In this episode of Abbey’s Kitchen, Abbey dives into the deep world of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and reviews the research regarding its safety and nutritional value. Abbey is joined by Extreme Diet Debbie who is extremely scared of GMOs and is convinced they are not safe to eat and must be avoided.
Debbie likes to call GMOs Garbage Meal Obstruction.
Debbie seems to have the wrong idea about GMOs. GMOs have gotten a bad rep, however there’s been a ton of research and scientific studies to back up why GMOs are actually not that bad.
Debbie claims GMOs are dangerous and they cause everything from heat waves, floods and a toxic atmosphere.
Before rushing to these conclusions, GMOs have been shown to promote resistance to certain pests, disease and environmental conditions which is ultimately better for everyone. In fact, a 2014 meta-analysis which measured the economic impact of Genetically Modified crops found that farmers were able to significantly reduce their pesticide use by 73%, increase crop yield by 22% and profits by 68%. That’s huge.
Debbie’s next claim is that GMOs kill crops instantly.
There’s actually some research that indicates GMOs promote longer shelf life and delay spoilage which is great for the reduction of food waste. Studies are also showing that GMOs may aid in increasing the food supply in underdeveloped areas.
Debbie wants to know whether GMO foods are low in nutrients.
That is one of the biggest misconceptions about GMOs. After dozens of years reviewing the safety of GMOs, an updated review of 33 studies found GMOs are no less healthy or sage than traditionally growth foods.
On top of that, GMOs may even be healthier. Recently a 2016 World Food Prize award was given to a group of scientists who developed a sweet potato GMO that was enriched with Vitamin A, mainly developed for children in places like Africa.
Debbie has heard that she could get a disease from eating GMO foods.
One thing to keep in mind, is that GMO foods go through rigorous checks and tests to ensure nutrient value and safety. Plus, in Canada, it takes 7-10 years of testing before any GMO foods can reach the market onto your dinner table.
Debbie also heard that there won’t be any more GMO tests.
There’s been quite a lot of public concern over this, but Health Canada is not doing any long term studies around the safety of GMO foods because they don’t see GMO foods as being that different from all the other foods currently available.
Debbie wants to know whether GMOs cause allergies.
There’s been an overall rise in allergies, and some foods may trigger allergies more than others, but a committee that reviewed hundreds of studies on GMOs found no relationship between eating GMOs and an increase in allergies. There may be other factors that could explain why allergies are on the rise, but for now, fingers are not being pointed at GMOs.
Debbie believes these studies may be biased because they’re funded by biotech companies that want you to think food is safe.
Yes, it’s true, biotech companies do fund research at times, but that doesn’t mean they can alter results. They are also a number of independent research groups that have studied GMO and had comparable results.
Debbie is also concerned that GMOs are killing the bees.
There’s no need to worry honey lovers, because one study exposed honey bees to fifty times the dose of a variety of bacteria that’s found in GMOs, and no deaths occurred. Another study concluded that GMO pollen and nectar aren’t harmful to honey bees either.
Here’s the bottom line. Abbey is not a radical on either side of the fence, but there doesn’t seem to be enough evidence against GMOs. Abbey is still curious about the long-term effects of GMOs, but it is very difficult to get that kind of information. At the end of the day, Abbey’s perspective is that it’s important to get enough fruits and vegetables, regardless of whether they are genetically modified or organically grown. If you’re still unsure and want to avoid GMOs for whatever reason, the only way to do so is by choosing Organic which must be GMO-verified, which is a voluntary label for food manufacturers.
Debbie’s reaction is that it’s non-organic we should be fearing, but Abbey will have to save that one for the next time.
To read more about GMOs, check out Abbey’s Two-Part GMO Series:
Part 1: http://www.abbeyskitchen.com/nutrition-gmos-part-1-introduction-genetically-modified-orga/
Part 2: http://www.abbeyskitchen.com/nutrition-gmos-part-2-implications-genetically-modified-orga/
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HuffPost Science Correspondent Cara Santa Maria speaks with Kevin Folta about the myths and misconceptions surrounding GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
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