GMO: Generally Monstrous Options

Posted by on Jul 26, 2013 in Nutrition, Uncategorized | 211 comments

I feel like this post needs a strong rating. Like an R…PG-13 doesn’t seem to create enough fear. (Have you seen the stuff that is allowed in PG-13 movies nowaday? That stuff is crazy.) I digress.  Why an R rating? Am I going to start cussing (more than usual) or showing pictures of naked crossfitting? No. (Sorry Pat and Kyle.)

Here is the why: ignoring the fake words and bad jokes, I spend a lot of time prepping these posts. I read, listen, double check, research, research some more,  and try to find the best way to succinctly describe ginormous topics. I have never been more disgusted, in awe, shocked, surprised, scared…lets just say, HORRIFIED, than I was in the last couple weeks learning about GMO’s. The topic is enormous, and reads like a soap opera or a court stenographers’ recording of a nasty divorce battle. Remember. These posts are simply to offer information. YOU can then form your own opinion.  Are there right v. wrong decisions when it comes down to what you put in your mouth? ABSOLUTELY. Have I come away with a clear idea of what I think about GMOs,? ABSOLUTELY. Does it comes across loud and clear? ABSOLUTELY. Am I here to judge or make opinions for anyone other than myself? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

SO. Here are the bare bones (How soft is that shirt, Mona and Melanie!?) break down of why you should be paying attention to three little letters, (no doubt put in that nonthreatening form to keep folks from wondering just what on earth it really stands for).

GMO=Genetically Modified Organism.

(YUM. I’ll have that!)

What it is.

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been scientifically altered using genetic engeneering techniques. GM food has had lab-replicated genes from other plants, animals, viruses, etc, added to it  to create new, ‘better’ growth characteristics (i.e.;  resistance to insects or drought). Once researchers get the results (which they are paid to find), seeds from said results (ahem, plants) are collected, mass produced, and sold to farmers.  Frankenfood. Yum.

Genetically modified (GM) foods first hit American stomachs in 1994. (Around the time CFR’s amazing 1st and 2nd year college athletes were born.)  As of 2011, the US lead all countries in the production of GM crops. As of 2013, roughly 85% of corn, 91% of soybeans, and 88% of cotton produced in the United States are genetically modified. Approximately 70% of food found in grocery stores contains GMOs.

Why it is scary.

In what seems to have been a good gone bad scenario, the concept of helping people by improving foods through genetic modification went awry somewhere. As happens, in the midst, big industry, and big money got involved, further complicating the ability for people to CHOOSE whether or not they want to eat GMOs. Why? GM foods are not labelled in the US. Other countries (i.e.; Australia, India, France, New Zealand) have taken very different stances on growing, regulating, and labeling GMOs, with some countries banning them outright. One percent is the labeling threshold decided upon by Australia and New Zealand. The European Union decided on a level of 0.9 percent, while Japan has specified a five percent threshold.

“Though over 90 per cent of Americans are thought to support the labeling of genetically engineered foods, the Food and Drug Administration’s 1992 policy statement does not find GMO foods to be “materially”different from any other-as genetic differences cannot be recognized by taste, smell or other senses.

Since that FDA decision, the food industry has spent considerable resources to prevent GMO ingredient labeling. In 2012, a coalition of biotech corporations spent some $50 million on an ad blitz against a GMO labeling law which was ultimately defeated in California.” (Link)

Scratching your heads yet?

Since GM crops are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, they pose different risks from non-GM crops. Research has shown that GM crops:

  • Can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts
  • Do not increase yield potential
  • Do not reduce pesticide use but increase it
  • Create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-tolerant “superweeds”, compromised soil quality, and increased disease susceptibility in crops
  • Have mixed economic effects
  • Harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity
  • Do not offer effective solutions to climate change
  • Are as energy-hungry as any other chemically-farmed crops

Put this on your to-read list.

Last word that makes GMOs scary sons’ o guns?  There have been no long term studies or clinical trials using humans to show the effects of GMO foods. Check this out for just some of the crazy things which have happened to animals fed GM food (intestinal damage, heavy livers, cancer…and so on).

Where you find it.

There are nine main GM food crops: soy, corn, cotton (used for oil), canola, sugar beets (used in most US sugar), Hawaiian and Chinese papaya, some zucchini and yellow crook neck squash, and alfalfa (used for hay).

Yup, your brains are headed in the right direction… Most processed food contains at least one of those ingredients, very often in the form of soybean oil or high fructose corn syrup. Conventionally raised meat is chowing down on a feed mixture of grains and soy (and other gross stuff).

How to avoid it.

  • Buy organic. Foods certified organic  are produced without excluded methods (genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge.) USDA Organic Labeling Guide can be found here.
  • Look for packages labeled ‘Non GMO’.
  • Choose organic or local, pasture-raised meat (and dairy products)  to avoid GMO-filled animal feed.
  • Buy local. Talk to the farmer about their methods.

When should you start.


No one likes to be tricked into doing things they have not made a choice to do. If you choose to eat or feed your family GMOs, that is far different than knowingly consuming foods which are being linked to a rise in everything from leaky gut to autism.

According to US hospital discharges and ambulatory admissions records data, inflammatory bowel disease in the US population skyrocketed by 40% since the introduction of GMOs. Many in the medical community strongly suspect that GMOs are a major contributor.

Family practitioners agree: “We know food allergies are on the rise and also diseases related to common foods, like celiac disease. Patients report that dairy products make them wheeze, or tomatoes give them joint pains. It’s as though our food is harming us. Something is happening. And if the intestines are playing a big role, and we’re getting the sense they are, then any change in our diet becomes a suspect.”

Check out this guide for avoiding GMOs.

You don’t let your kids watch R movies, right? Let’s work on getting back to feeding them G-rated food, too.

Until Next Time…



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