I have touched on label reading a bit in an older post, but I would like to dive deeper into it today. It is very unfortunate that as consumers, we should have to go to the length of always checking the labels on our food. For the most part, I try to stick with the same brands and items because I know what the ingredients are. If I do try something new, I always make sure to read the label first (which is why my husband hates to grocery shop with me :).
Something big and sneaky could be lurking in your food and you may have no idea. It is not spelled out for you, so you need to learn to “decipher the code”. I am talking about GMOs; or “genetically modified organisms”.
There is a lot of controversy around GMOs, which is why I am sure you have heard of them. Very large corporations like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft, Kellogg, Monsanto, Nestle, and General Mills have each spent well over a million dollars to fight lobbyists, who are trying to create legislation that would make companies list GMO ingredients on the labels of their products. If GMOs are not harmful like they claim, then why the need to hide them?
Why we should avoid GMOs?
The most concerning part of genetically modified organisms is that they are fairly new. This means that we don’t know the long-term effects and safety.
- They are thought to be more prone to cause allergic reactions, because they may contain genes from an allergen.
- It is also a concern that GMOs can cause cancer. Cancer is caused by mutated DNA and introducing new genes in the body may be dangerous.
- Another theory is that they can cause antibiotic resistance. Some genetically modified plants and crops are made to be resistant to herbicides and antibiotics, which could possibly transfer to humans.
So what do you need to look for?
I want to start off by saying that GMOs are hidden in many foods. The tricky part is, knowing what word (or words) are used in place of the words “genetically modified”. When reading the labels, we want to learn to look for ingredients that may be risky.
Fact: The top genetically modified crops are corn, soy, cotton, canola, zucchini, sugar beets, squash, alfalfa, and papaya.
Other common products and ingredients that genetically modified organisms can be hidden in are:
- Baking Powder
- Citric Acid
- Condensed Milk
- Confectioners Sugar
- Corn Meal
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Milk Powder
- Soy Milk
- Soy Protein Isolate
- Soy Sauce
- Sugar (unless it is cane sugar)
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Lactic Acid
- Protein Isolate
So how can we avoid it?
Learn to look out for the above ingredients in foods, and pick “Certified” organic! “Certified”organic food is not allowed to have GMOs. If you are unsure about what organic labels and terms mean, please see this post! Thank you for reading!
Please also check out EWG.org for more information on GMOs.