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3 Things That Should Worry You Far More Than GMOs

Jeremy Hendon | September 1
worse than gmos

I’m going to write a longer article on GMOs very soon.

And it’s going to be extremely unpopular.  Everyone loves to hate GMOs.

However, despite over 30 years of research into GMOs (mostly not funded by the industry), nearly 100% of the science has proven that GMOs are safe.

Now…you can’t actually prove that anything is safe.  You could test it a billion times, and the time after that might be the one case where it’s really dangerous.

But still…30 years is 30 years.

GMOs Are The Last Thing We Should Be Worried About

I don’t actually care if anybody is worried about GMOs.

genetically modified organisms

People worry about all sorts of things that don’t really matter.  I do it myself.

Still, GMOs are just about the last thing you need to be worrying about when it comes to your health.  And here’s the reason…

We know for sure that certain things are causing pandemic health problems:

1.     Gluten
2.     Excess Processed Sugar
3.     Vegetable and Seed Oils

The science on these things is pretty solid.  They’re not good for humans, and our increased consumption of them is making us fat, sick, and dead.

There’s no doubt about it.

And then there’s this question…

“When was the last time you knew someone who died of a disease or condition that was caused by GMOs?”

And the answer?

Never.

Most people loudly assert that they don’t want to be part of this GMO experiment, that genetic manipulation is excessively dangerous, and that GMOs cause cancer or other diseases.

But genetic modification is not different from selective breeding and natural, random mutation, except to the degree that we more precisely control it.  While there are certainly dangers (natural mutations also present plenty of dangers), the risks are not definitively large or proven.

And in addition, we’ve been selectively breeding plants (and thereby modifying their DNA) for 10,000 years.

The point is that there are much, much bigger concerns than GMOs, and while you are welcome to avoid them, don’t let that fool you into thinking that you’re being healthy if you’re still eating sugary treats!

Images: Copyright (c) fishhawk cc and igor from Fotolia

Shirley Goff - September 1

I am not hugely worried about GMO’s per se. Monsanto’s et al GMO’s were created so that they can be doused with herbicide (glyphosate) and soon with 2,4,D (from Agent Orange), traces of which remain in the crops we eat. I have read that these herbicides last even longer in water than they do in soil. If “traces” of something are in much of what we eat, it is bound to contribute to our lousy health statistics. GMO’s that improve nutrition or flavor have not yet been offered to us. There is also the issue of farmer’s being able to use their own saved seed from year to year as farmers always have, which they cannot do with the current GMO’s. There is also the issue of cross-species GMO’s, such as mouse and fish DNA in crops. I don’t want to eat it. GMO’s are not a uniform issue. What type of GMO are you talking about?

    Jeremy Hendon - September 1

    A few points (but remember, I’m not actually supporting GMOs – just pointing out that there are worse health things to worry about):

    1. Herbicide resistance is, so far, the most popular type of modern genetic modification, but it’s not the only one. Pest resistance (e.g., maize resistant to certain insects) and disease resistance (papaya resistant to ringspot virus) are also popular modifications. And in the pipeline of GMOs, the biggest research is going toward increased nutrients and increased yield. The thing about herbicide resistance is that it doesn’t mean GMOs contain more herbicides – in many cases, it means they contain less, because a more effective herbicide can be used in lower quantities. Obviously, I also want to eat as little herbicide as possible (preferably none), but that’s a separate issue from GMOs.

    2. Most farmers either had already begun buying seeds every year (long before GMOs in the case of plants like corn) or else were mostly buying seeds every year (in the case of crops like soy). Here’s a brief history: http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/260671/aib786g_1_.pdf.

    3. Your point about “what type of GMO” are we talking about is an excellent one. I question how we group “GMOs” at all? Humans have been genetically modifying plants and animals for over 10,000 years. Most of that modification was intra-species, and as you alluded to, we’re now able to do it inter-species in some ways. But despite the fact that we’ve been genetically modifying foods for as long as agriculture (grafting is a perfect example), we’re somehow classifying the more precise laboratory version as different, which I’ve never been able to reconcile scientifically.

    In any event, almost no Paleo foods are GMO. Papaya is the one big exception. So in the end, it’s a fairly moot discussion, since the most genetically modified foods (corn, sugar beets, soy, canola, cotton, etc.) are all pretty unhealthy to begin with.

wendy - September 1

I can’t read the rest of your GMO article as the “Read More” link is dead. I’m very interested to see where you go with this but I have to say, for someone who represents a diet that “recommends avoiding any foods that are thought not to have been available to humans outside of the paleolithic timeframe”, I’m shocked to see that you believe that something that was created in the last 30 years by altering the DNA of our food source, would fit a paleo lifestyle. Startled actually.

    Jeremy Hendon - September 1

    Fixed the “Read More” link. Thanks for letting me know.

    I’m much more interested in what’s healthy for us than what was around a million years ago. Humans have been altering the DNA of foods for as long as we’ve selectively cultivated plants. Pretty much none of the plants or animals we eat now are genetically the same as the plants or animals our ancestors ate. We just alter genetics in a more precise manner now. Still, read the article now that the link is fixed. Personally, I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from avoiding GMOs – just pointing out that there are more important health issues with our food.

Stacy Peterson - September 6

Great post. Thank you! You make valid and reasonable points. The anti-GMO crusade is a red herring for those truly interested in human health.

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