Genetically Modified (GM) foods have become a major topic of debate as scientists continue to make breakthroughs in their design and creation. Supporters say it will increase food production, whilst reducing wastage. What supporters fail to mention, though, are the harmful effects on the human body.
You should always avoid GM food if possible. Although there are only a limited number of studies on the side effects of GM, many of the signs point towards them causing harm when consumed by humans. And this is ignoring the negative impact on the environment as a whole. Here are some of the major side effects of GM food on humans.
#1 Allergy Symptoms
Studies on certain GM foods have shown how they can increase the severity of allergic reactions, which can cause death in more sensitive people, and even cause allergies in people who have no problems consuming their natural counterparts.
The book Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods by Jeffrey M. Smith touched upon a study conducted in the UK. GM soy was introduced into the food chain for a period of time. During this time, the number of registered soy allergies increased by 50 per cent. He also revealed how the amino acid sequences in GM soy were exactly the same as some of the allergens we know of today.
It’s no coincidence to see such a large jump in the number of allergies. To confirm it, scientists need to conduct additional studies, but these results alone point to something very concerning about these foods.
#2 Increased Body Toxicity
There’s also substantial evidence GM food causes an increase in body toxicity. Corn and soy, in particular, increase the levels of toxicity in the body. Again, the exact effects remain unknown until researchers find further results, but preliminary tests have demonstrated how consuming this food causes profound changes in the body.
A 2007 study involved feeding GM food to rats for a sustained period of time. Excretions of harmful waste products, like sodium and phosphorus, decreased. It highlights how the body seemed to be holding onto these waste products.
Other major changes in the rats included a decrease in body weight. Some of the males lost 3.3 per cent in bodyweight, whereas the females gained almost this much. Such changes indicate that GM has a clear potential to alter our physiology.
#3 Digestive Problems
We as human beings have no knowledge of foods which have been genetically modified on a biological level. As we’ve evolved slowly and steadily over many centuries, our bodies have been naturally programmed to deal with the foods we grow. It’s why we don’t suddenly fall ill when we consume them.
To add an entirely new type of food into the food chain creates problems for the body. Our bodies haven’t had the chance to adapt to these foods. Any pathogens which invade the body can cause problems as they overwhelm the immune system. Additionally, there’s always a chance our bodies will assume GM foods are invading pathogens and wrongly trigger the immune response.
And on an unrelated note, some animals which have eaten these foods have seen their digestive tracts increase in size. As of this writing, no plausible explanation for this phenomenon has been given, but it’s alarming nonetheless.
#4 Risk of cancer
In short, you could find yourself dealing with a nasty tumor if you eat anything which has been genetically modified. A startling study of GM food from the University of Caen reported that 50-80 per cent of the female rats in the study developed tumors; many had up to three tumors. They were fed on a diet consisting entirely of genetically modified maize for the duration of their lives.
The 2012 study Excess Cancers and Deaths with GM Feed: the Stats Stand Up has been peer reviewed by scientists from around the world. The experiments were declared valid and it seems to contradict everything biotech companies and governments have said about the realities of these foods.
Staying Away from GMO Foods
As the results above have shown, it’s a smart idea to stay away from these foods. Many of us have no idea that GM foods are already in the food chain. It’s no longer just an idea in the laboratory. The United States has one of the largest markets for GM food in the world; over 50 per cent of the world’s market. Millions of Americans are eating it each day, and they don’t even know it.
Three of the most obvious foods to avoid are corn, soy, and potatoes. Biotech companies have focused on these foods because they’re at the largest risk of sustaining damage from pests.
When you go shopping, look for ‘natural’ foods. Non-GM foods have ‘100% Organic’ proudly displayed on the label. If you go to a local farmer’s market, ask if they have been genetically modified before buying. Generally, smaller independent retailers still stick to natural foods. Industrial farms and supermarkets sell GM food.
Even if a product has been labeled ‘100% Organic’, make sure a reputable organization has deigned it as such. Some of the organic certification marks to look for include CCOFF, QAI, Tilth, and Oregon.
If you don’t know whether your food has been modified, or you can’t find any nearby natural food retailers, make your own. Start your own vegetable garden. This way you know exactly what you’re growing and the effect it will have on you.