Choosing food at the supermarket is a difficult task to begin with because of the countless brands and varieties available. And if you’re looking for foods that are completely safe for consumption among those, GMO foods are likely to make things harder for you.
A genetically modified organism, or GMO, is a modified version of a naturally existing organism. This modification is the result of changes introduced in the organism at a genetic level. A result of advanced gene technology, GMOs include genetically modified plants, which are designed to grow faster and provide a better yield. The resulting crops are also resistant to certain diseases or are able to survive extreme weather conditions. So, genetically modified foods, or GMO foods, include fruits and vegetables produced from such plants with altered DNA.
However, the consumption of these genetically engineered foods can cause the development of diseases that are resistant to antibiotics. And although almost 90% of the foods today are genetically modified in some way or the other, here is a list of the top 10 such GMO foods you should absolutely avoid.
Research suggests that consuming genetically modified corn may cause serious damage to the small intestine. In fact, an increased consumption of such corn has been found to change the tissue and cell structure of the intestines of rats during digestion.1 However, further research is required to confirm these findings in humans.
It is advisable to buy corn after checking for a certification label that indicates it is organic.
2. Canola Oil
Extracted from rapeseed, canola oil is often marketed as a healthy, low-fat cooking oil. However, most of the rapeseed crops today are genetically modified and using the oil may cause health issues. It’s a good idea to choose alternatives like olive or grapeseed oil instead.
Genetically modified soybeans are easily available, and you may often consume them in the form of soy milk, soy flour granules, and tofu. Frequent consumption of such soybeans could trigger new allergies as the body’s immune system is introduced to new challenges. The effects of genetically modified soy may even begin to appear up to the third generation of the individual consuming them.
Experts believe that genetically modified (GM) potatoes are worse than GM grains like rice or maize. This is because the GM traits are present in every potato instead of being scattered into smaller quantities, as in the case of grains and seeds. The consumption of GM potatoes has been found to cause severe digestive issues resulting from the rapid growth of gastric mucosa.2 However, current research findings have been confined to rats and need to be confirmed in humans.
While the original aim of genetic modification of tomatoes was to improve yield, the process also gets rid of a majority of the nutrients in them. Also, regular intake of genetically modified tomatoes tends to make the human body resistant to antibiotics.3
Rice crops are genetically modified in order to make them resistant to herbicides and to improve their nutritional content. However, there is great uncertainty about the process of gene transfer in the case of rice – it is still unclear how the modified rice DNA interacts with the human digestive system and affects future crops. Once GM rice has entered the food chain, it can have lasting effects, the safety of which is yet to be proven.
Genetically modified milk is derived from cows that are injected with a bioengineered growth hormone known as rBGH. This hormone not only causes severe stress and discomfort in the cows but also makes the milk harmful for consumption. rBGH milk contains a higher than normal level of IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor 1. High levels of this growth factor affect the human body’s natural ability to fight cancer.4 Also, GM milk has an altered nutrient content – increased saturated fatty acids and fat – which may lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular ailments.
Developed for resistance to the dangerous ringspot virus, GM papaya has been largely grown and circulated since 1999. Just like GM tomatoes, GM papayas can cause antibiotic resistance in humans.
9. Sugar Beets
Bioengineers have developed herbicide-resistant beets that can survive even after being sprayed with several chemicals that kill off the unwanted weeds. As a result, most sugar beets you buy may be coated with stubborn toxic chemicals that are hard to remove but can easily enter your body and cause gastrointestinal problems, urinary discomfort, and allergies.
Genetically modified squash contains strains of multiple viruses that makes it immune to the diseases caused by those viruses. However, this also means that those who consume genetically modified squash also ingest the virus strains, the health effects of which are yet to be studied in depth.
The damage caused by many GMO foods is long term and irreversible. You can steer clear of drastic health issues caused by such foods by simply switching to organic fruits and vegetables. So, the next time you decide to pick up food items from a store, check the label to see if it’s organic before you buy it.
|↑1||Ibrahim, Marwa AA, and Ebtsam F. Okasha. “Effect of genetically modified corn on the jejunal mucosa of adult male albino rat.” Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology 68, no. 10 (2016): 579-588.|
|↑2||Ewen, Stanley WB, and Arpad Pusztai. “Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine.” The Lancet 354, no. 9187 (1999): 1353-1354.|
|↑3||Maghari, Behrokh Mohajer, and Ali M. Ardekani. “Genetically modified foods and social concerns.” Avicenna journal of medical biotechnology 3, no. 3 (2011): 109.|
|↑4||Dunn, Sandra E., Rebecca A. Hardman, Frank W. Kari, and J. Carl Barrett. “Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) alters drug sensitivity of HBL100 human breast cancer cells by inhibition of apoptosis induced by diverse anticancer drugs.” Cancer Research 57, no. 13 (1997): 2687-2693.|