GMO’s and How to Avoid Them
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are abundant in North American food products, including meat, fruit, vegetables, grains, breakfast cereals, and hundreds of snack items. GMO’s originate from scientists in genetic engineering laboratories when living organisms including plant, animal, bacterial, and viral genes are altered and manipulated, which eventually end up in the food supply chain.
There is concern about GMO’s and whether they cause long-term health problems. Although it is difficult to avoid all GMO’s, it’s also challenging to know exactly how safe they are and exactly how they affect long-term health. What you can do is reduce your consumption of them by making informed and educated choices.
What are the most common GMOs?
Keep a list of these top GMO sources handy when you visit the grocery store. The most common are:
|▪ Soy||▪ Sugar Beets|
|▪ Cotton||▪ Hawaiian Papaya|
|▪ Canola||▪ Alfalfa|
|▪ Corn||▪ Squash (zucchini and yellow)|
Next, read the package labels. Avoid food products with a multitude of “processed” ingredients such as Amino Acids, Citric Acid, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Maltodextrins, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Xanthan Gum, Soy, and Yeast. These products likely have higher GMO content.
What about Organic, Natural, and Whole Foods?
According to the Organic Trade Association, “The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is prohibited in organic products: an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and organic food manufacturers can’t use any GMO ingredients. To meet the USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t using GMOs, and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances from farm to table.”
“Farm to table” food is gaining popularity in restaurants along with specialty stores and grocery stores that merchandise organic, natural, or whole foods. Consume these products as much as possible.
How to Get Started
Make just one item on your breakfast, lunch, and dinner plate GMO free. Overwhelmed? Start with breakfast until it becomes a good habit. You can also:
|▪ Shop farmers markets||▪ Plant a vegetable garden|
|▪ Buy fresh and organic||▪ Cook bulk grains from scratch|
|▪ Grow an herb garden||▪ Buy organically certified meat and eggs|
Armed with the top GMO sources and more knowledge, you can purchase food with more confidence and reduce GMO’s in your diet.