The Genetically Modified Truth
Ever since genetically modified foods were first introduced in the 1990s, the debate has raged over their environmental impact and potential consequences for human health. Though proponents have championed genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as a solution to world hunger, others have long been wary about the ways that genetically engineered plant foods might affect us.
As you transition to a healthier lifestyle with medical weight loss in Crawfordsville, it’s time to start taking a look at some of these concepts for yourself. Though evidence is often cited on both sides of the GMO debate, some arguments are based off little more than hearsay or personal values and pay little attention to scientific realities. It often takes us years, even decades to understand just how certain elements of our diets actually affect us, but taking a close look at the studies that have been performed on GMOs is the best way to impartially determine their impact.
Three experts in the field of genetic modification recently published a joint report that examined the claims made about GMOs and their factual basis in an attempt to determine the truth about GMO impact. The authors identified several different claims supported by GMO advocates and producers, who say that GM crops are:
An extension of the natural breeding process with no different risks than the traditional breeding process.
Safe to consume and can in fact be more nutritious than naturally-raised crops.
Under strict regulation that ensures their safety.
Able to increase the yields of crops and reduce pesticide use.
Easier to produce, benefiting the lives of the farmers who grow them
Beneficial for both the economy and the environment
Able to reduce problems caused by climate change and reduce energy use
Able to help solve world hunger
The report is detailed and lengthy, taking a highly scientific and referential approach that benefits from a wealth of authoritative data. Though the document goes into exhaustive detail in examining each GMO claim, the authors found each and every one of them to be patently false. Rather, the authors found that GM crops are:
Made with laboratory-based means that are completely different than traditional breeding methods and pose entirely different risks.
Potentially toxic or allergenic and may actually be less nutritious than naturally grown crops.
Inadequately regulated for safety
Unable to increase overall yields and may actually increase pesticide use
Potentially problematic for farmers, causing issues like herbicide-resistant weeds, poor soil quality and higher potential for crop diseases.
Responsible for mixed economic effects and are harmful to the environment
Unable to provide any effective solution for climate change and require as much energy as other crops produced with chemical farming techniques.
Unable to solve world hunger and distract from the issues that cause it, including poverty and a lack of access to food and farmland.
The authors argue that these scientific realities make GM farming unnecessary, especially in the face of evidence that shows that conventional plant breeding continues to outperform GM farming in terms of yield and health of crops. They say that other effective and sustainable methods of farming are better choices to solve the problem of world hunger and that there is no need to take the risks that GMOs pose.
For a better idea of how the authors arrived at these conclusions, take a look at the full report. The debate over GM crops will likely continue for years to come, but if these experts are to be believed, we may want to focus our efforts on conventional, sustainable farming practices that don’t pose the same problems as GMOs. At the very least, we may want to label genetically modified foods in our grocery stores so that those concerned about them can learn which ones to avoid.