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GMOs: To be or not to be a ‘genetic freak’

Some people enjoy being labeled as a ‘genetic freak.’ This may not be a bad moniker if things occur naturally. Nowadays, it seems as if natural progression takes a back seat to scientific experiments. Such is the case with GMOs, AKA genetically modified organisms. There has been much debate concerning this practice and if GMOs are safe for consumption. The debate is not over.

Genetically modified crops, such as soybeans, may possibly contribute to health complications
Photo by Scott Olson

GMOs are the result of laboratory experiments in which genes from one organism are crossed with the genes of another organism to produce a desired characteristic. Organisms have their genes altered and some experts term this as ‘frankenfood.’ Some examples of GMOs include inserting genes that make an organism bigger, implanting antibacterial genes into a plant, and adding genes from an animal to plants.

The most common GMOs include canola, corn, cotton, soy, and sugar beets. Experts estimate that at least 70% of processed foods sold in grocery stores contain some combination of genetically modified ingredients. Perhaps not surprisingly, the U.S. is the world’s largest producer of genetically modified crops. According to the U.S. government, GMOs are safe, resist disease, and provide plenty of food for starving nations.

Some scientific research performed on animals implies that there is health risks linked to GMOs, according to The Institute for Responsible Technology. Some of these health risks include

* Immune system dysfunction
* accelerated aging
* Infertility
* Poor insulin regulation

It remains to be proven if these health risks affect humans as they did animals in these cases.

A 2013 CNN article written by Dr. Keith Kantor outlines some of the top GMO benefits and drawbacks that consumers should be aware of:


* Increases the food supply to help starving nations
* Improved taste and food quality
* Creating disease-resistant crops yields more output
* Enhanced nutrition (in some crops)
* Less pesticide usage


* To date, not enough evidence to determine any long-term health complications
* Can cause allergic reactions
* May render some antibiotic medications ineffective in treating some health conditions
* Modified genes can possibly escape into the environment

Here are some tips to follow a GMO-free diet:

* Eat organic
* Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
* Look for food products with the non-GMO seal (currently GMOs require no mandatory labeling)
* Avoid foods that contain additives derived from canola, corn, cotton, soy, and sugar beets
* Select wild-caught seafood
* Eat more fiber-rich foods (beans, grains, nuts, seeds)

Many experts agree that GMO science, like any other science, has no real guarantees. Thus far, there is no solid scientific evidence that proves GMOs are harmful to the human body, says Lisa Cimperman, a dietician at University Hospitals in Cleveland.

The choice is yours. You have the power to choose if you want to be a ‘genetic freak.’ Your health and longevity depend on it.

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