Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's Non-GMO Month!!!

I just found out that this is the first official Non-GMO month:

To fill you in, GMO stands for "Genetically Modified Organisms." GMOs are products of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering or GE), which creates new combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes by combining DNA from one species with DNA from another. The result: new organisms that do not occur in nature.

In short, GMOs are the ultimate processed foods. Beets and corn are two crops that have been compromised by genetic engineering, and now we have the threat of a Franken Salmon reaching our dinner plates.

Why should we care about eating GMO foods if we're trying to lose weight? Well, if any of you have gotten anywhere on your weight loss or weight maintenance journeys, you've probably figured out that the one and only way to truly lose weight and keep it off is to swear off processed food and eat as naturally as possible.

GMOs are, of course, as unnatural as you can get. No one at this point knows the long term effects of eating GMO foods, but if history is any clue, it can't be good.

Research has shown, for example, that eating foods with high-fructose corn syrups are likely to make you fatter than foods with the same calories containing plain old-fashioned sugar. HFCS is, of course, much more refined and processed then regular sugar, so it stands to reason that it's more likely that foods made with GMO ingredients are probably not good for your waistline.

Oh, and BTW, since corn is now a major GMO crop, alot of that HFCS is now made with GMO corn--just imagine how gut busting that must be!!

But there are other reasons to avoid GMOs as well.

First, there is virtually no research on the long term health effects of eating GMOs, although there are indications that GMOs are more allergenic, and possibly more toxic.

Second, GE crops are bad for the environment. One of the reasons why GMO crops are created are so that farmers can douse their crops with huge amounts of pesticides and herbicides without damaging the crops. The liberal use of pesticides and herbicides, however, does harm the environment, and has even led to the evolution of "superweeds" which can withstand the constant dousing with herbicides. There are also issues with GMOs escaping into the ecosystem and reeking havoc.

Avoiding GMOs, however, isn't easy. Needless to say the agribusiness lobby has been hard at work to keep any regulation of their industry at bay. There is almost no labeling on GMO foods.

One way to tell if a fruit of vegetable is GMO is to read those little stickers on fruits and vegetables. If the first number is 8 it means it's a GMO (remember "I hate eight.") If it's a 9, it means its organic, and if the first number is 4 it's conventionally grown.

Another is to look for products that tout they don't contain GMOs.

You might also want to check out the Non-GMO's shopping guide:

As I mentioned, since both beets and corns are now GMO crops, just about any non-organic product you buy that contains sugar has GMOs in it, as do many organic products.

So, the old dictum fits here--Let the buyer beware.

But more importantly--vote with your dollars.

If you demand and only buy non-GMO products, and convince others to do so as well, food producers will do what are limp willed politicians won't -- they'll make sure you are provided with non-GMO products that are labeled as such.


  1. Thanks for explaining about the first number on each produce code. I'll be sure to check it out when I shop today.

  2. I realized I actually got the numbers wrong in my original post. It's corrected now.

  3. Thank you so much for writing this article! WholeSoy has put together a guide for ways to participate in Non-GMO Month as well. Here's the link for reference: