than likely, we are taking in GMO food every single day. And we should be alarmed.
What Is GMO Food
GMO means “genetically modified organisms.” These are organisms that have changes introduced into their DNA via genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome using biotechnology. It allows the introduction of new traits into an organism.
Scientists and biochemists combine genes from plants, animals, bacteria, and viral gene pools. This creates crossbreeds of unique crops.
History of GMO Food
Crops have been modified for thousands of years. Even in the prehistoric times, humans have already been tinkering with food and their genes. They strove to improve crops’ satisfaction to humans, durability, and resistance to disease and pests.
Over the years, humans have been molding crops into things that would never survive without the care of humans. Plants that we know now are a far cry from the plants they were back in the day. Back then, they were left untouched and unmodified.
During the 1970s, two US biochemists developed a technique that allowed DNA to be cut in certain places. These were then attached to the DNA of other organisms. Modern biotechnology is born. Later, biotechnology became commercialized. Companies started to experiment with inserting genes from one species to another.
In the present day, there is still much debate about GMO food. Though the FDA has listed them as safe, some are still wary with consuming GMO food. Some fear that eventually, there will be harmful consequences to humans.
Top GMO Food to Avoid
This may surprise you, but there are over 142 different types of genetically modified corn. This is the most of any plant species. Because of genetic modification, this corn creates its own insecticide. Monsanto, an American agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation, has revealed that half of the United States’s sweet corn farms are using genetically modified seed.
Thanks to genetic modification, soy now resists herbicides. Its products include tofu, soy beverages, soy flour, and soybean oil. Other products include baked products and edible oil.
Genetically modified soy is in animal feed and in soybean oil. Many restaurant chains use soybean oil. Processed food contains this oil as well. It also produces soy lecithin. This emulsifier is present in many processed food, like dark chocolate bars and candy.
The cotton plant resists pesticides as well. Cottonseed oil is from genetically modified cotton. This oil is for frying in fast-food restaurants and is also in packaged food. Potato chips, oily spreads (like butter and margarine), even cans of smoked oysters are some examples.
Some parts of the cotton plant are also used to create food fillers (such as cellulose). They are also in animal feed.
The papayas that we munch on, we get them from the beautiful island of Hawaii. Genetically modified papaya was introduced to the papaya plantations there in 1999. This type of papayas can withstand the ringspot virus.
At present, this GMO food covers about one thousand hectares of land.
Zucchini and Yellow Squash
These vegetables resist pathogens and certain types of fungi. In the United States, six varieties of this virus-resistant GMO food is sold. However, the number of these genetically modified vegetables are quite small as compared to other GMO food available in the country.
This is a very controversial vegetable. First, they gained approval in 2005. Then in 2010, USDA banned sugar beets. Finally, in 2012, the USDA officially deregulated them.
More than half of the granulated sugar production in the United States come from genetically modified sugar beets. Because of engineering, these beets resist glyphosates (weed killers).
Genetically modified canola oil basically produces cooking oil. Margarine also comes from this GMO food. In addition, it also produces emulsifiers. Emulsifiers are food additives that stabilize food products. Processed food have emulsifiers.
Its genetically modified form gained approval in 1996. And as of 2006, it was estimated that around 90 percent of Canada’s and the United States’s canola crops are genetically modified.
In the United States milk industry, it’s quantity over quality. Cows receive rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone). This forces the cows to increase the amount of milk produced by 15 percent. Poor cows.
The milk from these engineered cows contains increased levels of IGF-1 (insulin growth factors-1). Studies show there is a connection between high levels of IGF-1 in humans and breast cancer and colon cancer.
Take note that many countries ban the use of rBGH. These include Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and the European Union.
Corn starch has a number of uses. First, in cooking, it is a thickener for sauces, yogurt, and gravy. In baked goods, it gives structure to the pastries and adds fullness and moisture to them. Finally, in fried food, it provides a light and crispy texture to the batter.
But corn starch is one of the unhealthy ingredients we should avoid.
To start, corn starch is from a GMO food—corn. Corn starch offers absolutely no nutritional value. It is also an additive in may different products. It’s a processed food. Processed food creates digestive problems.
We all love our condiments. They make bland food taste better. We love our dashes of ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, ranch dressing, sour cream, and also barbecue sauce.
But did you know these tabletop staples are GMO food? They contain high-fructose corn syrup (from genetically modified corn), sugar (from genetically modified sugar beets), and also genetically modified soybean oil. In addition, they have harmful preservatives and additives.
Aspartame is a synthetic low-calorie sweetener in many diet soft drinks, food, and also supplements. Many people who are weight conscious opt to use this instead of regular table sugar.
Metabolic waste products of bacteria produces aspartame. That’s right. The fecal matter of bacteria. And according to the EPA, aspartame also causes neurotoxicity. In addition, recent research shows high carcinogenic effects from the consumption of this GMO food. Not to mention its possible role in non-Hodgkins lymphomas and leukemia.