If you are concerned about GMOs in your food and how it will affect your health, you are not alone. According to a Pew Research study, about half of Americans believe genetically modified foods are bad for their health.
So, what is a GMO?
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living organisms that have had their genes altered in some way. The idea is to improve the quality of the plants or organisms to:
- make them more resistant to pests.
- increase the yield.
- improve the taste.
While some people argue that GMOs offer benefits, such as feeding more people and reducing the use of harmful pesticides, others point to potential risks and health concerns.
Some foods are more likely to contain GMOs than others. For example, around 92 percent of corn and 94 percent of the soybeans grown in the US come from genetically modified seeds.
Do GMOs Affect Your Health?
There are many unknowns about the long-term effects of consuming GMO foods, and some studies suggest that they may have negative consequences. For example, one study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that GMO corn was linked to liver and kidney damage in rats. These studies raise questions about the safety of eating GMOs.
One of the primary reasons for the development of GMO crops is to increase their resistance to pests, which can lead to the use of more pesticides. This can harm the surrounding ecosystem and even create superbugs that are resistant to traditional pesticides.
While it has not been proven in all studies, there’s potential that genetically engineered foods may contribute to health problems such as:
- antibiotic resistance
- loss of nutrients
Tips for Avoiding GMOs
Given these health concerns, many people choose to avoid GMOs in their diet. Here are some tips for healthy eating that can help you steer clear of GMOs:
- Choose organic produce. Organic foods are grown without the use of GMOs or synthetic pesticides. Look for the USDA Organic label on produce and packaged foods to ensure that you are getting organic, non-GMO foods.
- Shop at farmers markets. Local farmers markets often have produce that is grown without GMOs or synthetic pesticides. Plus, you can support local farmers and get fresh, seasonal produce. Check with the farmer to see that their produce is organic.
- Read labels carefully. If you’re buying packaged foods, look for products that are labeled “non-GMO” or “GMO-free.” Since 2022 there is a new food labeling law in the U.S. that replaces the term “GMO foods” with “bioengineered food.” The main difference between the two is that BE foods must contain detectable genetic material that shows up on tests, but many products made with new GMO techniques are untestable, so they don’t require BE labeling. Check out the USDA’s Bioengineered foods list.
- Choose whole foods. Foods that are minimally processed are less likely to contain GMOs. Stick to whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid processed foods. Processed foods often contain corn or soy, which are two of the most common GMO crops. Stick to whole foods to minimize your exposure to GMOs.
- Choose grass-fed meats. Conventionally raised animals are often fed GMO corn and soy, so choosing grass-fed meats can help you avoid GMOs.
- Choose pasture-raised chickens and eggs. Chickens are often fed GMO corn. Check for non-GMO, no corn, no soy on the chicken or eggs you buy.
- Avoid high-risk GMO foods. Some of the most common GMO foods include corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, and cottonseed oil. Avoiding these foods can help you minimize your exposure to GMOs.
If you are concerned about the effect of eating GMOs on your health, get tested by a qualified Nutrition Response Testing® practitioner. Once you know exactly what you need to change and what your body needs so it can start healing itself, you’ll know how best to plan your food.