According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide. In 2018, cancer caused an estimated 9.6 million deaths, or one out of every six deaths, worldwide. Prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver cancer are the most widespread types of cancer in men, whereas breast, colorectal, lung, cervical, and thyroid cancer are the most frequent among women.
While there are many risk factors for developing cancer such as age, genetics, and smoking, your diet also plays a role. To reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases you should avoid eating gmo foods and ingredients that often contain them.
According to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “a diet rich in whole foods and balanced healthy fats; carbohydrates; vitamins; minerals; and proteins from plant-based sources is the best way to reduce risk of chronic disease including cancer”
What Are GM Foods?
GM foods are those that have been genetically modified in a laboratory. Genetic modification (GM) is the process of changing the DNA of an organism to produce desired traits. While GM foods are widely used to feed livestock and fish, this article focuses on crops meant for human consumption. GM foods are often engineered to withstand herbicides, repel pests, increase yield, or be “drought tolerant.” When a gene from one organism is transferred to another unrelated organism, the process is called transgenic engineering, or genetic modification (GM).
Genetic modification (GM) is the process of changing the DNA of an organism to produce desired traits. Scientists use a new gene-editing technology called CRISPR/Cas9 to create GM crops.
How Are Genetically Modified Organisms Made?
The goal of genetic engineering is to introduce a new trait or remove an undesirable trait. For example, scientists may want to engineer plants to be resistant to insects, tolerate drought conditions, or produce higher yields. To do this, they may use one of two methods, GM or hybridization.
GM – Genetic modification is the process of changing the DNA of an organism to produce desired traits. This can be done in a lab on different organisms including plants, bacteria, and animals. Hybridization – Hybridization is the process of combining the genetics of two different organisms to create a new species. This is often done to improve crops and has been done for thousands of years.
Once the desired genes are inserted into the plants’ DNA, they are then grown and harvested. The plants are treated with chemicals to kill pests and pathogens that might harm the plants. This process is called the “sterile seed” method and is used to grow many genetically modified crops. The plants are then processed into a variety of foods or products such as oils, flours, and sugars.
The Dangers of Eating GMO Foods
The term “GMO” stands for “genetically modified organism.” Unlike hybridization, which is a natural process, genetic engineering is done in a lab by transferring genes from one species to another.
There are many reasons to stay away from GMO foods, including increased pesticide use, genetic pollution, and the potential for health risks. Increased pesticide use – A major reason to avoid GMOs is that many of them are engineered to be pesticide resistant. This means that when weeds or pests appear, the plants don’t die, but rather continue to grow.
To prevent weeds and pests from harming the plants, large amounts of pesticides are often applied. Newer pesticides – The increased use of pesticides with GMOs has led to the evolution of new pesticides. Although these pesticides are applied to kill pests, they can also have negative health effects. Genetic pollution – Another reason to avoid GMOs is that they have the potential to affect the environment in a negative way.
The trait of pesticide resistance often travels through pollination to other plants in the area. This is called genetic pollution and can cause weeds to become pests. The same can be said for crops with other desirable traits like drought tolerance. Health risks – Finally, there are health risks associated with GMOs. Since long-term health studies on GMOs are lacking, it can be difficult to determine the extent of these risks. However, some animal studies suggest that eating GMOs can lead to health issues.
Which Ingredients May Be from Genetically Modified Crops?
There are many foods that may have a high risk of containing GMOs. These include sugar, corn syrup, soybean oil, and soybean lecithin (an emulsifier).
If the products you regularly consume contain these ingredients, it’s a good idea to be aware of how they may be genetically engineered. Other foods that are typically made from GMOs include alfalfa, aquaculture fish, barley, canola, corn, cotton, flax, mustard, papaya, peas, potatoes, rye, soybeans, squash, sugar beets, and wheat.
It’s also important to keep in mind that foods that are organic or labeled non-GMO may not be entirely free of GMOs. While organic products can be free of GMOs, it’s very difficult to be 100% certain that a crop is free of genetically modified organisms.
Other Reasons to Avoid GMOs
As with many other health and nutrition issues, the lack of research on GMOs is a major reason to avoid them. Although many studies have been conducted on GMOs, there is a lack of long-term studies and human studies.
In addition, GMOs are often patented, which may lead to higher prices for food. GMOs are found in many processed foods, and since most people eat more processed foods than whole foods, it’s easy to consume large amounts of GMOs.
Finally, because GMOs have been proven to be harmful to the environment, they may have a negative effect on the planet and its inhabitants.
Tips for Avoiding GMOs and Their Ingredients
If you want to avoid GMOs, you’ll need to be aware of the food labels. Unfortunately, there is no regulation requiring that foods be labeled as being genetically engineered. However, you can avoid GMOs by eating organic and non-GM foods (that is, foods that are free of GMOs).
If you want to avoid GMOs, you’ll need to be careful about the following foods: Sugar – You’ll want to look for “cane sugar” or “organic sugar” as alternatives to sugar derived from GM sugar beets. Corn – Look for “organic corn” or “non-GMO corn” to ensure it’s not from GM corn. Soy – “Organic soy” and “non-GMO soy” is the best option. Soy is often used as a filler in processed foods. Soybean oil – This is often used in restaurants and as an ingredient in processed foods.
Look for “organic soybean oil” or “non-GMO soybean oil.” Soybean lecithin – This is often found in foods like chocolate bars, baked goods, and processed foods. Look for “organic soybean lecithin” or “non-GMO soybean lecithin.”
Choose healthy, natural, organic foods!
There is no doubt that the proliferation of GM foods has had a significant impact on the commercialization of food production and has perhaps helped to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for food. However, there are also concerns about the long-term implications for the environment and for human health of the widespread use of GM technology.
GM foods are widely used by farmers to increase yields and reduce pesticide use. Due to GM foods being recent to the mainstream food supply consumption, there is no long-term studies on their safety.
Be careful about what you put onto your skin and what you eat, as these decisions could have lasting impacts on your general well-being and overall health. Consider eating natural foods made with organic ingredients for optimal health.
Information Disclaimer: The following statements are for educational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the FDA. We encourage you to speak with your preferred medical advisor to determine if this information is right for you. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.