January 18, 2017

GMO Foods Pros and Cons

By Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

There is certainly a lot of hype over GMOs.  We have so many people yelling about how it will save the human race from starvation, while others scream that it will completely destroy us!  How are we to know for sure whether foods that are genetically modified are safe and healthy?

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but “caveat emptor” is still alive and well.  “Buyer beware” rules the market and we must be informed of all that we buy.  Information is still our best protection from all the toxic scams that are devised to take our money and give us only poor health in return.  I want to get past the hype and look only at the evidence.

GMO kidney damage by flickr Hey Paul StudiosThe GMO Home Case Study

My first experience with the GMO debate came from my wife.  She noticed that our youngest child acted very differently when he ate corn, but not when he ate organic corn.  I was skeptical, until I was home one day when he was given some non-organic corn by a neighbor.  The five-year-old child was literally “climbing the walls!”  He could not keep still!  I had seen many meth addicts act the same way, so I was shocked that our child would be doing this!  I even recorded it on video because the change in behavior was so drastic.

I started doing some research and found, at first, that GMO producers and the FDA were assuring everyone that GMO food was just like organic crops – but better, because the farmers didn’t have to spray for insects or weed their fields.  However, as I dug deeper, I began to see a different picture in the case surrounding GMOs.

Few GMO Studies Beyond 90 Days

Most of the “reassurance” that the FDA and GMO producers offer is based on results from 90-day studies.  That is, nobody died in three months — so it must be safe.  This isn’t very reassuring to me, because I know that it may take much longer than that to produce illness from food. I wanted some real science behind the safety of GMOs, so I went to non-industry studies.

GMOs Can Cause Liver and Kidney Disease

First, I went to studies on animals, because they may give us clues to what may happen in a human.  In 2010, a meta-analysis of 19 rats fed GMO soy and GMO corn found that 30-43% of the rats developed liver and/or kidney disease, compared to those who were not fed with GMOs.

I have read thousands of studies over the years, and the percentage ( 30-43%) of rats developing liver or kidney disease is very alarming.

Most pharmaceutical medicines are only approved on a less-than-10% (<10%) margin over placebo. This means GMO products have been approved despite the lack of rigorous safety assessments for GM crops and with the likelihood of organ damage. Wouldn’t you raise questions regarding GMO approval if it led to organ failure?

I’m not a fan of applying associated symptoms as a cause, so I wanted to know why liver and/or kidney disease might be a threat to humans. Before medical school, I was a microbiologist doing molecular biology and genetic engineering, so deciphering the biologically significant data was right up my alley.

GMO Gene Transfer

One of the most convincing arguments against GMO foods is the fact that

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GMOs: An Unexpected Dinner Guest

By Amanda Box, N.D.

What’s for dinner at your house tonight?  I bet you don’t even realize it, but you may be serving up some Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).  That’s right.  They may taste better than they sound, but these lab engineered foods can cause a whole lot of damage in the human body!   It is a sad reality, but this scientifically engineered food has taken over the food industry!

  • How did we get to the point where what grows in the ground isn’t even natural?
  • Why are we now eating plants that are crossed with other plant and even animal viruses, bacteria, and DNA?

It all began with one single supreme court hearing.  This court decision changed the lives of millions across the United States and abroad.  In this hearing, approval was given for patenting live organisms and their commercialization.(1) This meant that seed companies who had created genetically modified plants in their labs not only owned the right to those seeds, but were free to market them for human consumption. GMOs by flickr Chiot's Run

From 1997 through 1999, over ¼ of the crops in America were converted to GMO varieties.(2)  This has continued to climb over the past 13 years.  Now, the United States produces over 50% of the worlds GMO crops!(3)  This is a staggering amount of food that is produced void of its natural genetic makeup.

Although these genetically modified foods have been on the market for the last decade, most people had no idea they were eating anything different.  This is because there are no  GMO labeling laws in the United States.

Your natural corn, soybeans, sugar, rice, tomatoes, potatoes and other common foods were swapped out for genetically modified versions – right under your nose!  If this seems sneaky and manipulative to you, then it most certainly is!

GMOs and Clones for Dinner

Surprisingly, many people argue that GMO foods are perfectly safe and nutritious.  However, they are under the delusion that there is no difference in the quality, nutrition, or safety of GMO foods in comparison to natural foods.

Plants that have been around since the beginning of time are being replaced by scientifically enhanced versions. And it’s not just plants that are being modified!  Genetically modified animals are now becoming the next big thing! The Enviropig was a genetically engineered pig designed to excrete less waste.  Luckily, the plug has been pulled on the pig research, so GMO bacon won’t be an option any time soon.

However, if you smell something fishy, you’re onto something. GMO salmon has been approved for sale for human consumption.  AquaAdvantage salmon, as it’s called, grows year round and at a much faster rate than wild salmon.  This new salmon will not be labeled GMO, so you will have no idea if you’re eating it or not!  The FDA did perform testing using just six fish in the study.  They noted an “increase in allergy potential,” but still gave it their seal of approval.

Scientists have performed hundreds of experiments by genetically modifying animals. Cloning, once looked at as science fiction, can legally occupying grocery shelves, as well. Because no labels are required for clones, you could be eating cloned food without ever knowing it! The FDA food safety chief Dr. Stephen Sundloff stated,  “Meat and milk from cattle, swine, and goat clones are as safe as the food we eat every day.” I personally think Dr. Sundloff is off his rocker!  And I am not the only one.

The Centre for Food Safety disagrees with the FDA’s approval stating, “Without mandating further study it is clearly arbitrary, capricious, and irresponsible.”(4) Most clones die soon after birth due to genetic defects.  Scientists have found genetic defects in clones that have never been found in normal animals.  Arguing that clones are a perfect genetic copy and perfectly safe just doesn’t hold up.

Safety Concerns of GMOs

So, are GMOs really safe? The FDA, as well as the big corporations who manufacture GMOs, want you to believe that they are no different then those foods found in nature.  Unfortunately, proving that these genetically modified organisms have an effect our health will be a big challenge.  That is because the companies that manufacture them have to give their approval for the testing.  Hence, the lack in research and long term studies clearly and concisely pointing to the dangers of GMOs to our health.

It is really a guessing game as what the long term effects of consuming these genetically engineered foods will really be. Physicians and scientists have begun stepping forward to challenge GMOs safety.  One Harvard trained physician, Dr. Bernhoft, claims his patients have improved once GMOs were taken out of their diet.  These patients had a wide array of diseases.  Dr. Bernhoft stated, “In all of the animal studies that I’ve read, there’s always damage to gut integrity. Is the same thing happening in humans? I don’t know, but asthma, food allergies, autoimmunity—all of those things have gone up logarithmically since GMOs have been introduced.” (5)

The only human study that was conducted demonstrated that genes from GMO soy “jumped” into the human intestinal bacteria DNA.  This means that even after you have eaten GMO soy and excreted it out of your body, its genes still remain in your intestinal tract!!  Many are speculating that Bt corn could possibly create a similar scenario.  If this is true, your intestines would be continually producing pesticides inside your body even after the corn is gone! GMO foods health by flickr Kalexanderson Bt corn was created by genetic engineers who took the toxin from Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt, and inserted into corn as a built-in pesticide.

This corn was designed to kill insects and can wreak havoc not only on your gut, but also your immune system.  Government research in Italy found both gut damage and autoimmune responses in mice fed Bt corn.(6) The potential damage is massive. GMO foods can lead to health issues, such as:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Cancer

One of the biggest issues with the consumption of GMOs is autoimmune reactions.  Your body is designed to recognize natural foods and process them as such.  However, when you change the genes of a natural food, your body begins to react to that engineered food as if it’s a foreign invader!   This creates an inflammatory reaction in the body that can lead to chronic autoimmune diseases like MS, fibromyalgia and Lupus! Liver damage can also be a result of consuming GMOs. Animal studies using GMO corn, canola, potatoes and soybeans all resulted in some sort of liver issues.  These damaging results ranged from liver inflammation to actual lesions in the liver!(7)

Hidden GMOs in Your Life

Maybe you’re saying, “I eat really healthy. I’m not worried about GMOs.”  Well, think again! Something as innocent as your morning cup of coffee can be brimming with genetically altered ingredients. Let me break it down for you.

Maybe you like your coffee black. But millions love their lattes, breves and cappuccinos.  Unless you use organic dairy products, your milk, half and half, or cream comes from cows given the growth hormone rBGH or rBST.  These growth hormones are genetically engineered and can lead to milk containing hormones. These milk cows are also fed grains composed primarily of GMOs. Maybe you go dairy-free.  That can be even worse if you use soy milk!  Soy is the #1 genetically modified plant in the United States.

And the sugar you use to sweeten your coffee?  Most sugar beets are GMO now. Even sugar cane is genetically altered.  You also better put down that sugar-free blue packet!  Aspartame (Nutrasweet) is made from genetically altered materials and packs a plethora of potential side effects. And if GMOs weren’t enough, unless your coffee is organic it is probably covered in pesticide residue!  All that sure makes your morning cup of Joe look a lot less innocent now, doesn’t it?

If just a cup of coffee can be saturated with unnatural genetically modified ingredients, what do you think lies in your kitchen cabinet?  It likely that you have thousands of genetically modified organisms hidden away in the boxes, cans and jars in your home.

How to Avoid GMOs

GMO corn labels by flickr Jeannette E. SpaghettiGoing GMO-free is easier than it seems.  There will be a bit of a learning curve in the beginning, but once you get it down, it will be second nature for you. Learning to look at labels is the most important thing in avoiding GMOs. There are four specific labels you want to look for when searching for packaged foods that indicate they are GMO-free.

  1. 100% Organic – This means EVERYTHING in the product is organic, therefore GMO-free.
  2. Organic – Something has to be at least 95% of it’s ingredients organic to call it organic.  The other 5% still has to be GMO-free.
  3. Made from Organic – This means the product contains at least 70% organic ingredients.  The remaining ingredients have to be non-GMO, as well.
  4. Non-GMO – The ingredients may not have been grown organically, however there are no genetically modified ingredients in the product.

If what you are buying doesn’t not have one of the labels above, you will need to read the ingredient list.  Identifying the most common GMO foods is the first step while reading ingredient lists.

Top 8 GMO Foods to Avoid

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