Are you eating genetically modified foods? Which foods contain genetically modified ingredients or GMOs? How do you know if a food is genetically modified or not? Which foods are natural and which foods were genetically engineered by scientists in a laboratory?
By survey, 92 percent of Americans think that GMO foods should be labeled. It’s clear that people want to know what they are putting in their bodies. Nearly 1.4 million Americans have signed petitions requesting that the FDA require this GMO labeling. But the biotech industry, big agriculture and big food manufacturers don’t want you to know whether or not their foods contain genetically modified ingredients because they’re afraid it’s going to hurt their sales.
The FDA’s refusal to require GMO labeling, despite what the majority of Americans really want, is an example of the FDA just not doing its job. Per the FDA’s own mission statement, they are supposed to protect the health of the people. But in this case, the FDA is clearly protecting the profit interest of big business over the will of the people that it was founded to serve and protect. A good government agency protects the population, not the profits of big business.
Americans eat more GMO foods than any other country in the world several times over. And America also has the highest obesity rate. Now there is a correlation between high consumption of GMO foods and obesity. But likely, that correlation is due to as variety of different factors. One of the main reasons that genetically modified ingredients are linked to weight gain is because the majority of genetically modified ingredients are actually found in junk food.
So which foods are genetically modified? In the U.S, there are currently only nine crops that are deemed genetically modified. That is corn, canola, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets, alfafa, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, and yellow squash. At this time, those are the only foods that you need to worry about but you should recognize that many of these foods are used widely as ingredients in pretty much any processed, pre-packaged junk or fast foods that you might encounter.
Corn and corn derived ingredients are used in more foods than any other crop in the world. That is the high fructose corn syrup in your dressings, sauces, sodas, ice cream, and chewing gum. It’s the corn flower in your corn chips/tortillas, and it’s also the corn oil that many foods are fried in. Corn is also used to make a host of chemical food additives such as xantham gum, modified corn starch, dextrose, citric acid, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
If you order tofu in most restaurants or if you drink soymilk, it’s likely that that’s coming from GMO soybeans. But even if you don’t eat tofu, it’s likely that you have plenty of GMO soy in your diet. Soybean oil is used to cook and fry a whole host of different foods and it can also be found in most salad dressings, mayonnaise, margarine, non-dairy coffee creamers, and if you flip over and read the labels of most processed and pre-packaged foods, you are likely to see soybean ingredients.
Canola and cotton seeds are commonly used as cooking oils. Most of your deep fried fast foods like French fries or fried chicken were likely fried in canola oil or some blend of oils that contain it. This also includes your potato chips, corn chips, and really any chips at all. The most commonly used cooking oils are corn, soybean, cottonseed and canola, all of which are GMOs. Any foods that is cooked in these oils or that contains these oils are all going to be genetically modified foods. The only way to avoid these oils is to purchase organic foods or to buy the natural oils like coconut or olive oil and just prepare these foods yourself.
Sugar beets are used to make table sugar. Your processed, white table sugar which is obviously a huge ingredient in any sweet food such as candies, cakes, or sauces is made from a combination of sugar beets and sugar cane. So if a food label says that the food contains sugar, it is likely genetically modified. The best way to avoid GMO sugar is to buy organic sugar or look for 100% pure cane sugar on the label.
Now, you are probably thinking that practically everything is genetically modified! In fact, about 90% of store-bought pre-packaged foods are genetically modified. GMO ingredients have made their way into almost all processed foods. If the FDA ever does start requiring that GMO foods be labeled, then nearly every food in the center aisle of the grocery store will be labeled GMO.
Your best bet is to shop on the outer aisles of the grocery store, your produce and deli section, buying these ingredients yourself and cooking them at home. You can also purchase organic foods and you can find pre-packaged processed meals that are organic. And while that’s not as good as cooking the foods yourself, you will be able to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs) when you purchase these organic foods.
Is there any evidence that GMO foods are even harmful? In a recent French study, it was found that mice on a GMO corn diet developed tumors and had a higher mortality rate. Consumption of cottonseed oil has been linked to sexual dysfunction and even infertility.