GMOs – genetically modified organisms seem to be in everything now. Some people don’t think about them and others make every effort to avoid them, most of us fall between these two extremes. The question for us is – do they contribute to weight gain when we eat them (and are they harmful in other ways)?.
What They Are
GMOs are foods that have had their DNA modified in some way to enhance or add certain attributes such as resistance to herbicides or disease resistant. DNA from other, foreign entities are inserted into the subject plant, animal, bacterium or virus to give the subject the desired attributes.One example of this is certain silk producing genetics from a spider being inserted into goats to allow us to make silk from goat milk.
The Most Common GMO Foods
Soy – used in Soy sauce, breakfast cereals and bars, certain whipped toppings and drinks, cooking oils.
97% of Soybean meal is used for poultry and livestock feed in the USA.
Corn – Corn is found in soda, potato chips, hamburgers, french fries, sauces, salad dressings, baked goods, breakfast cereals, just about all poultry, and even most fish.
Milk – A significant number of dairy cows in the USA have been given growth hormones. The hormones are added for increased yield and faster growth. The hormones have been found in the milk produced by these cows.
Sugar – Sugar produced from sugar beets have been genetically modified to resist the herbicide Roundup. The sugar beet is used to make the majority of table or granulated sugar in the USA.
Aspartame – Aspartame is an artificial sweetener.It is made from genetically modified bacteria and common uses include diet soft drinks, powdered drinks, chewing gum, dry pudding and jello mixes, breakfast cereals, some dairy products, dried dessert mixes and frozen desserts.
Canola Oil – Considered as one of the most genetically modified oils used in the USA, it is made from rapeseed oil and used as a cooking oil and is used to make margarine.
Zucchini and Yellow Squash – These have been genetically modified to resist insects by producing a toxic protein.
Do GMO foods Contribute to Weight Gain?
Studies have been carried out for years and they are still being conducted now. Nothing is conclusive, but there could be a connection to weight gain due to the following factors:-
The major by-products of GMOs are fats and sugars. GMOs are used to produce oils and sugar syrups such as high fructose corn syrup and sugar from GM sugar beets.
These ingredients are generally used as ingredients in junk foods such as chips, sodas etc. Observation suggests that people who consume large amounts of junk foods are overweight.
Herbicide Resistant Foods
Studies on animals have shown that crops that have been engineered to resist herbicides contain more glyphosate, which is a hormone disruptor. Glyphosate has also been shown to kill the beneficial bacteria that assist the absorption of nutrients from food in the digestive system of animals. This suggests that the same could happen to humans. Digestive efficiency has an effect on weight.
Eating Animals Fed On A GMO Diet
Some studies have found that animals that were fed with GMO corn put on weight. It is not far fetched to suspect that a person who eats an animal who has put on weight by consuming GMO feed could also lead a person who eats that meat to gain weight.
How To Avoid GMO Foods
The sticker or label on produce tells you how it is grown
- A 4 digit number on the sticker shows that the food was grown conventionally
- A 5 digit number beginning with “9” means organic
- A 5 digit number Beginning with “8” means genetically modified
Avoid corn and corn based products. Corn is heavily modified. Avoid corn starch, high-fructose corn syrup, corn oil
Minimize consumption of canned and heavily processed foods
Look for organic meat products
Shop around the outer edges of the grocery store. Most grocery store layouts display foods that have been processed more heavily in the center of the store.
Avoid sugar made from sugar beets. Cane sugar is preferable.
Avoid products containing aspartame.
Minimize consumption of dairy products unless they are labelled r/BST, r-/BGH free and are labelled organic.
The main benefits of GMO foods are food growth productivity, Less pesticide use and cheaper food prices.
It is impossible to avoid all GMO products and studies are still vague regarding the question of whether eating GMO products cause or contribute to weight gain in humans. Common sense suggests that manipulating DNA could have adverse effects that are not yet known.
You don’t need to wait for scientific studies to find out if you can lose weight by eating organic. Just conduct your own experiment by eating as organically as possible and see if it works for you.
The types of food that you eat are important, regardless of whether they are GMO or not. Just because a product is organic doesn’t necessarily mean that it will help you to lose weight, so a weight loss friendly diet should also be used.
The only negative aspect to eating organic is the fact that your grocery bill will be more expensive.