Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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New 90-Day Rat Study Destroys Corporate Propaganda

GM proponents who constantly drone on with untrue claims that the science has clearly demonstrated GMOs as safe were dealt yet another blow shortly before Thanksgiving this past year.

This is because yet another study has been published demonstrating the negative health effects of GMOs on the intestinal tract.

This study by Ibrahim and Okasha entitled “Effect of genetically modified corn on the jejunal mucosa of adult male albino rat.,” and published in the journal Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology has demonstrated that rats fed GM Bt corn MON810 for only 90 days did indeed suffer rather serious damage to the surface mucous membranes of the jejunum – which is part of the small intestine.

The specific type of corn fed to the rats was MON810: Ajeeb YG. This is a GM version of Ajeeb, which is a local species of corn grown in Egypt. The GM version was created by Monsanto for the Egyptian market.

The rats who were fed the GM corn were given the MON810 corn as 30% of their diet. The control group was given the same amount of non-GMO corn.

In the group fed GM corn, the finger-like structures in the intestine known as villi that absorbs nutrients from food were clearly damaged. They were both distorted and flattened and some cells were even joined together.

The study includes images and shows photographs of the damage. There were also signs of inflammation around the areas of damage in the form of white blood cell infiltration. The mucosal glands were disturbed and blood vessels were congested. There was also an increased level of shedding of mucosal cells, higher rates of division of cells lining the mucosal glands and larger numbers of mucous secreting goblet cells.

The damage to the GM-fed rats was so obvious, that the researchers concluded, “consumption of GM-corn profoundly alters the jejunal histological [microscopic] structure”

They also added that,

Results from the current study could show that in spite of the assuring reports on GM products, GM corn has profoundly altered the histological structure of the jejunal mucosa at many levels and revealed several alarming signs, as the proliferative and eroded hemorrhagic lesions in addition to several ultrastructural alterations described here for the first time for jejunum under GM corn influence.

The researchers also called for more research to be done in order to determine exactly how this strain of GM corn inflicted this type of damage on the intestinal system. Their suppositions include direct damage as a result of the Bt toxin or indirect damage as a result of gut bacteria disruption.

The limitations of the study include the fact that the control group was not given the Ajeeb non-GM variety and there was no analysis in terms of the possibility of the presence of pesticide residues and other contaminants. Still, the findings of this new study are extremely significant in that they demonstrate that at best, GM MON810: Ajeeb YG causes damage to the intestinal system.

gmos greed

However, the results do seem to indicate that it is the process of genetic modification that is the cause of this damage. This is not the only study of its kind.

As GM Watch writes,

Two earlier rat feeding studies by Egyptian scientists on the same GM corn, MON810: Ajeeb YG, showed harm in the GM-fed animals. In these cases, the comparator was the appropriate non-GM parent variety Ajeeb, so the ill effects shown in the rats were due to the GM process.
In the first study, rats fed the MON810: Ajeeb YG for 45 and 91 days showed differences in organ and body weights and in blood biochemistry, compared with rats fed the non-GM Ajeeb parent variety grown side-by-side under the same conditions. The authors noted that the changes could indicate “potential adverse health/toxic effects”, which needed further investigation.
In the second study, histopathological (microscopic) investigations by the same group of researchers found toxic effects in multiple organs in the rats fed the GM MON810: Ajeeb YG Bt corn for 91 days. Effects included abnormalities and fatty degeneration of liver cells, congestion of blood vessels in kidneys, and excessive growth and necrosis (death) of the intestinal villi. Examination of the testes revealed necrosis and desquamation (shedding) of the spermatogonial cells that are the foundation of sperm cells and thus of male fertility.
It is significant that the findings of the second study, namely cell abnormalities, congestion of blood vessels, and damage to the intestinal villi were also found in the new study by Ibrahim and Okasha.

It should be noted, that in both of these studies the non-GM Ajeeb variety was used for the control group, thus demonstrating that the process of genetic modification is most likely the culprit for such damage. Likewise it should be noted that the rats showed now outward signs of illness (possibly due to the short duration of the study) but they were clearly sick.

Perhaps now we can begin putting to rest the disingenuous claims by GMO proponents that there are no studies showing the dangers of GMOs. As more and more studies are published demonstrating the danger of GMOs – corporations, governmental regulatory bodies and scientific call girls as well as the fake news media outlets that constantly tout the benefits of GMOs will continue to lose their credibility.

By Brandon Turbeville    JANUARY 3, 2017


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What is Clean Eating?

January 9, 2014      Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD

The first time I heard the word ‘clean’ in relation to food was way back in the mid 1990s. I attended a conference about supermarket trends, and learned that grocery chains were starting to “clean up” store brand ingredient lists by removing unrecognizable terms. Back then, this move was considered controversial, because it involved doing away with added nutrients, listed by their technical, non-household names (like pantothenic acid, a B vitamin), as well as eliminating preservatives, which meant short shelf lives (e.g. would consumers really want bread that gets hard or moldy within a few days?).

But, the writing was on the wall. Consumers were starting to pay attention to how foods were made, and what they were made of, health food stores were attracting more and more customers, and Wild Oats Markets (a chain of natural food stores and farmer’s markets, later acquired by Whole Foods) experienced a remarkable 4-year growth of 544% between 1989 and 1993, making it one of the fastest growing small companies in America.

Today, two decades down the road, clean eating, or eating clean, is a major movement, spurred by people from all walks of life, who want to feel good about what they’re putting in their bodies. When I asked via Twitter, “What does clean eating mean to you?” I received a variety of replies, from simply ‘eating fresh fruits and veggies,’ to ‘not eating anything artificial.’ Over the years, I’ve honed my personal definition of what it means to eat clean, and while I’m sure it will continue to evolve, here’s my current take on what this philosophy (which I’m a huge fan of) is all about:

Eat whole foods
This one is pretty straightforward–instead of a banana nut muffin, eat a banana and some nuts! The primary principle of eating clean is to replace processed foods with fresh and natural foods. To me, this means foods that haven’t had anything added to them, and haven’t had anything valuable taken away. So, even if you’re not growing quinoa in your back yard, you can buy this whole grain in the bulk section of your market, or in a box, where the only ingredient is quinoa, and only quinoa. That’s a far cry from a refined grain, that’s been stripped of its fiber-rich bran (outer skin) and nutritious germ (the inner part that sprouts into a new plant), bleached, and doctored up with preservatives.

Let ingredients guide you
I don’t think it’s realistic to never eat anything that comes out of a jar, box, or bag, but when you do, the very first thing a clean eater looks at is the ingredient list. Reading it is the only way to really know what’s in your food, and choose foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. For example, I was once at the market with a client who was on a mission to clean up her diet. She said, “I bet crackers are out of the question, right?” My response was, “Let’s look at the ingredients!” I picked up one of my favorite brands, which are made with: organic short grain brown rice, organic whole quinoa, organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, organic brown flax seeds, organic brown sesame seeds, organic poppyseeds, filtered water, sea salt, organic sea weed, organic black pepper, organic herbs – all “real” and recognizable ingredients; a list that practically reads like a recipe I could recreate in my own kitchen. We then checked out her usual brand, made with (among other things): sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate, and TBHQ (short for tertiary butylhydroquinone). Dumfounded she said, “I saw reduced fat on the box and assumed it was OK, I never even thought about reading the ingredients.” Bingo! Clean eating is about focusing on quality first, and not letting terms like zero trans fat, low sodium, or sugar free, fool you into thinking that a processed food is healthy.

veggies
Think big picture
In addition to reading ingredient lists, so you can ditch products made with artificial additives, including flavors, sweeteners, colors, and preservatives, clean eating is about steering clear of foods made from genetically modified organisms, and those treated with hormones and antibiotics, and going organic when possible, to reduce foods grown with man-made pesticides and fertilizers. In my opinion, clean eating considers how these issues affect you, as well as how they influence the planet, and their bearing on a sustainable food supply. In other words, in addition to choosing not to pollute your body with substances that serve no biological purpose, clean eating is also about connecting the dots regarding how food production impacts issues like the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, algae blooms, and “dead zones” in our oceans, and the effects of substances like BPA on our metabolisms. This is why clean eating is a movement, not a trend.



Do-it-yourself
One aspect clean eating I really love is replacing packaged foods with homemade versions, from salad dressing to energy bars, and everything in between. I call it “retrotarian” eating, because it harkens back to a time before things like frozen chicken nuggets existed, and many of the do-it-yourself substitutes are very simple. For example, when I make a stir fry, instead of buying a pre-made sauce, laden with sodium, sugar and preservatives, I whisk together a little brown rice vinegar, fresh squeezed citrus juice, minced garlic, and fresh grated ginger. These days, you can find a clean recipe for just about anything, including five-ingredient ice cream, and “old school” food trends, like homemade baby food, and pickling veggies in Mason jars, are making major comebacks.



Listen to your body
To me, part of eating clean is thinking of food as preventative medicine. After all, the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ is literally true, so being thoughtful about your food just makes sense. Nutrients create the foundation for the structure and function of every cell in your body, and because your body is in a continuous state of maintenance and repair, the health and functioning of your cells is directly determined by what you’ve been eating. Whole, natural foods provide the building blocks that go to work to uphold your muscles, bones, organs, immune system, and hormones. So cleaning up your diet is a lot like starting to build and support your body with the highest quality raw materials. For these reasons, I’ve seen a commitment to clean eating truly transform my clients’ lives, from clearer, glowing skin and shinier hair to more energy, better mood and sleep quality, clearer thinking, less aches and pains, and even a greater sex drive. And if they slip back into old patterns, they really feel the effects. After going on a trip, relying on processed “road food” for a long weekend, and feeling like a zombie, one client couldn’t wait to get back to eating clean. And when she did, her bloating, fatigue, and apathy disappeared. Pretty powerful! So if you’re just getting started, begin by pulling out the foods in your fridge, freezer, and cupboards, reading the ingredients, and cleaning house, no pun intended. Then stock up on real food replacements, and record how you feel. 

Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. Connect with Cynthia on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


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For Your Health: Organic versus Non-Organic

  • Organic Index 11.20.13             Organic Consumers Association, November 20, 2013 
For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s  All About Organics page , our  Myth of Natural page and our  Genetic Engineering page . 

Consumer demand for healthy, sustainably grown food has grown the organic market from just $1 billion in 1990 to nearly $30 billion today. Increasingly, consumers are saying “No” to foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), “No” to highly processed junk foods, and “No” to foods that come from factory farms.

Health tops the list of concerns about GMOs, junk foods and food from factory farms. But consumers aren’t just rejecting these foods because of their potential to cause health problems. They’re consciously choosing organic for its nutritional superiority

The health safety benefits of organic foods are well known. For the most part, organic farming prohibits the use of toxic pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, nanoparticles, climate-destabilizing chemical fertilizers like toxic sewage sludge or coal waste, and genetically engineered ingredients. 

But recent studies reveal that organic foods, especially raw or non-processed, are also substantially more nutritious. They contain higher levels of beta carotenevitamins C, Dand E, health-promoting polyphenols, cancer-fighting antioxidants,flavonoids that help ward off heart disease, essential fatty acids, essential minerals, and significantly lower levels of saturated fats.


A Nutritional Comparison: Organic Versus Non-Organic

Organically grown apples, potatoes, pears, wheat, and sweet corn have drastically higher nutritional content than their conventionally grown counterparts, including:

63: Percent more calcium.
78: Percent more chromium. 
73: Percent more iron. 
118: Percent more magnesium. 
178: Percent more molybdenum. 
91: Percent more phosphorus. 
125: Percent more potassium. 
60: Percent more zinc.
Between 20 and 40: Additional percentage of nutrients found in organic wheat, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, onions and lettuce compared with their conventional counterparts. 
40: Additional percentage of antioxidants contained in organic fruit and vegetables compared with non-organic. 
30: Percentage increase in levels of flavonoids contained in organic vegetables compared with conventionally grown produce.
25: Average percentage organic foods are more nutritious in terms of vitamins and minerals than products derived from industrial agriculture. 
55: Additional percentage of vitamin C contained in organic tomatoes at the stage of commercial maturity, compared with conventional tomatoes. 
79 and 97: Percentage increase in levels of quercetin and kaempferol, both flavonoids, in organic tomatoes compared with conventional tomatoes. A10-year study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry compared organic tomatoes with standard produce and found that organic tomatoes had almost double the quantity of antioxidants.
139:
 Additional percentage of phenolic content (associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, and some forms of cancer) contained in organic tomatoes at the stage of commercial maturity, compared with conventional tomatoes. 
57: Additional percentage of lycopene (considered a potential agent for prevention of some types of cancers, particularly prostate cancer) contained in organic ketchup with conventional national brands. 
50: Percentage increase in levels of antioxidants in organic ketchup compared with conventional major national brands. 
30: Average percentage increase in levels of resveratrol (antioxidant linked to reduce risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and heart disease) found in organic red grapes compared with conventionally grown red grapes.
49: Average percentage of whole food ingredients contained in organic breads, versus 24 percent in “natural” bread and only 12 percent in conventional bread. Preservative/Additive ingredients made up 27 percent of conventional bread ingredients versus only 10 percent and 7 percent in “natural” and organic bread, respectively. 
40: Percentage increase in levels of some nutrients (including vitamin C, zinc and iron) found in organic produce compared with conventional produce. 
58: Percentage increase of polyphenols (antioxidants that help prevent cardiovascular disease) in organically grown berries and corn compared with conventionally grown berries and corn.
52: Percentage increase in levels of vitamin C in organically grown berries and corn compared with conventionally grown berries and corn. 
8.5: Percentage increase in total antioxidant activity in organic strawberries compared with conventional berries, including 9.7% more ascorbic acid, and 10.5% more total phenolics.
10 Times: The amount of eriocitrin (an antioxidant) contained in a glass of organic lemonade compared with a glass of its conventional counterpart. 
3 times: The amount the flavonoid eriocitrin contained in organic lime juice compared with conventional lime juice.

Sources:
State of Science Review: Elevating Antioxidant Levels in …
EU-funded Quality Low Input Food Project Indicates Signif…
Fruit and Soil Quality of Organic and Conventional Strawb…
The Impact of Organic Farming on Quality of Tomatoes Is A…
Ten-Year Comparison of the Influence of Organic and Conve…
A Metabolomic Approach Differentiates between Conventiona…
State of Science Review: Nutritional Superiority of Organ…
Organic Farming, Food Quality and Human Health, The Soil …
State of Science Review: New Evidence Confirms the Nutrit…
A Comparison of Carotenoid Content and Total Antioxidant …  
Organic Foods Contain Higher Levels of Certain Nutrients,…
Grains: An In-Depth Study, The Organic Center 
Organic Fruit and Vegetables Really Are Better for Your H…
Organic Food is More Nutritious than Conventional Food, J…
First Step: Organic Food and a Healthier Future, The Orga…

J.A. Yanez et al., “Pharmacokinetics of Selected Chiral Flavonoids: Hesperetin, Naringenin, and Eriodictyol in Rats and their Content in Fruit Juices,” Biopharmaceutics Drug Disposition, Vol. 29, pp. 63-82, September 2007

Compiled by Zack Kaldveer, assistant media director for the Organic Consumers Association.


source: www.organicconsumers.org


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Yes, Organic Can Cost More. Here Are 10 Reasons Why It’s Worth It

Maria Rodale   CEO and Chairman of Rodale, Inc.   10/21/2013  

What if you knew the government and certain businesses were messing with your brain? Well, they are. As Ellen Ruppel Shell writes in her book Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, governments and some big businesses know that most people get the same buzz from a good discount as they get from gambling. But as with gambling, the “house” always wins.

For every big-win story, there are thousands more who’ve lost. This discount technique comes into play in our food as well, as no government subsidies or handouts are given to organic farmers, putting the cost of paying for pricey certifications, inspections and high insurance plans solely on them. This is why the things you buy the most – such as milk and eggs – are dirt-cheap compared to their organic counterparts. Zap! That good deal just gave you a buzz that encourages you to resist organic.

So, allow me to attempt to rewire your brain a bit – or perhaps free it – with 10 reasons that organic is worth it!

Organic farmers get no government subsidies or handouts. Whether you are liberal or conservative, that’s a good thing. Although, it does mean that your tax dollars are paying for all that cheap food.

You will automatically become an environmentalist without having to make a donation or show up for a protest. Here’s a short list of things organic farmers help keep totally out of our soil, water, air and bodies: toxic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, sewage sludge, antibiotics and growth hormones. All of these are known to cause grave physical damage in people as well as bees, bats, frogs, and fish.

You will be healthier. You can pay more now or pay later (in health care costs). Agricultural chemicals are known to cause diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergies, asthma, infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, ADHD and perhaps even autism. And we’ve only scratched the surface in understanding what damage these toxins are doing to our health.

You can feel good about your contribution to a better world. It’s kind of like making a charitable donation, but instead of it filtering through a middleman, your money directly helps an entire chain of good people, families, and the environment they affect. Your health, too.

 

You are supporting families and businesses that are making the world better. I have seen this with my own eyes over and over again. Farm families that thought they would lose their farms because of the fluctuations of commodity milk prices switch to organic and not only save their farms, but also find that they are all healthier and happier as a result. And the companies that help them transition, like Organic Valley, are truly wonderful companies that do great things for their farmers, their customers, their employees, and the whole community.

You will be helping to prevent climate change. Seriously! Organic soil holds much more carbon, uses much less fossil fuel resources – which aren’t just used in tractors but are in the toxic chemicals that are made from fossil fuels used in nonorganic farming practices – and sustains habitats for all the creatures that help keep our planet healthy.

You will be helping to prevent droughts and floods. Research at the Rodale Institute and many other institutions have shown that organic soil is much more absorbent than chemically farmed soil. That means it holds more water during droughts and floods. Plants grown organically also have a much bigger and more resilient root system, so they can last longer in extreme weather.

You will be doing your part to leave the world a better place than you found it. Really, what is the price of that? And all you have to do is go food shopping and eat yummy stuff and perhaps buy organic cotton clothing for your body and home (cotton is one of the most toxic crops on the planet).

Karma Points: When you pay more for good things, other people can afford to pay you more. This is where the true economic brain rewiring happens. It might not seem like a direct link from one thing to another, but as Ellen Ruppell Shell shows in her book, everything is connected economically. Our obsession with cheap stuff actually shrinks all of our economies and pocketbooks and makes it much harder for employers to increase wages and spending. Try it. You’ll see it works. And at the very least, you will eat better in the process.

And lastly, it just tastes better. You are getting better-quality food that nine times out of 10 does taste better. Just ask my kids. Here’s what my seven-year-old said when she was eating a salad out at a restaurant in Manhattan: “This doesn’t taste good — it doesn’t taste organic; organic is better!”


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Top 10 Genetically Modified Food Products

By Diana Bocco

Like humans, all organisms have genetic material. When scientists alter genetic material, or DNA, it’s called genetic modification (GM). Genetically modifying foods or food crops can enhance taste and quality, increase nutrients or improve resistance to pests and disease. In some cases, GM foods help conserve natural resources, because the altered version might require less water or energy for processing.

The first genetically modified food to reach our tables was the Flavr Savr tomato. Grown in California, the Flavr Savr tomato received Food and Drug Administration approval in 1994, after two years of testing and assessment. Mounting costs made the crop unprofitable, however, and production ceased in 1997. Creation of the Flavr Savr opened the doors for other GM foods to make their way into our kitchens.

In the U.S., genetic modification has expanded into almost every area of food production. Scientists can introduce some sort of modification into the genes of crops, dairy products and animals. For example, ranchers and dairy farmers normally feed cattle a GM diet, which is in turn passed on to you when you drink milk or eat beef. Do you need to worry about what’s on your family’s dinner table? And are there some surprising benefits to GM foods? As you’ll see, this subject is one hot potato.

10. Sugar Beets
The sugar beet is one of the newest GM foods and one under severe scrutiny. Researchers produced an herbicide-resistant crop of GM sugar beets that was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2008 but banned in August 2010. The genetic modification was meant to improve production because beets grow slowly and tend to battle for light and nutrients with nearby weeds. In 2010, however, federal judge Jeffrey S. White revoked the USDA approval of genetically-modified sugar beets based on the USDA’s failure to present an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”). Until an EIS is conducted, planting, harvesting and processing of GM sugar beets has been halted .

Safety and Labeling of GM Foods
Regulation of GM foods varies from country to country. As of 2010, 35 nations around the world (including most of Europe) require labeling of GM foods if the food contains more than 0.9 percent of GMOs. In the U.S. and Canada, labeling is not mandatory. This makes identifying GMs much more difficult. The two easiest ways to avoid GM foods are: Look for packaging that has a clear non-GM label on the front or buy organic.

9. Potatoes
In 1991, the World Health Organization challenged scientists to look for a way to make vaccines accessible to everyone. This would mean that children in impoverished areas of the world wouldn’t have to travel for hours to a nearby village to get a shot. The scientists succeeded faster than expected, creating a cholera vaccine-like component by injecting a series of genes into a potato. These genes prompt the human immune system to produce its own cholera antibodies or “vaccine.” . The “anti-cholera potatoes” have not made it to the market yet; scientists need to figure out how to package the potatoes to easily distribute and market them.

Protecting potato crops is important too. Researchers are working on a way to produce potatoes that are resistant to disease caused by Phytophthora infestans. Phytophthora infestans can kill entire crops rapidly and was the cause of the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s.

People eat only 25 percent of the potatoes grown around the world today. The rest are used to feed livestock and in the starch industry. Scientists also are trying to find ways to make the potato easier to process so it can be of more use in the production of glue and lubricants. These potatoes would not be available for human consumption.

8. Corn
Bt-corn (named after the Bacillus thruringiensis bacterium) is a form of sweet corn that has been genetically modified to include an insect-killing gene. This means the farmer doesn’t have to spray with pesticides, because the insects die from eating the corn. No spraying means less harm to the environment and the workers handling the toxic spray . The move has caused debate, however. The same gene that attacks corn predators also appears to kill the Monarch butterfly.

According to the USDA, farmers in every state in the U.S. are growing at least some GM corn at any given time. The numbers are higher in the Southern and Midwestern regions, but South Dakota leads the pack, lending 47 percent of its corn crops to GM varieties. Because the U.S. is the largest producer of corn in the world, these numbers have a significant impact beyond the American borders.

7. Tomatoes
Although tomatoes were the first genetically modified food to reach the market, they have since been altered for only one reason: to make them last longer. GM tomatoes don’t rot as quickly as regular tomatoes, so they can tolerate longer periods of transportation. GM tomatoes also can be left to mature on the plants, rather than being picked green. This results in a more tasty tomato that doesn’t need to be stored until ripening.

The original GM tomatoes were resistant to antibiotics. This raised concerns that the gene might be passed on to humans, making us more resistant to antibiotics and in turn less capable of fighting infectious diseases. New forms of GM tomatoes don’t contain these genes, however.

Lematos
A team of Israeli scientists successfully combined a tomato and a lemon (actually, the gene known as ocimum basilicum geraniol synthase, which gives lemons their smell and taste) in 2007, creating what they called a lemato. The lemato is slightly red and has a mild, fruity smell. A panel of 82 testers identified the smell as “lemongrass” or “rose-like perfume.” The lemato has a longer shelf life than tomatoes and is more resistant to pests. However, the lemato doesn’t have the same high content of antioxidant lycopene that a tomato has. The lemato is not planned for production anytime soon. The team simply wanted to see if it was possible to change the aroma of a vegetable or fruit to make it more appealing.


6. Squash
Squash is more prone than some crops to viral diseases, which is why it was genetically modified to ensure crop survival. The original purpose was achieved, but the modification backfired in an unexpected way. It seems cucumber beetles that carry bacterial wilt disease like to feed on healthy plants, like the GM squash. After visiting unhealthy plants, they land on the nice, healthy GM squash plant and pig out, wounding the leaves and leaving open holes on them. When the beetles’ feces fall on the leaves, they’re absorbed into the stem and cause bacterial wilt disease.

Experts also believe that the GM squash may have already found its way into the wild by accident. GM foods are meant to be grown under controlled environments, in well-tended fields. If they’re introduced and mixed with wild varieties of the same species, a number of unpredictable environmental issues could occur, such as gene transfer or the plants becoming more vulnerable to bacterial diseases.

5. Golden Rice
Golden rice was first created to fight vitamin A deficiency, which affects 250 million people around the world and can cause blindness and even death. Rice is one of the most common foods on Earth. In fact, almost half of the world’s population survives on a single daily bowl of rice. Because getting vitamin supplements to every single person on the planet would be impossible, scientists believed that the answer was to create a grain of rice that already had vitamin A in it. And so golden rice was born. Its name came from the bright golden glow added beta-carotene causes. The body converts beta carotene into vitamin A .

Scientists now are working on a new GM rice. This new variety would have an iron gene, causing the grain of rice to become an important source of iron. Iron-deficiency causes low-birth-weight babies and anemia, both of which can be fatal. It hasn’t been possible to combine both vitamin A and iron in the same grain, but scientists are hopeful that this will be possible at some point in the future.

4. Soybean
As of 2004, 85 percent of the soybeans grown on U.S. soil have been genetically modified Because soy is widely used in the production of other items (including cereal, baked products, chocolate and even ice cream), chances are everybody in the U.S. is eating GM soy. It might be worth noting, however, that tofu and soy sauce are usually made from non-GM soybeans, a variation from most other soy products, which likely are GM-based. The bulk of the soybean crop is not destined to human consumption but instead used for livestock feed. For those who aren’t vegetarians, this becomes another source of GM foods, as the gene is passed on through the meat.

3. Oils
We don’t normally think of oils as part of our food list, but the truth is that they’re not only for cooking and flavoring, but show up as an ingredient in a large number of prepackaged foods we eat on a regular basis.

The U.S., India and China are the world’s largest producers of GM cottonseed oil. As a result, it’s hard to avoid this GM food, even if you don’t buy it bottled. In the U.S., GM-modified oils are sold as cooking oils, but also commonly used for frying snacks such as potato chips and also used in the production of margarine . Canola or rapeseed oil became an important crop only after being genetically modified. Before that, the oil was too bitter to be used in foods. The modification did away with the bitterness and also increased rapeseed’s resistance to herbicides. This allows crops to be sprayed with weed-control products without running the risk of affecting the actual crops.

2. Animal feed
A large percentage of animal feed is made up of crops such as soybeans. The world’s three largest producers and exporters of soybeans, the U.S., Argentina and Brazil, all grow mostly GM soybeans. This means the chances of livestock eating GM feed is very high, no matter where in the world you live. While not all corn is genetically modified, it is simply cheaper and more efficient to feed livestock the crops that are GM. The same is true of GM rapeseed oil used in the production and processing of animal feed.

A large part of the GM presence in animal feed does not come from foodstuff but instead from additives aimed at making food more nutritious. Animal feed is commonly enhanced with vitamins, amino acids, enzymes and even coloring. These additives are passed on to the animal’s system and eventually make their way into your body when you consume meat, eggs or dairy products. Traces of GM cannot, however, be detected in animal by-products, so it’s impossible to know if an animal was raised on GM-enhanced feed. Unless you buy organic meat and dairy products, it might be impossible to determine what you’re eating.

Coming Soon to Your Table – Whether You Want It or Not
Genetic modification of animals is not as simple and clear-cut as you might imagine. In 2002, a number of female pigs were injected with cow genes to increase their milk production and improve milk digestion, causing their piglets to grow faster. The piglets that were supposed to be destroyed were instead sold to livestock brokers and processed for meat. There was no control or follow-up on those specific animals, so although they ended up in grocery stores fried up as bacon, it’s impossible to know who ate them and where.

1. Salmon
Genetically engineered food from animals might not be on the market yet, but a few already have been approved. GM salmon is, as we speak, on its way to our dinner table. Wild salmon matures slowly, taking up to three years to reach its full size. GM salmon, on the other hand, not only will grow faster but also should reach about twice the size of its wild cousin. The creators of the GM salmon, a private company called AquaBounty, promises to harvest the salmon before it reaches its full size, thus preventing “giant” versions . The GM salmon, known as AquAdvantage, is meant to be grown in fish farms. According to proponents of the modification, this would reduce fishing of wild salmon, in turn protecting both the wild population of fish and the environment from human intrusion.

Ironically, the major concern in the production of GM salmon is its impact on the environment. Although the genetically engineered fish is supposed to be sterile, experts believe there’s no way this can be ensured, because DNA tends to mutate over time .

source: discovery.com


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Just Because Science Can Genetically Engineer Foods, Doesn’t Mean We Should

Beth Hoffman     8/26/2013 

Recently the debate over genetically modified (GMO) foods has heated up again.  In just the past few weeks, articles about GMOs have appeared in Slate, the New York Times, and Grist.  And over the weekend New York Times writer Amy Harmon wrote again of the saving graces of genetically engineered foods, this time citing “Golden Rice” as a clear example of the life saving abilities of GMOs.

Yet journalists on both sides of the argument seem to have forgotten there are many ways aside from “ science” to describe the world around us, and that there are other highly effective tools out there to solve hunger and malnutrition besides genetic engineering.

Let me be clear – I am not “afraid of science,” a claim that someone invariably writes at the end of an article like this one to try and discredit its argument.  I, like millions of people around the world, am against genetic engineering, but not because of the proven or refuted science behind it.

So the question is why?  Why am I part of a huge, and growing, group not willing to believe the “facts” (according to its proponents) about the benefits of genetic modification?  Why am I against the creation of Golden Rice, even if it may stop millions of children from going blind?

The basic answer is simple: trust.

Science has a credibility problem.  It has for too long been used to distort food and twist the natural into long lasting Twinkies and nutritionally void Lunchables.  Tobacco was good for us, we were told, and DDT was fine to spray on our fields.  Food dyes are all still considered safe for our kids to eat, and “natural” foods, we are made to believe, are made of naturally occurring ingredients.

In all cases we have been misled, and today it is not “false fears” that has bred skeptical consumers, it is experience.

Equally suspect is the ridiculous notion that anything in the world – be it love, or windmills, or children, or genetically engineered rice – can be all good.  Regardless of what “scientists,” Bill and Melinda Gates or anyone else involved with creating genetically engineered foods might say, and I am willing to bet the farm there will be unforeseen consequences, just as there are in every other aspect of our lives.  11,000 farmers in the southern United States found this out the hard way when they lost an estimated $150 million in rice sales in 2006 because of a contamination by a genetically modified strain, even though, claims Harmon, “science” says cross pollination will be “extremely limited.”

And what about the assertion that we should all get over our hangups and embrace genetic engineering for the lives it can save?


Gerard Barry of the International Rice Research Institute is quoted in Harmon’s article as saying that “critics who suggest encouraging poor families to simply eat fruits and vegetables that contain beta carotene [instead of Golden Rice] disregard the expense and logistical difficulties that would thwart such efforts.”

This is the most audacious claim made by those who believe genetic engineering is the way to go.  Namely the insistence that genetic engineering is somehow better, and in the long run, cheaper than other more natural ways of eating and that the logistical complexities of getting fruits and veggies to malnourished human beings are too large to overcome.

Baloney.

The amount of money it has cost to concoct a product like Golden Rice is enormous.  Scientists first got initial funding for Golden Rice from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1984 and have now been supported (with monies to cover lab expenses, legal fees, teaching assistants, salaries, long patent processes, etc) for more than 30 years.

Meanwhile, again and again, simple low-cost, low-tech solutions like “kitchen gardening,” improved agricultural methods, and cover cropping have been found to give outstanding nutritional and economic results quickly to farmers.  If people can grow a carrot or yam for far less expense and trouble than developing a strange looking rice (it is bright yellow – and we think getting people to eat brown rice has been hard!) – why aren’t carrots or yams the first stop for solving the problem?

Why are we pouring money into lab salaries, field trials and professional conferences instead of ensuring that people around the world have nutritious – and tasty (do you want to eat only rice?) – food to eat every day?

I believe the real question which needs to be asked is not “why is the public so reluctant to embrace the “science” behind genetic engineering?” but “why are scientists intent on solving problems in the most costly and complex way imaginable?”  Why has feeding the hungry become a self-serving competition for lab funding when viable solutions to the problem (and the organizations to carry them out) are available now?

Why are we spending millions (billions?) of dollars reinventing the wheel when we already have several that work?

Just because science can improve nutrition by genetically engineering food, doesn’t mean we have to.


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Fermented Soy Foods

by RoseMarie Pierce, BSc Pharm

For more than 2,000 years, the modest little soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr., Leguminosae) has provided us with nutrition and healing power. New research shows that we derive the greatest benefits from soybeans when they are prepared in traditional ways, especially when fermented.

Traditional soy foods are usually divided into two groups: fermented products such as miso, soy sauce, tempeh, and natto, and non-fermented products such as tofu and soymilks. In the name of health, North Americans are increasingly developing a taste for this Old World staple, in both the traditional and newer forms.

Fermenting the Soybean

In the soybean fermentation process, end results such as miso, tempeh, natto, and soy or tamari sauce are produced by a host of beneficial yeast, mould, and bacteria. Whole-food, fermented soy powders, milks, and yogurts are also cultured with multiple species of beneficial bacteria.The many benefits of soybean fermentation include the following:

Improved digestibility. Unfermented soybeans are difficult to digest, partly due to the high amount of protein enzyme inhibitors and hard-to-digest sugar structures. During the fermentation process, the enzymes produced by the beneficial bacteria and other microbes break down, or predigest, the specific complex carbohydrates (sugars) found in soy and most other legumes. This process also renders the proteins more digestible and easier to assimilate than those in the whole soybean. For those with a compromised digestive system or difficulty digesting protein, this is especially helpful.

Enhanced nutrition. Soy fermentation converts minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, copper, and zinc into more soluble forms and can also increase vitamin levels in the final product. Some beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, are able to concentrate large quantities of thiamin, nicotinic acid, and biotin, thus forming an enriched product.

Medicinal benefits. Substances in fermented soy foods have been found to alleviate the severity of hot flushes, to have a protective effect against the development of cancer, to cause a reduction in cholesterol, and to inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis. The probiotic bacteria produced during soy fermentation are known to enhance healthy intestinal flora and correct digestive tract imbalances.

Increased bioavailability of isoflavones. Isoflavones (phytoestrogens naturally occurring in soy) are converted by the bacteria into their “free” or aglycone forms for improved absorption and more effective usage within the body.

The Soybean “Conquers” America

In October 1999, the modest little soybean received a great deal of attention in North America when the US Food and Drug Administration authorized use of health claims about the role of soy protein in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. As a result of this and some overstated health claims from other studies, the multinational soy industry has multiplied its efforts to find alternative uses and new markets for soybeans and soy protein foods. Billions of dollars have gone into researching, manufacturing, and advertising soy-based products, including a custom-designed soybean. Many top scientists around the world are expressing their concerns about genetically manipulated soy and other crops.


Today’s North American soy cuisine has developed into something very different from its Asian predecessor. On supermarket shelves today we can find soy in everything from breakfast cereals to burgers to frozen desserts. Yet very few of these are natural, whole-food products. The ancient soybean was, for centuries, the quintessential “candidate for fermentation” requiring time-sensitive, careful processing in the Eastern world. It has now become mass produced and over-processed in the West.

Some health experts, such as well-known author John Robbins, are questioning the validity of consuming these new, nonfermented soy products. Robbins states, “The best way to take advantage of soy’s health benefits is to follow the example of the traditional Asian diets and stick with whole [organic] foods…These are the soy foods that I prefer to eat—rather than the soy products made with protein isolates, soy protein concentrates, hydrolyzed soy protein, partially hydrogenated soy oil, etc. Whole soy foods are more natural and are the soy foods that have nourished entire civilizations for centuries.”

Getting the Most from Soy Products

Choose organic fermented soy products such as tempeh, miso, natto, tamari, shoyu, and fermented whole soybean powder, milk, and yogurt. Genetically manipulated soy ingredients should be avoided whenever possible. In the US and Canada, almost all soy that is not referred to on the label as organic has been genetically manipulated. It is best to avoid hydrolyzed soy (vegetable) protein. New research suggests that soy formulas may be unsafe for infants.

It is relatively easy to cook with tofu, tempeh, miso, tamari, shoyu, and natto. Fermented soy powder, milks, and yogurt can be made into nutritional shakes and smoothies or included in pancake mixes, muffins, breads, and other baked goods. Cookbooks and recipes can make using soy even easier. Traditionally prepared, fermented soy foods are a healthy protein source.

Guide to Popular Fermented Whole Soy Foods

  • Miso: A rich, salty, fermented paste (made from salted soybeans alone or mixed with grains such as wheat, barley, and rice) that is cultured and aged.
  • Shoyu (soy sauce): Originally a by-product drained off miso, this dark brown liquid is typically used in Asian dishes. Tamari soy sauce is a by-product of miso without added grains.
  • Tempeh: A popular Indonesian food made by combining soybean with either rice or millet and a mould culture for 24 hours. It’s a hearty, chewy, meat-like cake that can be grilled as a burger or added to a main dish.
  • Natto: A sticky, pasty-textured, slightly sweet-tasting soy ferment, eaten for breakfast or dinner as a topping on rice or added to vegetable dishes.
  • Fermented tofu: First a tough-textured tofu is made from cooked pur? soybeans processed into a custard-like cake; it is then fermented to make a white, creamy food resembling semi-soft cheese.
  • Fermented soymilk or yogurt: Made from soymilk that is fermented by probiotic bacteria, it can be used as a dessert or to make sour cream, cream cheese, or a form of ice cream.
  • Fermented soy powder: A whole-food, bacteria-fermented powder used in nutritional shakes, bars, or in baking, with all the nutritional value of traditional fermented soy.

About the Author
RoseMarie Pierce, BSc Pharm, is a holistic pharmacist with more than 30 years of experience in conventional and natural medicine. Reach this popular writer, lecturer, and hormonal health specialist at sunstreams.ca