In recent years, you may have noticed the term GMO being thrown around in the news. What’s the big deal about GMOs anyway?
What is a GMO?
GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” were originally created with good intentions. Simply stated, the genetic makeup of produce, like corn, is altered to reduce the need for herbicides and pesticides (the vegetable would produce a natural toxin to ward off pests), create a higher production of food to feed the hungry in third-world countries, and even to increase good things, like nutrients, in food.
While these seem to make a strong case for GMOs, studies by the EU and Russian National Academy of Sciences have found links between GM products and diseases. It is believed that the alteration disrupts the plant’s DNA in potentially harmful ways, and as a result, our bodies don’t know how to process these new foods. Therefore, GMOs are not considered “clean,” and are even banned in the EU. Unfortunately, the FDA does not require GMO safety testing, so more research needs to be done. As a result, almost all processed food in the U.S. is likely to contain GM ingredients.
How can you “eat clean” and avoid GMOs?
Buy food from the outer rim of the grocery store. Fresh vegetables, organic meats, and organic dairy products are less likely to contain GMOs. When buying produce, check the label. If it is a five-digit number beginning with an eight, it’s a GM product.
When buying packaged foods, buy organic. Organic foods are not allowed to contain any GM ingredients.
Related: The Clean 15
Check the food labels first. Canola oil, corn oil, and vegetable oil are the biggest offenders for being GM products. Choose olive oil or coconut oil instead. Honey can also be a GM product, because some bees collect nectar from the bright yellow flowers on the canola plant (which is related to mustard and cabbage).
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-Text by Ashley Strickland Freeman