The Facts On GMOs: Why You Should Avoid Them

Published January 31, 2019
<article> <section> <p>A century ago the peak of agricultural technology was selective breeding. By taking two plants or animals that had favorable traits and breeding them, you could make a heartier or more bountiful product in its next generation. Today, we have <i>genetically modified organisms</i>, more commonly referred to as GMOs. There has been a lot of controversy over the GMOs in our food supply as some people strongly believe they can be the answer to world hunger, while others remain highly skeptical over their ‘safe’ claims. The facts about GMO foods can be tricky to differentiate because the term itself has a very far reach.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Are GMOs?</header> <p>A genetically modified organism is any collection of living cells that had their DNA altered in a laboratory setting using <i>genetic engineering or transgenic technology</i>.<sup>1</sup> And it is because of this broad definition of GMOs that they are so controversial, because GMOs are defined by what has happened to them and not by <i>what they do</i>. There are modified bananas that contain more vitamin A and iron than normal bananas to help with Ugandan locals’ deficiencies<sup>2</sup>, modified cotton plants that are edible to humans<sup>3</sup>, and modified corn that secretes its own pesticides, even after you’ve eaten it<sup>4</sup>. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="corn-piece-on-blue-background-0068"> </picture> <p>While some GMOs have been modified to help feed populations, like Uganda’s fortified bananas, the facts about GMO foods are that most of the GMOs sold in your grocery store were modified to benefit either the farmers or a big agricultural production company like Monsanto. The corn that secretes its own pesticides, for example, is one of the Bt-toxin GMOs; it’s a very common corn crop, and it was created to require less resources agriculturally. But this GMO doesn’t help you, the consumer-in fact, it hurts you.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>The Dark Side of GMOs</header> <p>The BT-toxin modification was created from bacteria. Scientists took an insecticide from a bacteria strain and inserted it into the corn’s DNA. The idea was to create a crop that didn’t need to be sprayed with pesticides, thus keeping the production of harmful chemicals to a minimum. The insecticide works by putting holes in the intestines of insects, killing them. This harmful modification was allowed to go to market because of the theory that humans have a different stomach pH than insects do, so the Bt-toxin should be broken down by our stomach acid, rendering it harmless; however, this is not the case. A study on mice revealed that the concentration of the Bt-toxin secreted by the GM corn was powerful enough to cause <i>intestinal permeability</i> in the mice subjects<sup>5</sup>.</p> <p>Intestinal permeability is when the lining of your gut becomes punctured and full of holes. It is also known as <i>leaky gut</i> which is a rising epidemic in the United States that has been linked to most of our chronic diseases, such as our growing rate of autoimmune disorders, autism, and almost every form of intestinal distress<sup>6, 7</sup>. To put two and two together, while not all GMOs are bad, some of them are making us dangerously and chronically sick.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tractor-mowing-hay-at-sunset-0068"> </picture> <p>The ironic part of Bt-toxin-modified foods is that they are losing their ground on the creatures they were intended to kill. There is a pest called the western corn rootworm that has developed a resistance to the Bt-toxin<sup>8</sup>, and this pest isn’t the only one to evolve beyond our influence. Due to our constant pesticide use, we are creating <em>superpests</em> that withstand the insect-killers we’ve developed<sup>9</sup>.</p> <p>The most common GMOs are the ones that make crops more resilient against pesticides and more resistant to herbicides, specifically <i>glyphosate</i>-laden RoundUp. RoundUp is Monsanto’s most popular product, and the plants modified to withstand it are called “RoundUp Ready” plants. These types of crops get overladen with more chemicals than would be the norm because the strain of crop can handle all of the excess chemicals. But nature works quicker than laboratories can keep up. The pests and weeds that farmers try to eradicate adapt and evolve to make superpests, much like the antibiotic-resistant <i>superbugs</i> that can shut down modern hospitals. Superpests then push farmers to apply more pesticides and herbicides to their crops in order to save their harvest. And indeed, studies show that GMOs have a higher rate of herbicide application than non-GMO conventional produce<sup>10</sup>.</p> <p>In the United States, it is very hard to make a living as a farmer; it is not a path paved with riches and gold, and most farmers rely on government subsidies to help them break even at the end of the season. When a farmer goes to start a new crop to harvest, it’s a big investment-so big, in fact, that many have to take out a loan, and most banks see GM-seeds as the safer investment they’re willing to back. A lot of farmers opt for the modified crops that they have to buy from a corporation much like Monsanto. But the kicker is that Monsanto is also where they would go if they had to buy pesticides or herbicides. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tractor-aerial-view-mowing-0068"> </picture> <p>Do you see the cycle a farmer can get caught in? Let’s use our Bt-toxin corn as an example. </p> <ul> <li>Farmer buys GMO crop from Monsanto that won’t need pesticides</li> <li>Pests adapt and evolve resistance to the Bt-toxin</li> <li>Farmer buys stronger pesticides from Monsanto to save his investment and crop</li> <li>All the while, consumers are eating his harvest</li> </ul> <p>Due to Monsanto’s large reach in both government and policy making (they are the head of Big Ag), any farmers hoping to create a big enough crop to live off of tend to turn to the crops that are considered the United States’ “cash crops.” These are crops that promise to return a higher yield as they are the basis of the feed given to the animals in our agricultural meat industry. The United States’ top three cash crops include:</p> <ul> <li>Corn</li> <li>Soy</li> <li>Wheat</li> </ul> <p>Incidentally, these are also the three most modified crops produced in the United States and the three top leading food allergens and sensitivities. There are dozens of personal accounts of individuals who realized they had a food intolerance to corn, wheat, and/or soy, only to discover that when they went on vacation to another country, they didn’t develop a reaction to the food, as it was non-GMO<sup>11</sup>.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Known Risks of Ingesting GMOs</header> <ul> <li>Leaky gut is the top risk. Leaky gut is the condition where your food puts holes in your intestinal lining. We mentioned this condition before, but it’s got another side effect that is changing the mind of the medical community.</li> <li>Destruction of the microbiome. The <i>microbiome</i> is the living network of bacteria and fungi attached to the lining of your intestines. They have their own burgeoning field of study that is taking medicine by storm because as it turns out, they are vitally important for almost every process in our body from helping us digest food to managing anxiety and depression<sup>12</sup>.</li> <li>Food sensitivities and food allergies. This ailment is thought to go hand-in-hand with leaky gut as most intestinal problems do. When we eat genetically modified foods, we are introducing our bodies to DNA that they have never had to process in our centuries of evolution, and some bodies fight back with inflammation, an allergy, or an upsetting sensitivity<sup>13</sup>.</li> <li>Decline in cognitive function. This includes diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, ADD/ADHD, bipolar disorder, and anxiety/depression. Each of these diseases have seen an alarming increase in diagnoses, and the scale of the increase matches the scale of glyphosate application to GMO foods<sup>14</sup>. While the science is still out as to whether this risk is associated with GMOs themselves or the glyphosate applied to them, scientists in the field have agreed that because there has been such a marked increase, the causation must be environmental<sup>15</sup>. With the new microbiome discoveries happening every day that connect the gut and brain further and further, it is not a far cry to say that the food we eat can be what’s making our brains so sick.</li> </ul> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Produce Stickers to Look Out For</header> <p>Given these facts about GMO foods, it would be nice if consumers could know what they’re biting into, but GMOs have been intentionally shrouded in mystery. Studies found that while GMOs’ appearance in the marketplace has exponentially increased, the general public’s knowledge of GMOs has remained almost the same since the first product went public<sup>16</sup>. Today, instead of being able to differentiate between different GMOs in your food, you have only two options: to avoid GMOs altogether or not. </p> <p>Avoiding GMOs can be done in three ways, the most convenient is when you’re buying produce, look at the labeling provided on most fruits and some vegetables. When you buy an apple at a grocery store, for example, it comes with a sticker for labeling that goes beyond <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">organic vs. non-organic</a>.</p> <ul> <li>GMOs have a five-digit number on the sticker and start with the number eight.</li> <li>Conventional produce has a four-digit number and starts with the number four.</li> <li>Organic produce has five digits on the produce sticker and will always start with the number nine.</li> </ul> <p>By identifying which produce in your grocery store offers a non-GMO option, you can help to cut out any guesswork. But this method of identifying GMOs is only plausible for produce; when it comes to buying packaged goods, there’s only one labeling system you can trust: the Non-GMO Project. </p> <p>The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization that promises to you, the consumer, that any product that carries their label is completely free of GMOs<sup>17</sup>. The non-GMO project has high standards in what they demand of their partners, and they offer educational sources and information to the public. The company is run by the belief that everyone should have the right to know exactly what they’re eating, by helping consumers pinpoint non-GMO products. They are not the only company trying to verify health hazards to the public, but the Non-GMO Project has the most widespread reach and trustworthy testing systems.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="girl-holding-collard-greens-0068"> </picture> <p>Your last option to maneuver GMOs off your plate is by talking to the farmer yourself. When you shop at farmers markets or visit farmland to buy your groceries, you are talking to the real farmer who bought the seeds that created your food and cared and tended to that crop until it was ready for harvest. These days people do not become farmers for an easier lifestyle or big paychecks, but because they love it! Bypassing the grocery store and getting your food directly from the source, you are not only getting the freshest and most nutrient-dense food possible, but you can also have an open conversation about where your food is coming from with the one person who knows best.</p> <p>GMOs pose potentially huge health risks to the general public but not all of them are dangerous. Because the label of GMO is such a broad term, it’s near impossible for consumers to know what kind of modifications they might be ingesting, but with the spread of farmers markets, the Non-GMO project, and organic labelling, consumers can opt out of GMOs altogether. Studies have shown that some GMOs can have deadly connotations which makes sense, because the food we eat is important to our bodies. “Food can be our greatest medicine or our worst poison.”<sup>18</sup> It’s up to you what food you want to put into your body and the bodies of those you care for, but we here at Warrior Made want you to have the facts about GMO foods so you can make the best decision for yourself.</p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">What is a GMO?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Ugandan scientists poised to release vitamin-fortified GMO banana</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Edible cottonseed is now a thing — and it could have big implications for world hunger</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Why Did Officials Approve this Bt-toxin Corn Chip that Creates a 'Pesticide Factory' in Your Gut?</a></li> <li>“What’s Making Our Children Sick? How Industrial Food Is Causing an Epidemic of Chronic Illness, and What Parents (and Doctors) Can Do About It” by Michelle Perro, MD, and Vincanne Adams, PhD</li> <li>“The Autoimmune Fix: How to Stop the Hidden Autoimmune Damage That Keeps You Sick, Fat, and Tired Before It Turns Into Disease” by Tom O’Bryan</li> <li>“The GAPS Protocol” by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, PhD</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Genetic markers for western corn rootworm resistance to Bt toxin.</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">My Thoughts on GMO Foods</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops</a></li> <li>“GMOs Are Causing Serious Health Problems” GMO Truth Podcast #13</li> <li>“The Pocket Guide to Polyvagal theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe” by Stephen W. Porges</li> <li>“The Autoimmune Fix: How to Stop the Hidden Autoimmune Damage That Keeps You Sick, Fat, and Tired Before It Turns Into Disease” by Tom O’Bryan</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">GMOs & Neurological Disease: ADHD, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Schizophrenia, Bipolar</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">The prevalence puzzle: Autism counts</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Consumer perception of genetically modified organisms and sources of information.</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Mission</a></li> <li>The Institute for Integrative Nutrition</li> </ol> </section> </article>

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