What’s the Deal with GMOs?


     I have just started a new six-week session of my detoxification program, From Fatigued to Fantastic. As part of this program I educate the class members about the various toxins they may be ingesting through food as well as in other ways. One topic we consider is GMO foods.

     What does GMO mean?

     The acronym GMO stands for genetically modified organism. There are a number of foods that have been genetically engineered that are in widespread use in the U.S. Virtually all (80-93%) conventionally grown corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beet, zucchini and yellow squash are from genetically modified seeds. These plants have been genetically modified to be glyphosate-resistant, which means farmers can spray the plants with this herbicide, the weeds will die and the wanted crop will live. In addition to these GMO foods, conventionally grown wheat, some other grains, beans, sunflowers and hemp are also commonly sprayed with glyphosate just before harvest to kill weeds and make harvesting easier.

     What is the problem with GMO foods?

     According to Thierry Vrain, a retired genetic engineer, the problem with GMO foods is not the genetic engineering technology, but instead with the herbicide glyphosate that is used (trade name Roundup). Roundup is supposed to be safe for humans but it kills bacteria and plants. As little as 1 ppm of glyphosate will kill beneficial bacteria in the gut of animals. It is also an endocrine disruptor, and it can severely damage our human gut microbiome. Because wheat, soy, corn, sugar or canola is in virtually every conventional processed food available and over 60% of the average American’s diet is processed food, this may be one reason for the huge increase in food allergies, sensitivities and autoimmune diseases. All of these conditions are adversely affected by damage to the gut bacteria.

     Is glyphosate safe?

     While the U.S. government and Monsanto still claim that GMO foods and glyphosate are safe, other countries are not so sure. Last year the World Health Organization had an international team of scientists review some agricultural chemicals, including glyphosate. Their verdict was that glyphosate was a probable carcinogen.

     If I want to avoid glyphosate in my foods, what should I do?

     The best thing to do is avoid processed foods, which we all should do anyway for our ideal health. In addition, you should purchase products in the store that are labeled USDA Certified Organic. Certified organic crops cannot be sprayed with glyphosate at any stage in the growing process. They also not allowed to be genetically engineered. Certified organic meat, eggs and dairy livestock are fed 100% organic feed. When purchasing from a local farmer make sure that they follow organic farming practices even if they are not certified.

For more information about GMO foods and glyphosate you can read the article linked here or watch Dr. Vrain’s TedX talk, linked here.

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