Hey everyone and happy Friday! Today I’ll be heading out for a long run and praying it goes better than my last 3 weeks and then going to a wedding this weekend. The weather is looking like it’s going to be great which is nice since the ceremony is outdoors. Which is a bit of a risk when planning a wedding in March in Canada.
I would say GMO’s are the most misunderstood nutritional hot topic right now. I would be lying if I said I knew it all about GMO’s because I don’t. To tell you the truth, there is so much information and it confuses me at times too. However, I like to think I know a little more than the average person and certainly more than these people…
The prevailing opinion on GMO’s seems to be they’re bad but I don’t know why and I don’t know what they are. This seems awfully similar to my discussion on gluten.
If you want to take something out of your diet because you are legitimately concerned about the health consequences, have done some research or heard an expert (not some psuedoscientist shouting on the internet) opinion on the topic, all the power to you. But to hear the term GMO being tossed around, jump on the bandwagon saying it’s bad and then trying to avoid it makes no sense.
What is a GMO?
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism
Now even the term is very confusing because if you think about our food almost every single thing you eat is “genetically modified”. Cross breeding for attractive traits of foods has been occurring for thousands of years. A banana you eat today looks nothing like a banana from 1,000 years ago. And even our beloved superfood kale is a product of breeding. It’s not even a naturally occurring plant.
The difference with genetically modified organisms is it’s done in a laboratory using recombinant DNA technology. Essentially, scientists can modify or add specific genes to get the traits they want. This method is a lot quicker & more specific compared to cross breeding.
What foods are Genetically Modified?
A big misconception about GMO’s is that they are in everything we eat. Well that’s true and not at the same time. GMO seeds are commonly used for corn, soy, beet, alfalfa & cotton crops.
The majority of these crops are used for animal feed. The large remainder of these products are converted into cornmeal, high fructose corn syrup, sugar & oil which are then used in our food products. The process these crops undergo to create these products before going into our food supply removes the gene & it’s protein products. Therefore, although we are eating products derived from genetically modified crops, we are eating very little of the genetically modified gene.
Are GMO’s Safe?
At this point there is no scientific evidence that shows GMO’s have harmful effects. GMO’s have been in our food supply since 1994 without any notable negative impacts on health.
However, GMO’s also don’t have any positive nutritional benefits. The reason for modifying crops has to do with pesticide resistance and increasing yield. Therefore, to err on the side of caution and avoid them, certainly isn’t a bad choice.
How can I avoid GMO’s?
If you decide you want to avoid GMO’s it will be very difficult in Canada or the US. As I mentioned, most of the major crops used in our food supply come from GMO crops. However, you can look for NO GMO certified label on products. Alternatively, choose certified organic foods as organic crops cannot use genetically modified seeds.
GMO’s are a hot topic and wildly misunderstood largely due to psuedoscience that clouds the pool of actual research. Currently, research shows GMOs are safe to consume.
If you still want to avoid GMO’s after reading this, that’s fine. In the words of Amy Poehler, “Good for you, not for me.”
For me the bottom line is to think critically, think for yourself and then make an informed decision on the topic.