GMOs: To Be, Or Not To Be

GMO | The Paleo Diet

The fairly recent development – nay – may I say obsession – with genetically modified foods, is certainly one of our generation’s most important battles.1, 2, 3 On the one hand – quite clearly – we have never entered into these waters before.4, 5 We, as a species, have never eaten artificial foods that have been so wholly manufactured, designed (molecule by molecule) by food chemists, and consumed so egregiously.6, 7, 8 And – largely – we have never been fatter as a world population, as a result.9, 10, 11, 12 This is all pretty indisputable.

GMO Fig 1 | The Paleo Diet

De vendômois JS, Cellier D, Vélot C, Clair E, Mesnage R, Séralini GE. Debate on GMOs health risks after statistical findings in regulatory tests. Int J Biol Sci. 2010;6(6):590-8.

On the other hand, we have also (perhaps unknowingly) been consuming foods that have all along been somewhat genetically modified. Interesting research came out this week, which showed that the sweet potato (which is a staple of many different types of healthy diets) looks to have been altered all along – by nature itself.13 This interesting and important discovery must not be ignored.

The researchers state (perhaps somewhat over-ambitiously) that: “our finding, that the sweet potato is naturally transgenic, while being a widely and traditionally consumed food crop, could affect the current consumer distrust of the safety of transgenic food crops.” While the idea that some foods may be naturally genetically modified, is interesting and important, does it really change the argument that Monsanto should not be designing robo-foods?

I guess that all depends on your perspective. There are solid arguments on each side.14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 How can we possibly feed an already overly dense population (which is ballooning in numbers by the second) on what is left of our natural soil? It doesn’t really seem very likely – no matter how much I (or anyone else) would like to believe it is. Does this make Monsanto a necessary evil? Again, it depends on your perspective.

Should the US State Department really be paying for Monsanto’s marketing items?20 That is an easier argument to win. But the time has come when big agribusiness and government are now one and the same.21, 22, 23 Is this a dangerous precedent? The issue of GMOs is a problem that raises more questions than answers. Quite simply, like mass surveillance issues, we have never before been in this situation. And that isn’t a local, regional, or even national statement. That is a global statement. We – as a species – are in unchartered territory.

I think the potential danger lies in the fact that a wrong decision here could mean widespread death, disease, and global problems – the type of which has rarely – if ever – been seen before in human history. And when you are talking about people’s lives – that is quite a gamble. This is why the anti-GMO groups are so heartfelt and emotional in their battle. But at the same time, they provide no real solutions for how to feed so many people.

GMO Fig 2 | The Paleo Diet

Jones L. Science, medicine, and the future. Genetically modified foods. BMJ. 1999;318(7183):581-4.

Should we be able to buy apples that do not brown?24 Should we be able to purchase sugar water, made in a factory with deplorable conditions?25 Whether we like it or not, this is the world which our peers – yes, other humans – have banded together to create. And it certainly won’t be slowing down anytime soon. The current state of humanity is a bit like a ship at sea – and we don’t really have a compass. We are in unchartered territory, and we aren’t sure of the right decision to make – whether it will lead us to clear waters or into a storm of unfathomable proportions.

One thing however is clear. When it comes to personal responsibility, what to put in your own mouth – you are in control. A Paleo Diet will provide the best nutrition, best results and best health.26, 27, 28, 29, 30 The other questions that loom are ones that we all have a say in, so make your own voice heard – whatever side it may be on.

REFERENCES

[1] Hug K. Genetically modified organisms: do the benefits outweigh the risks?. Medicina (Kaunas). 2008;44(2):87-99.

[2] De vendômois JS, Cellier D, Vélot C, Clair E, Mesnage R, Séralini GE. Debate on GMOs health risks after statistical findings in regulatory tests. Int J Biol Sci. 2010;6(6):590-8.

[3] Varzakas TH, Arvanitoyannis IS, Baltas H. The politics and science behind GMO acceptance. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2007;47(4):335-61.

[4] Marris C. Public views on GMOs: deconstructing the myths. Stakeholders in the GMO debate often describe public opinion as irrational. But do they really understand the public?. EMBO Rep. 2001;2(7):545-8.

[5] Schmidt CW. Genetically modified foods: breeding uncertainty. Environ Health Perspect. 2005;113(8):A526-33.

[6] Dona A, Arvanitoyannis IS. Health risks of genetically modified foods. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2009;49(2):164-75.

[7] Monteiro CA, Levy RB, Claro RM, De castro IR, Cannon G. Increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods and likely impact on human health: evidence from Brazil. Public Health Nutr. 2011;14(1):5-13.

[8] Slimani N, Deharveng G, Southgate DA, et al. Contribution of highly industrially processed foods to the nutrient intakes and patterns of middle-aged populations in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009;63 Suppl 4:S206-25.

[9] Roth J, Qiang X, Marbán SL, Redelt H, Lowell BC. The obesity pandemic: where have we been and where are we going?. Obes Res. 2004;12 Suppl 2:88S-101S.

[10] De vendômois JS, Cellier D, Vélot C, Clair E, Mesnage R, Séralini GE. Debate on GMOs health risks after statistical findings in regulatory tests. Int J Biol Sci. 2010;6(6):590-8.

[11] Swinburn BA, Sacks G, Hall KD, et al. The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments. Lancet. 2011;378(9793):804-14.

[12] Catenacci VA, Hill JO, Wyatt HR. The obesity epidemic. Clin Chest Med. 2009;30(3):415-44, vii.

[13] Kyndt T, Quispe D, Zhai H, et al. The genome of cultivated sweet potato contains Agrobacterium T-DNAs with expressed genes: An example of a naturally transgenic food crop. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2015;:201419685.

[14] Key S, Ma JK, Drake PM. Genetically modified plants and human health. J R Soc Med. 2008;101(6):290-8.

[15] Dronamraju K. GMO debate: inconclusive. Front Genet. 2013;4:123.

[16] Torgersen H. The real and perceived risks of genetically modified organisms. EMBO Rep. 2004;5 Spec No:S17-21.

[17] Maghari BM, Ardekani AM. Genetically modified foods and social concerns. Avicenna J Med Biotechnol. 2011;3(3):109-17.

[18] Jones L. Science, medicine, and the future. Genetically modified foods. BMJ. 1999;318(7183):581-4.

[19] Somerville C. The genetically modified organism conflict. Plant Physiol. 2000;123(4):1201-2.

[20] Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leslie-hatfield/new-analysis-of-wikileaks_b_3306842.html. Accessed April 23, 2015.

[21] Available at: http://www.thelibertybeacon.com/2013/09/06/monsantos-u-s-government-connections-and-icons-11855/. Accessed April 23, 2015.

[22] Available at: http://www.nffc.net/Issues/Corporate Control/USDA INC. Accessed April 23, 2015.

[23] Available at: http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsanto-controls-both-the-white-house-and-the-us-congress/5336422. Accessed April 23, 2015.

[24] Available at: http://naturalsociety.com/usda-approves-first-gmo-apple-planting/. Accessed April 23, 2015.

[25] Available at: http://www.chinadaily.com/china/2009-08/20/content_8591019.htm. Accessed April 23, 2015.

[26] Kowalski LM, Bujko J. [Evaluation of biological and clinical potential of paleolithic diet]. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2012;63(1):9-15.

[27] Konner M, Eaton SB. Paleolithic nutrition: twenty-five years later. Nutr Clin Pract. 2010;25(6):594-602.

[28] Klonoff DC. The beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on type 2 diabetes and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2009;3(6):1229-32.

[29] Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Lindeberg S, Hallberg AC. Subjective satiety and other experiences of a Paleolithic diet compared to a diabetes diet in patients with type 2 diabetes. Nutr J. 2013;12:105.

[30] Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Ahrén B, et al. Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2009;8:35.

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“1” Comments

  1. biological evolution tends to make small mistakes and the mistakes are culled out by selection. Cultural evolution operates quite differently. Human beings are able to make decisions that result in large mistakes which are not identified till much later eg tobacco smoking, thalidomide, agricultural-Neolithic revolution (eg repeated famines that have occurred through history, diseases resulting from exposure to grains\dairy etc. GMOS is no different. Unfortunately, there is a sort of reverse onus of proof with these things – a quick look at the history of tobacco smoking and disease makes that clear.
    Food for thought.
    cheers OB

  2. Pingback: GMOs: To Be, Or Not To Be | Health Fitness Daily

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