Man has been manipulating our natural food sources since the beginning of time in grand attempts to enhance nature and create the perfect crops and foods. Prior to genetically modifying food products, scientists began crossing plant varieties in the early 1900s in order to grow heartier, weather and drought-resistant crops.
- By the 1950’s, scientists began splicing the genes and DNA of seeds from one to another to make the “perfect” plant for consumption by humans and animals alike.
- By 1982, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first product for consumers developed through bioengineering.
- By 1992, the FDA states that genetically engineered foods are not “inherently dangerous” and therefore special regulation is not necessary.
The debate on the hazards and benefits of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) continues as man persists in mutating our natural food sources, negating the nutritional value, and subsequently creating “Frankenfood” for the American public. Webster defines “frankenfood” as genetically engineered food. (Franken = Frankenstine – food)
Today GMOs are altered or mutated unnaturally for several reasons including but not limited to creating foods that have:
Many studies and organizations currently estimate that approximately 70% or more of all processed foods now contain genetically modified ingredients.
Wheat for example has been influenced by human intervention since the dawn of agriculture. Well-intentioned farmers produced interspecies wheat varieties through cross-pollination for the purposes of creating the perfect wheat variety that would flourish, quickly, in a variety of harsh environments.
The seeds that produce our wheat, soy, and corn are now “pesticide-prepared” or “roundup-ready” whereby a gene has been inserted into the plant to defend itself against weed sprays. The weeds around it will die and the plant foods will remain hearty. As a doctor who understands how the immune system works, it sounds like these plants have been immunized.
Imagine the tremendous repercussions on your health from putting these genetically modified food into your body day in and day out. Most recently a study appeared in the journal Reproductive Toxicology: Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modiﬁed foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec. The study proved that the genetically modified foods and organisms led to a consequential rise in statistics for childhood allergies, ADD, ADHD, diabetes and obesity.
So, the truth about our Frankenfood industry is that the majority of our food has been manipulated to such extremes that have resulted in creating a nation of obese, people who are in pain from inflammation, and suffer from cancer, high blood pressure, heart dis-ease, diabetes, asthma, allergies, Alzheimer’s, and numerous other immune deficient and chronic illnesses. Many large companies providing GMO foods like Monsanto, Nestle, Pepsi and General Mills.
GMOs are commonly found in the following processed foods:
Of course, many people and organizations fight for the benefits of GMO. They cite the ability to grow more food faster on less land as a necessity for our growing population. Developing heartier plants through mutating and engineering nature ensures more bountiful crops with less loss due to drought, degraded soil, pesticides and the insurance of longer shelf life to reduce waste.
It is vital to note however that GMOs are banned or restricted in the following countries to date: Algeria, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, Japan, Philippines, The European Union, Norway, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Luxembourg, Portugal, Brazil, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, and Peru. Five states within the US are also banning specific GMOs and GE (genetically engineered) foods. These States include Maryland, North Dakota, Montana, Vermont (Berlington), and Colorado (Boulder).
A two-year study on rats fed diets with GMO Roundup Ready Corn, fed more controlled diets without corn that is not genetically modified and using water that has Roundup added to it at varying levels showed the following results: “Researchers from the University of Caen found that rats fed on a diet containing NK603 – a seed variety made tolerant to amounts of Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer – or given water mixed with the product, at levels permitted in the United States – died earlier than those on a standard diet.” The study also revealed, “Fifty percent of male and 70 percent of female rats died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group, said the researchers.”
As the debate continues as to whether food manufacturers are required to label our food as being of GMO origin, as well as how far the manipulation will go, it’s best to avoid packaged, canned, frozen, fast foods whenever possible! Look for labels that say “100% organic,” “organic” or “made with organic ingredients.” Look for the Non-GMO Project Seals and avoid all at-risk ingredients! If it’s not labeled organic or verified non-GMO, I recommend you avoid the product!
Some GMO food crops are Corn, Soybeans, Canola, Cottonseed, Sugar Beets, Hawaiian Papaya (most) and a small amount of Zucchini and Yellow Squash. In the US, sugar can be a combination of sugar can and GM sugar beets!
To further complicate matters, dairy products may come from cows that have been injected with genetically modified growth hormone so this is another reason of many to avoid dairy from cows!
Hint: Pay attention to those sticky PLU labels on fruit, vegetables, herbs, and nuts too. The numbering system on these insightful little labels is divided into three classes: conventional, organic, and genetically modified.
- The four-digit coded produce is raised conventionally which means it carries the burden of pesticides and is grown in soils that have been stripped of the nutrients necessary to grow nutrient rich foods.
- The five-digit numbed produce beginning with 8 means the fruit is a GM food and simply no longer natural.
- The five-digit numbers beginning with 9 means the fruit was grown to organic standards and maintains its natural genetic structure.
You may have heard of the Non-GMO Project. A group of retailers motivated to support clear labeling in the US. They are a third party organization that offers their seal to any company who goes through their testing, independently verifying that in fact the packaged product is non-genetically modified. This label is not used widely yet, but I believe it will. The public is smarter than the food industry thinks. Without revealing which grocery store gave the information to me, I’d like to share that they believe “mainstream marketing has to remain “neutral” and not having seals of approval. It confuses people”.
I recommend you buy your food fresh, from local organic farmers, plant a garden, share with neighbors, and speak up for labeling our foods with the truth of what we are purchasing and eating.
Farmers Markets Resource List
(Please note that this is the most current information. Call contact prior to attending.
Dr. Theresa Ramsey is a practicing physician, speaker, lifestyle expert, author of the best selling book, Healing 101: A Guide to Creating the Foundation for Complete Wellness, and a weekly guest expert on Arizona’s top morning show, Your Life A to Z. Dr. Ramsey has been nominated Phoenix Magazine’s Top Doc for two years in a row and recently selected as an eHow.com health expert, as well as the 2012 Natural Choice Award winning Naturopathic Physician. As a nationally recognized speaker, she elegantly bridges the gap between Allopathic and Naturopathic medicine educating patients & physicians on the language of wellness and root causes to illness & dis-ease.