What are GMO’s and Why Should We Avoid Them?

What are GMO’s and Why Should We Avoid Them?

By now you have probably been clued in that GMO’s (genetically modified organism) are one of the latest additions to the “foods to avoid” list. Maybe you are diligently avoiding them and checking packages to make sure they are not in your foods, but do you know what they actually are? By understanding what a GMO is you will be more in the know on the reasons we need to avoid them.

What Are GMO’s Anyway?

According to the National Institute for Responsible Technology, GMO’s are, “the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.”


How Did GMO’s Find Their Way Into Our Food?

The question that many of us are asking about GMO’s is – were they always there? Have GMO’s quietly been in our food and we are just now understanding the damage they can cause? The short answer is no. GMO’s were introduced globally into foods in the mid-1990’s. The more complex answer is that since the mid 90’s you have probably been consuming these genetically treated foods without much awareness. It is only in the past ten years that we have begun to understand the potential harm of genetic modifications.


Are GMO’s Banned?

Throughout the world, 60 countries like England, France and Germany have banned GMO’s entirely. However, in the United States GMO’s are still widely available in the foods many of us eat.

Throughout American, a high percentage of commercialized crops have been genetically modified. This includes soy (94%), cotton (90%), canola (90%), sugar beets (95%), corn (88%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres).  What’s additionally troubling is that products made from these crops, like oils from all four, soy protein, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup contain these genetic modifications. So, even when we try avoid eating GMO’s, we may be falling short.

While other countries are shutting down the farming of GM crops, the FDA continues to support the use of this process. This makes it a bigger challenge to avoid consuming GMO’s, as the labeling is not required. You can take advantage of a helpful app created by the Non-GMO project to check whether food you buy contains GMO’s.


Are GMO’s Harmful?

According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), doctors are urged to encourage all of their patients to adhere to a strict non-GMO diet. Their recommendations have pointed to animal studies that have shown organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility when GMO’s are a regular part of the diet. Human studies have shown how genetically modified (GM) food can leave unwanted material inside our bodies, with the possibility of causing long-term problems.

One study they regularly site looked at genes inserted into GM soy, where they found that the modified genes transferred into the DNA of bacteria normally living inside our bodies. In this study, the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.

Since the introduction of GMO’s in our diets in 1996, a variety of health problems have steadily risen. The percentage of Americans living with three or more chronic illnesses rose from 7 percent to 13 percent in just 9 years. There has been a staggering rise in food allergies, and diagnoses like autism, infertility and digestive problems. Although research has not conclusively proven that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors groups like the AAEM warn consumers not to wait on eliminating GMO’s, especially in our children’s diets since they are at an increased risk.  While the specifics are still up in the air on just how dangerous GMO’s are, the initial reports all point to the dangers they possess.


Why Should we Avoid GMO’s?

In the guidelines put forth by the AAEM, they state that, “because GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health and are without benefit, the AAEM believes that it is imperative to adopt the precautionary principle.” In other words, we should be following those countries that are choosing to eliminate GM food from their shelves.

Study after study has shown that a myriad of health risks like infertility, genetic issues, immune function, and many others are present when GMO’s are regularly consumed.

While some governing bodies suggest that GMO’s are harmless, the science is proving contradictory. Many of us are careful about what we eat. We watch for fat content, calories, sugar and carbohydrates. For some, we go even further and work to understand both macro- and micro-nutrients to get the most out of what we eat. But this begs the question – are GMO’s quietly sabotaging our diets and causing us harm?



How Can I Avoid GMO’s?

The best way to avoid any potential problems is to steer clear of foods that have been genetically modified and to pay attention to the ingredients in our foods that may contain GM elements. The Non-GMO project app is a great way to check for GMO’s as you shop. The Living Non GMO website also has a database of products and companies that are GMO free to feel safe in what you buy.


GMO’s have the potential for a number of health problems. While science has not yet been able to conclusively prove why, studies are outlining the long list of dangers. The best way to avoid these unwanted outcomes is to pay attention to what you buy and look for Non-GMO whenever possible.

Study after study has shown that a myriad of health risks like infertility, genetic issues, immune function, and many others are present when GMO’s are regularly consumed.


David’s passion for optimal health, wellness, and prevention started as a research analyst covering the industry. David specialized in nutritional supplements, pouring over clinical studies, touring manufacturing facilities, and immersing himself in the supplement and wellness industry on all levels. He developed a passion for the industry and educating people, and became driven to start Previnex. Previnex is a prevention-based health and wellness company committed to using science, clinically-tested ingredients and going above and beyond the testing and production standards required to bring to life nutritional supplements products of unparalleled quality, safety, and effectiveness.

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