I haven’t written about genetically modified (GMO) foods before because, frankly, I came a bit late to the party. For a long time I wasn’t paying attention. Plus, I bought into a lot of the arguments put forth by industry: that GMO increases yields, reduces pesticide use, benefits farmers, brings economic benefits, benefits the environment, reduces energy use, and will help feed the world.
Some of that may be true (though most of those arguments fall apart under close examination). But there’s a much darker side to GMO.
Genetic modification means splicing the genes from one species onto the genes of another. This is fundamentally different from breeding. We all know you can make a mule by breeding a horse with a donkey, or a Labradoodle by crossing a Labrador retriever with a poodle. GMO is more like putting the genes from a fish into a tomato Or a cow’s genes into a pig.
It’s fraught with uncertainty, and huge potential for disaster. Why? Because we’re taking something that does not exist in nature and putting it in food.
And what does the body do with foreign compounds? It attacks them. Which always involves inflammation, which is a cause, a multiplier, a promoter, or a contributor of just about every degenerative disease we know of.
In addition, the gut is the first interface between food and the body. Inflammation in the gut almost always translates to a condition called leaky gut syndrome, in which the tight junctures within the gut (think of them as a kind of cheesecloth) start to loosen up. When this happens, the gut’s protective “fence” becomes less protective and all sorts of compounds can enter the bloodstream where they don’t belong.
Consider a little compound called glyphosate—which you may know by its commercial name, “Roundup,” the herbicide made by Monsanto. GMO crops are frequently “Roundup ready” which means you can spray them with Roundup without killing them. Even GMO crops that are not “Roundup ready” are frequently sprayed with Roundup because it’s a very effective dessicant, which means it dries crops before harvesting.
Which means whenever you eat GMO soy you’re consuming a nice dose of glyphosate.
Research studies on glyphosate show:
• Glyphosate (Roundup) is an antibiotic, but it kills some of the best bacteria in the microbiome, including bifidobacteria and lactobacillis.
• Glycphosate suppresses cytochrome CYP enzymes in the liver, meaning it compromises detoxification in the body.
• Glyphosate’s been shown to be an endocrine disrupter in human cells. (Translated: it screws around with your hormones.)
• Glyphosate changes human cell permeability.
• Glyphsoate amplifies toxicity
• Glyphsoate induces human breast cancer cell growth via estrogen receptors.
• Glyphosate accelerates cell proliferation (i.e. cancer) at tiny concentrations (measured in parts per billion to even parts per trillion)
All of the above findings were presented at a recent conference put on by the American College of Nutrition. If you want the references, shoot me an email.
Are you ready to learn the amounts of glyphosate legally permitted in food? I hope you’re sitting down.
The amount of glycphosate that’s legal for breakfast cereals is 30 parts per million (ppm). For soybeans, it’s 120 ppm.
One study showed that that just 1 ppm caused a 35 percent reduction in testosterone in rats.
The 9 crops that are always GMO in this country (unless they are labeled organic) are soy, corn (not popcorn), cottonseed (oil), canola (oil), sugar beets, papaya, zuchinni, yellow crookneck squash, and alfalfa.
And don’t count on transparency from the GMO folks. Nineteen states have proposed bills requiring that GMO products to be labeled truthfully so that consumers could actually know what they’re buying and make their own informed decisions.
Not one bill passed, even in health-conscious California.
Remember, we’re dealing with the lobbying and advertising budget of a company (Monsanto) that’s literally twice the size of Major League Baseball. In California, the ads convinced my fellow voters that labeling food as GMO would make it more expensive.
The bill was defeated.
Despite efforts to convince you that organic food is “no better” nutritionally than conventionally grown food, the truth is we don’t buy organic food for what’s in it.
We buy it for what’s not in it.
Like the genes from other species.
Posts by Jonny Bowden, PhD
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