How often do you see “NON-GMO” on a package? Typically this is something food companies are very proud of if they can make this claim. Many people say “Saying non-gmo is just marketing!” But is that really the case? I think it’s so much more than that.
I will say, in the pursuit of purity when it comes to diet, I am all about forgoing GMOs. I do not believe foods should be made in a lab and I don’t believe DNA should be tampered with.
Let’s get into the truth about GMOs and answer some common questions.
What are GMOs?
GMO stands for GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM. As a three-letter phrase, we can think of this in three parts.
1. Genetically means GENES. Genes are made up of our DNA (which is a helix) and this is basically a manual for how cells will grow and develop. It is our body’s road map.
2. Modified implies there is a change or a tweak to something already in existence.
3. Organism can refer to ALL living things. Plants, bacteria, fungi, etc.
Essentially, it is messing up the DNA of something already perfect and of the earth, and tweaking it to be something different. Genetically modified organisms are living beings that have had a switch, a tweak, or a change in their DNA coding. Typically it is a tiny tweak of one cell but can have a BIG impact on the living organism.
Institute for Responsible Technology says this about GMOs: “A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process of either taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic (transgenic organisms), or altering the sequence of genes within the same species (gene editing). This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.”
GM is gene editing. It is all based on obsolete information and theory-- Those in the GMO arena simply just hope for the best and are, in a way, trying to play God. For many reasons, I am against it.
Things that are typically GMO these days: Corn, papaya, potato, soy, sugar beets, etc. You can find non-gmo of course, but the vast majority is not.
The list of GMO foods is long.
How long have GMOs been around? GMOs have been around for about 25 years. DNA was discovered in the 1950s. GMOs started decades later. (Source)
Are GMOs safe?
Another question is, “Are GMOs bad?”... We should look at it like this: We still don’t know what it means to put something in the human body that was not fully 100% in its original DNA state. I am absolutely convinced that GMO foods are NOT safe for the body. It is too big of a risk, a gamble. We do have studies that are showing GMOs should be approached with caution.
Big countries like Japan, Australia, and the UK have BANNED GMOs… and yet America is out here leaving things unlabeled. America tries to conceal conceal conceal instead of being transparent about their farming. The truth is, sometimes we do not even KNOW if we are eating something that is very much a GMO. It has gotten that bad.
There are even new antibiotic-resistant strains that could potentially harm human health because if we have a problem with these foods and antibiotics don’t work with them, what are we going to do? It’s also not in line with nature to simply inject genes into something to make it antibiotic-resistant. (Source)
Another challenge with GMO crops is that they can come with a lot of problems, like not being able to withstand a drought (sometimes) and having to use WAY more pesticides than it would in its natural state.
What comes along with GMO foods could be potential new levels of toxins, allergens, and carcinogens. This is not okay. Our bodies are already so burdened with toxins that do not belong in our system, why would we create something that adds to more of that?
One study looked at the inside of rats after consuming a ton of GMOs and they found chronic waste and deteriorating organs inside. However, we still need more testing. For something as big as GMOs, we must ask ourselves-- why ISN’T there more testing? What are they trying to cover up?
What are the negative effects of GMOs?
GMO risks are there. The problem of GMO is what it represents. What it means for agriculture and farming and the original plants and also our health as a society.
The most common crops that have been modified have been made to be impervious to herbicides. Herbicides kill plants. GMO makes it so these plants are immune. Basically, GMO is a license to drown our fields in herbicides and create these desert fields. It makes it so what was once this beautiful, nutrient-dense soil is now devoid of true life. This hurts agriculture all over the world! Healthy soil = nutrient-dense foods! GMOs are killing our soil, therefore, killing our nutritious fresh food supply!
It makes it so future plants (if they can even grow) are now swimming in these toxic fields and those plants make their way onto our plates, NOT in their purest form. When produce starts to lack vitamins and minerals, more supplementation will be needed. To be closest to nature is best when it comes to nutrition, and GMOs are stripping us away from this.
Why GMOs are bad for the environment
Another aspect to think about is GMOs and the environment. This also goes into why GMOs are controversial. The food deserts. The increase in pesticides. This is wreaking havoc on our soil and our health.
I would like to leave you with this quote on GMOs and the environment. It is from environment pioneers Garden Organic:
“Proponents of GM argue the Roundup-resistant engineered crop leads to cheaper and simpler weed management for farmers, it reduces tillage (and therefore carbon loss) and that it does not harm the environment or our health (believing glyphosate to be safer than other herbicides). Critics of GM dispute this. They recognise the terrible damage to the life forms surrounding the crops: the risk to beneficial insects such as pollinators, the residues left in the soil, and the run off into fresh water sources such as rivers and streams. But there is also the potential health risk for humans and animals who consume the herbicide-treated crops.”
What chemicals are used in GMOs?
Unfortunately, there are many. One of the biggest ones is referred to as RoundUp. It is used to kill weeds without killing the crops. Roundup is often paired with glyphosate which can be horrible for your health. These are the biggest ones we need to worry about.
RoundUp (which actually is glyphosate-based, paired with many other chemicals) and Glyphosate as it stands on its own, are often in many lawsuits and are associated with Monsanto.
Many big corporations who benefit from the use of glyphosate are willing to pay big money to see these lawsuits (which often point to cancer) go away. Human Rights Watch said this:
“German chemical company Bayer will pay up to $10.9 billion to settle tens of thousands of cancer claims linked to one of its herbicides, Roundup, in one of the largest-ever settlements in United States civil litigation. The weed-killer Roundup is glyphosate-based and, despite international concerns over the health risks of glyphosate, still used widely in the US.”
What is sad is that even our ANIMALS can start being thought of GMO as so many of them now graze on GMO crops. We are what we eat! Also, more reason to activate for a plant-based lifestyle but that’s another topic.
While farmers and scientists will tell us that GMOs are safe, the only feeding study showed that these GMOs could survive the stomach and GI tract. THAT’S IT. And no other studies have been done.
Allergies are popping up left and right alongside the rise of GMOs. There are many articles (a lot of them now retracted) that talk about herbicides and cancer links. A big theory is that big money was spent to get these studies retracted because they could be detrimental to Big AG (which is all for GMO) and it’s a shame because the science was so strong.
However, there are still standing studies that show that roundup/glyphosate can lead to various diseases.
How can GMOs benefit farmers and consumers?
I do think this should be mentioned as I see both sides of the coin, although I choose to align with ONLY one. Of course, people have reasons for doing what they do, but when evidence points to something being so damaging, we have to ask-- when is enough, enough?
Scientists created these organisms to get specific desired outcomes. For example, Apples wouldn’t brown when exposed to air. And rice that contains beta-carotene to help countries that were deficient in Vitamin A.
Many people believe GMOs help fight global hunger by making it so it’s easier to grow food- and quicker too. Some studies have even suggested that farmers need to use fewer pesticides for some of their crops if their crops are GMO. But for the most part, pesticide use has increased.
Some GMOs can help crops that are often killed by disease before they can even be harvested- for example, the papaya. It’s a major cash crop in Hawaii so it could devastate them if they were unable to produce it.
Negative effects of GMOs on human health
There have been some small studies that suggest GMO crops are not as nutrient-dense as conventional crops- but these are often dispelled by claiming it is the soil and not the GMO. The counter argument would be-but the GMO ruins the soil!
Concerns exist around allergenic proteins on these crops. And there are of course concerns around glyphosate buildup in the body leading to cancer and other diseases!
Integrative Oncologists often say that they see an increase of glyphosate in the body when they look at cancer patients. This needs to be taken seriously.
Some suspect that GMOs can lead to superbugs- bacteria-resistant bugs that are resistant to drugs. Remember how we talked about antibiotic-resistant GMOs? This also ties into it. If these superbugs were to affect us, we wouldn’t have a defense if our body could not handle it. Also, superbugs could mean even more destruction to the environment.
We don’t know anything yet about the long-term effects and GMOs as they have only been around since the 1990s. But it is quite alarming there have been no clinical trials yet.
Pros and Cons of GMOs
I know we all like a list! So I would make it this.
1. Roundup and Glyphosate have been linked thousands of times to cancer
2. GMOs can cause superbugs
3. GMOs have no data so we do not know how safe they are
4. GMOs are destroying soil 5. It is essentially playing God and not natural
“Pros” for GMOs have been manipulated and disputed. The only real motivation behind GMO crops is money. This industry is built on myths and propaganda. As the Institute for Responsible Technology says, “Genetically modified crops and foods are neither safe nor necessary to feed the world.”
Because I avoid roundup and glyphosate, because I am against toying with nature… because I am for the environment and healthy soil: I am against GMOs in my diet and I do think it is something other cancer patients should consider as well. I believe organic farming is best.
What are your thoughts?