GMOs: What’s the Real Deal?

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About 80% of US processed foods have at least one ingredient with a genetically modified food product like cornstarch, high-fructose corn syrup, or canola oil. The most common GMO (genetically modified organism) foods are corn and soy. Just read most labels and you’ll see some form of corn, soy or other genetically modified food in the product.

What is a Genetically Modified Food and How are Foods Genetically Modified?

When something is genetically modified, genes from one organism are transferred to the nucleus of another organism. This causes the cell to produce new proteins that are unfamiliar to the organism receiving the new material. It’s one of the reasons why someone would develop a food allergy or food sensitivity, which can show itself as a skin reaction, respiratory or circulatory system reaction and so much more. 

GMOs are Fed to Our Livestock and Passed On to Us

GMO is big business. GMO corn-based animal fodder (food, especially dried hay that is given to cattle and other livestock) is fed to the animal. GMO organisms have strong allergenic properties so the animal eats the fodder, we then eat the animal and struggle with the impact of ingesting these chemicals that the animal ate. So basically, we don’t just eat the animal, we eat what the animal ate too.

Potential Problems We Face When Eating GMOs

Studies show that GMO increases the risk of activating tumor-forming processes. Many cows are eating genetically modified foods as well as given hormones, etc. so they can grow bigger, gain weight faster and as a result, produce more and cheaper meat. It was found that IGF-1 factor (insulin-like growth factor-1) rises among those who consume cows fed genetically modified foods. A rise in IGF-1 is known to be related to lung, breast, and colon tumors.

A study done by researcher Pusztai showed that genetically modified potatoes increase expression of lectin, an anti-nutrient that protects plants but isn’t good for us. Here’s why.

As animals have their own means of protection (skunks have their spray, snakes have venom, cats have claws, etc.) lectin is a type of protein the plant has to protect itself from invasion. Lectin in the diet is linked with intestinal damage, reduced absorption of nutrients, minerals, and proteins. It also destroys intestinal microbiota, making the gut more susceptible to pathogens and bacteria.

Lectin is also associated with leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that regulates hunger and maintains energy balance. Lectin interferes with this process and creates a problem with the way leptin works within the body, which can lead to leptin resistance. When we’re leptin resistant, we can experience inflammation, uncontrollable appetite, and decreased energy expenditure.

GMO and Fatty Acid Composition in Meat

A research team observed how the fatty acid composition of meat changes based on what is being fed to the animals. In one study, a group of researchers studied the meat composition of 1,298 Piemontese young bulls that were fed on many farms. The study found that the animals fed maize and commercial-based concentrates had at least three times more fat content than normal-fed bulls. To make matters worse, these toxins are stored in the fat tissues, so commercially fed animals have a higher fat concentration with toxins stored within the tissue.

What Can We Do?

Read your labels and do your best to say no to GMO foods and ingredients, while opting for whole, nutrient dense, real food. Think about it –  the healthiest foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t even have a label!

Also, the fewer ingredients a product has, the better. Choose products that remain as close to their most natural form as possible, choose protein sources that were fed what the animal was meant to consume, and choose food sources that were harvested from the environment it was designed to thrive in.

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February 2023