All organic beings are made up of genes – little spirally things that decide how an organism will grow, what it will look like, how long it will live. If you know how to alter the genetic structure of an organism, you can get any results you want. This is a stripped-down definition of genetic modification or GM. GM is a controversial issue today, especially because even our food is now being genetically altered.
Food is genetically modified to make it look better (more lush, brighter colors – thus more attractive to the customer), bigger (meaning more profit), last longer (sort of like an inbuilt preservative), make it immune to pesticides, and to remove undesirable traits.
Genetically Modified Foods & their Health Effects
Genetic modification is a very complicated issue. On the one hand, we’re obviously messing with nature, forcing our own desires on the natural way of things. That is obviously more about power and control than anything else. On the other hand, advocates of Genetically Modified foods argue that such biotechnology can help people living in extreme temperatures to grow a larger variety of food, thus providing more adequate nutrition. Imagine, for example, genetically modifying seeds so that they grown in drought-hit areas. How can you argue the benefits of that?
The idea here is not to take sides but to investigate Genetically Modified foods for yourself and do what’s best for you. Are Genetically Modified foods harming you? And if you can avoid them, why wouldn’t you?
Are GM foods bad for you?
Yes. Period. Several studies into genetically modified foods have shown that health is dramatically impacted – negatively – by the introduction of GM foods.
May Cause Cancer
Studies conducted on animals showed that Genetically Modified foods are linked to the growth of cancer cells. This is rather worrying when you consider that over 90% of cancer cases in humans over the last three decades – which is exactly how long Genetically Modified foods have been most prevalent – have no genetic connection whatsoever.
Risky for those with Allergies
If you have an allergy, a Genetically Modified food has the potential to set off your symptoms because it may contain proteins from other ingredients that you have the original allergy to.
Impact on Pregnant Women and Children
That’s a no-brainer. If something is bad for adults, you can be sure that it will affect children even worse since the latter’s immune systems are not yet fully developed and cannot withstand the impact of negative side effects. The toxins in Genetically Modified foods can lead to digestive issues in children and, in extreme cases, disease and death.
Babies in particular are at very high risk. A study conducted on rats revealed quite shocking results. Baby rats were fed with GM soy, and they die within just 21 days. Adult male rats that ingested Genetically Modified foods had sperm that was changed at a genetic level. Pregnant female rats given GM foods gave birth to smaller-than-usual baby rats. That’s why it’s safer for pregnant women to avoid GM foods as much as possible to protect their babies. Ideally, natural foods should be introduced even before conception.
Another study conducted on buffalos linked Genetically Modified foods to premature birth and infertility.
Higher Use of Pesticides
Genetically modified crops are usually sprayed with more herbicides and pesticides than regular crops. This means that there’s even more of the stuff going into your system, killing you slowly from the inside.
Regularly Linked to Health Issues
Genetically Modified food is still too new a debate for there to be any definite conclusions as to its impact on health. However, new studies done every day reveal that it is linked to some or the other health problem ranging from degenerative brain disorders to dental issues, cancer to heart disease.
A Political Issue
Food is a business today, period. Genetically Modified foods are a different matter altogether. GM is a corporation! A conglomerate that rakes in billions each year with the numbers only going up. There’s a lot of money at stake, and the bosses of these companies will contribute to political campaigns so that they have some clout when it’s time to pass people-protecting, GM-food-slamming bills (which rarely get passed). Because of the political connection, GM companies are also not required to label their products as Genetically Modified , and often, their statistics and research is largely accepted and propagated as true without independent research. In fact, researchers who do dare to conduct their own studies are harassed, threatened, lose their jobs and have their credibility attacked. Why would any of this be necessary if Genetically Modified foods were a good thing?
Not Really Feeding the Hungry?
One of the biggest claims made by Genetically Modified food advocates is that it helps to feed millions of hungry people by increasing the crop yield per season. However, several studies have shown that Genetically Modified foods do not significantly increase crop production at all.
Genetic modification of food has taken an extreme turn over the last few decades. Yet, there is shockingly little research regarding the impact that Genetically Modified foods have on health. If you study the process of genetic modification yourself, you, as a layperson, will indeed come to the conclusion that Genetically Modified foods are not the best option for the present or the future of the planet. And it will be quite obvious from the numbers that there is certainly a link between Genetically Modified foods and the rise of diseases caused by toxins, carcinogens and pollutants. Yet, because of the lack of scientific interest in the subject, GM foods still remain open to interpretation by the public at large, which will lead to a new generation of disease caused by toxic food.
Top GM foods
If you are keen on avoiding Genetically Modified foods, or at least being aware of when you’re putting them into your body, then you should know that there are a few foods which are, by default, genetically modified on a grand scale. This means that over 90% of the following foods or the plants they are sourced from are grown from genetically modified seeds in most developed and developing countries in the world.
- Canola oil