Good morning! I’m glad everyone enjoyed my video blog post yesterday. I will try to do more video posts in the future, as I will have less time to type and videos are much faster to create! I also plan to make my posts a lot shorter in the future, but still very informative.
The topic of today’s post is GMOs, and much of the information is from my favorite magazine; Today’s Dietitian Magazine.
What are GMOs?
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are organisms, which have had their genetic material modified in some way. Most often the modification is done by a technique known as recombinant DNA (rDNA). With this technique two unrelated pieces of DNA (certain segments of DNA, called genes, are what carry genetic information) are spliced, or combined to create another DNA (DNA has two strands, so once the two unrelated strands are combined, that creates a new DNA). This process allows specific desirable traits to be transferred from one organism to another, which includes traits from unrelated species. The transferred gene is then able to carry instructions for making a protein, which then controls the rest of the GMOs biological processes and determines each of its characteristics.
Chances are this tomato was genetically modified!
Foods such as soy, corn, rice, canola, potatoes, and tomatoes have been genetically engineered since 1996, most often with herbicide-tolerant traits. It’s estimated that 60% to 70% of the food products in your local grocery store have at least one genetically modified ingredient. Here is what the proponents and opponents are saying about GMO’s:
– This procedure can reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides, because specific genes can be created, making the crop resistant to specific insects and weeds.
– Crops modified to produce their own pesticides and herbicides will promote resistance among the pests, which will eventually lead to the use of even more synthetic chemicals.
– GMOs may provide more nutritional value, specifically by allowing the creation of special genes that produce more important nutrients, such as vitamin A (many children and adults are deficient in vitamin A in third world countries, which causes death and disease), iron (similar to vitamin A, many people in third world countries eat mainly rice, which is low in iron, therefore many individuals are extremely iron deficient). Scientists have already created rice with added iron and vitamin A, which have saved the lives of thousands of people.
– There are several health concerns. First, there is a potential for allergenicity due to the introduction of novel proteins. Second, there is a potential for antibiotic-resistant genes, which are used as selective markers in the rDNA process. These could be transferred to gut bacteria and thus alter the guts response to anti-microbial therapies.
– The antibiotic-resistance genes that are feared by opponents would likely be degraded by stomach acid, thus not cause any harm.
In my opinion, genetically modified crops are a fantastic way to increase the nutritional quality of foods in third world countries, but I really don’t think we need to increase the nutritional value of the foods here in America. We aren’t an unhealthy society due to not having enough food, such as those in third world countries. We in fact have the opposite problem, where we have too much food and we are consuming too much of all the wrong kinds. Adding vitamins, minerals, and/or Omega-3 to crops is similar to pumping vitamins and minerals into a water bottle or soda pop. It just masks the problem and gives people more excuse to eat less veggies and fruits because they will have more nutrients in just one or two servings.
My problem is that while there may not be much evidence of any concerns now, who knows what the future will hold? I’d like to think that since this has been happening for over 16 years now these foods must be safe, but I’m no idiot. I know that our government tries their best to make sure all that we eat is safe, but that’s clearly not always the case. Another issue I have is that we never know if we are consuming something that is genetically modified. The only way to know if something isn’t a GMO is if it is organic, so if you want to stay away from GMOs you’ll have to buy all organic foods, which is close to impossible during this time of economic hardship. I think we as Americans have a right to know what we put in our mouths, whether it’s good or bad. Will I freak out if I consume a GMO? Not at all, as it turns out I’ve been consuming them for years, but do I want to have the ability to say “no” if I want? Of course. We all do.
– If you want to make sure your food is not genetically modified, you’ll have to purchase all organic, as the organic seal can only be used if a food is not genetically modified.
– Want to learn more? Visit this site to learn more pros and cons, and make your own decision about GMOs.
Question: What are your thoughts on GMOs? Are you for them, against them, or in the middle like me?
Nick and I are throwing our “big” house warming party on Saturday, then cleaning up and recovering (hehe) on the fourth. I plan on posting an update to my “About Me” page on Saturday, which is just something I feel I should do since it’s been about a year since my last update!
What’s everyone doing for the fourth??
Don’t forget about my giveaway! I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Have a great day everyone.