How Can the Wealthiest Industrialized Nation be the Sickest?

Americans get sick more often than people from any other industrialized nation. Since the mid-1990s, the number of Americans suffering from at least three chronic illnesses nearly doubled:

  • Autism now affects one in 88 children (CDC1), compared to one in 25,000in the mid-1970s
  • Type 2 diabetes rates in the U.S. increased by 176 percent between 1980 and 2010
  • Celiac disease is four times more common now than 60 years ago
  • Alzheimer’s disease rates have doubled since 1980,  and it’s estimated that one in eight older Americans and nearly half of those age 85 and oldernow have it, have it.
  • New infectious diseases are increasing in number, according to a 2008 study.
As America tries to get a handle on its out of control healthcare costs, one of the main causes has gone relatively unexamined. While Genetically modified (GM) foods have been approved by US regulatory authorities under heavy lobbying pressure, evidence in mounting that they are profoundly detrimental to health. While Europeans have an easier time avoiding GM foods,  since laws require labeling, in the US and Canada, , food manufacturers are not required to label if their food is genetically modified or not.  Here are some guidelines for steering clear of GM foods in your diet. WikiHow has pulished these guidelines on How to Avoid Genetically Modified Foods.

5 Steps To Avoid GMO Foods

Here is a summary of some of the recommendations that can help you avoid disease:

1.Get To Know the Most Common Genetic Modification Applications

The products that are most likely to be genetically modified are:

  •  Soybeans – Gene taken from bacteria (Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4) and inserted into soybeans to make them more resistant to herbicides.
  • Corn – There are two main varieties of GE corn. One has a Gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis inserted to produce the Bt toxin, which poisons Lepidoteran (moths and butterflies) pests. There are also several events which are resistant to various herbicide. Present in high fructose corn syrup and glucose/fructose which is prevalent in a wide variety of foods in America.
  • Rapeseed/Canola – Gene added/transferred to make crop more resistant to herbicide.
  • Sugar beets – Gene added/transferred to make crop more resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
  • Cotton – engineered to produce Bt toxin. The seeds are pressed into cottonseed oil, which is a common ingredient in vegetable oil and margarine.
  • Dairy – Cows injected with GE hormone rBGH/rBST; possibly fed GM grains and hay.
  • Sugar. In 2012 the FDA approved GMO Beet Sugars to be allowed to be sold on the market under the name…. “SUGAR” So now, when we go to buy “All Natural” Breyer’s Ice Cream, we can’t even know for sure that we are actually eating regular natural cane sugar. If you see “CANE SUGAR” there’s a good chance it’s not GMO. This is one of the biggest frustrations with labelling, as sugar is in so many things, and we might be avoiding food that POSSIBLY has GMO sugar, but really does not.
  • Papayas.
  • Zuchini.
  • Corn sold directly to the consumer at Roadside stands / markets. Buy organic corn, popcorn, corn chips only.
  • Baked goods: Often has one or more of the common GM ingredients in them. Why do we need corn or soy in our bread, snacks or desserts? It’s hard to find mixes to use as well. Some brands avoid GMs, find one you like and try to stick with it. Organic is one option, learning how to cook brownies, etc, from scratch with your own organic oils is another.

 2. Buy Food Labeled 100% Organic

US and Canadian governments do not allow manufacturers to label something 100% organic ifit has been genetically modified or  fed genetically modified feed. However, “organic” does not mean that it does not contain GMs, since it can still contain up to 30% GMs. Look for these certifications:

  • QAI, Oregon Tilth, and CCOF.
  • USDA Organic standards are far lower.
  • Eggs labeled “free-range”, “natural”, or “cage-free” are not necessarily GE-free, so look for eggs labled 100% organic

3. Recognize Fruit and Vegetable Label Numbers

Here are some guidelines:
  • If it has a 4-digit number, the food is conventionally produced.
  • If it has a 5-digit number beginning with an 8, it is GM. However, PLU labeling is optional.
  • If it has a 5-digit number beginning with a 9, it is organic.

4. Purchase 100% Grass-fed Beef

Most cattle in the U.S. are fed on grass but speend their late years in feedlots and may be given GM corn to increase intramuscular fat and marbling. This applies as well to other herbivores such as sheep. Meat bought locally has less chance of having been fed GM alfalfa.  For pigs and poultry, look for 100% organic.

5. Shop Locally, Buy Whole Foods, And Grow Your Own

  • Most GM foods come from large, industrial farms. Try shopping at farmers’ markets, subscribibng to a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, or patronizing a local co-op.
  • Buy whole foods. Buy foods that you can cook and prepare yourself, rather than foods that are processed or prepared.
  • Grow your own:  This is the only way to know exactly what you’re , eating, what went into growing it, and ensuring fresh, healthful food.

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