Unless you’ve been living “off the grid” for the past 10 years or so, you know that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are in just about every kind of processed food on the supermarket shelves. Extensive animal testing has shown that foods containing GMOs cause health problems, ranging from gastrointestinal upsets and infertility to organ damage, immune system impairment, and accelerated aging. The FDA not only approves these potentially dangerous ingredients, but also, as of this writing, does not require food manufacturers to list GMO ingredients on their labels.
The most common genetically engineered ingredients in processed foods are corn, soy, beet sugar, and vegetable oils that are derived from GMO crops. The natural health crowd refers to them as the “Factory Four.” Here’s the lowdown on these infiltrators and what to look out for:
Corn. About 90 percent of the corn grown in the United States is genetically engineered. Most of it goes into animal feed and from there makes its way into meat, poultry, and eggs. The rest is converted into corn flour, corn oil, cornmeal, and high-fructose corn syrup — some of the most common ingredients in processed foods.
Soy. A full 93 percent of the American soy crop has been genetically altered. Like corn, a lot of it winds up as critter feed, but plenty also goes into your chow in the form of soybean oil, soy milk, soy flour, soy proteins, soy sauce, and soy lecithin.
Beet sugar. More than half of the sugar produced in America comes from sugar beets, a staggering 95 percent of which has been genetically modified. Unless a product label specifically lists “pure cane sugar,” there’s a good chance that the stuff has been sweetened with GMO beet sugar.
Vegetable oils. Corn, soybean, canola, and cottonseed oils are all made primarily from GMO varieties. On the other hand, you can rest easy with olive, peanut, grapeseed, coconut, almond, sunflower, and safflower oils because those crops are not genetically engineered — at least not yet!
The Non-GMO Project and the Institute for Responsible Technology have done us all a big favor by publishing the whole roster of brand-name products that are free of these monstrous health destroyers. To download your free copy or order a pocket-size version that you can take along on shopping day, visit www.nongmoshoppingguide.com