Change #10: Avoid Genetically Modified Foods
In order to make crops more resistant to disease, weeds and pest, more tolerant to drought and cold weather and more nutritious, many have been genetically modified. Genetically Modified (GM) Food has been unnaturally altered by inserting genetic fragments (DNA) from one organism to another. According to the World Health Organization, the inserted DNA is usually from a different species. The genes can be taken from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals and even humans.
Other than the fact that we are not eating food in it's true form, why avoid foods that have been genetically modified? According to the Academy of Environmental Medicine, "GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health and are without benefit." Just last month, The Huffington Post wrote of a study linking GM food to organ failure.
But beyond the food we eat, there is a serious impact to the environment. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) outlines the environmental impacts to include an "uncontrolled biological pollution, threatening numerous microbial, plant and animal species with extinction, and a potential contamination of all non-genetically engineered life forms with novel and possibly hazardous genetic material."
There are many GM foods, but five account for the highest volume of food and food ingredients. The CFS reports that "currently, up to 85 percent of US corn is genetically engineered as are 91 percent of soybeans and 88 percent of cotton (cottonseed oil is used in food products)." Canola is one of the top five, and newly added is sugar beets. Some examples of these GMO products:
Corn - corn flour, meal, oil, starch & syrup, sweetners (fructose, glucose), modified food starch
Soy - soy flour, lecithin, vegetable oil, soy beverages, tofu
Cotton - cottonseed oil
Canola - canola oil
Sugar Beets - any sweetener not labeled 100% cane sugar, evaporated cane juice or organic sugar
Unless the product package specifies that the food is non-GMO, then you can assume that if it has one of these ingredients, then it's been genetically modified. The best list of GMO crops I've found is on DisabledWorld.com. Here's an incredible Non-GMO Shopping Guide. It lists products by brands, includes brands that do use GMO ingredients and lists a ton of "hidden" GMO ingredients.
Here are a few more links if you want to do a little more reading.
State-Of-The-Science On The Health Risks of GM Foods paper is one of the best sources of information that I've come across. It's published by the Institute of Responsible Technology. Starting on Page 9, there is a several pages devoted to the link between the rise in food allergies and GM foods, particularly the impact of GM soy and the rise of peanut allergies
Say No To GMOs!