By Dr. Mercola | FoodConsumer.org | Dec. 20, 2011
When deciding what's healthy and what's not, it pays to take note of what the actual experts are saying, as opposed to just listening to industry propaganda regurgitated by talking heads in the mass media and government health agencies.
Wake Up World has assembled a list of foods that are avoided by people who know the facts.
Here are a few examples:
Genetically engineered (GE) foods: Not only do genetically modified (GM) foods encourage the massive spraying of insecticides, but studies have shown that pesticide-producing genes in these foods transfer to your intestinal flora.
GM foods come with a staggering environmental, political, economic, and social cost.
Canned tomatoes: Food can lining contains bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to many illnesses.
The problem worsens when the cans contain acidic food such as tomatoes, which leach BPA into the food.
Corn-fed beef: Cattle evolved to eat grass rather than corn.
But modern cattle are fed so as to fatten them up faster, not to keep them healthy.
The result is beef that is much less nutritious.
Microwave popcorn: Chemicals that line the bag, such as PFOA, have been linked to infertility in humans and various forms of cancer in animal tests.
To see the rest of the list, please see the original article.
Here, I'll focus on the issue of genetically engineered foods, as I believe that is one of the most pressing dangers facing us as a species.
As Humans, We are Part of the Ecological System
While industry giants like Monsanto hold fast to the claim that genetically engineered (GE) foods are completely safe, those who have actually taken the time to investigate this issue have come to horrific conclusions. Alternative terms for GE foods include genetically modified (GM), or GMO (genetically modified organism).
Everyone really needs to understand that agriculture is a system based on inter-related factors. In order to maintain ecological balance and health, you must understand how the system works as a whole, and realize that any time you alter one part of that system, you change the interaction of all the other components as well, because they work together.
This is the fundamental problem with genetically engineered foods of all kinds.
Seeds such as Monsanto's Roundup Ready corn, canola and soy are genetically altered to be able to withstand otherwise lethal dousing of the toxic herbicide Roundup.
While this may sound attractive at first, as in theory it should improve yield by cutting down on weeds, the end result is anything but beneficial… The weed control and increased yield premise has been found to be severely flawed, as farmers around the world are now losing acreage to glyphosate-resistant super-weeds at an alarming rate. According to the British Institute of Science in Society, the US has fared the worst, now combating 13 different glyphosate-resistant weed species in 73 different locations.
By ignoring the laws of nature and thinking they can fool it into submission, Monsanto and other biotech corporations are creating ecological imbalance that is already wreaking havoc on our environment, and this imbalance will ultimately trickle down and can destroy human health as well.
MOST Major US Food Crops are Now Genetically Engineered!
Many still don't realize just how much of our food supply has been genetically engineered (GE). As of this year, 93 percent of soybeansgrown in the US are genetically engineered, as are:
86 percent of all corn
93 percent of canola
93 percent of cottonseed oil
Between 2008 and 2009, a full 95 percent of all sugarbeets planted were also Roundup Ready.
This means that virtually every processed food you encounter at your local supermarket that does not bear the "100% USDA Organic" label is likely to contain at least one GE component!
Earlier this year, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) also deregulated genetically engineered alfalfa, which is a perennial crop commonly used in cattle feed, which will further contaminate animal products. There's even a great risk that GE alfalfa may contaminate organically-raised animals, as alfalfa is a perennial crop that can easily spread and end up in organic alfalfa fields.
Are You Listening to the Experts, or Falling for Industry Propaganda?
Dr. Don Huber is an expert in an area of science that relates to the toxicity of genetically engineered (GE) foods, and his warnings couldn't be more clear: genetically engineered seeds have already created a brand new organism that now threatens plant-, animal-, and probably human, health. Furthermore, the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, is exacerbating the problem, as glyphosate has been found to cause a number of health problems in and of itself.
In the video below, Dr. Huber discusses both of these concerns.
In this recent interview, Dr. Huber explains how the introduction of glyphosate-resistance has had a direct impact on soil microbes. This has occurred because, again, agriculture is an inter-related system. Herbicides such as Roundup are chelators, which means they form a barrier around specific nutrients, preventing whatever life form is seeking to utilize that element from utilizing it properly. That applies to everything from plants to soil microbes, to animals and humans...
This may actually be one of the primary reasons why genetically engineered foods appear to be able to cause such profound health problems in those who consume them.
Glyphosate Destroys Soil Microorganisms, which Denatures Food
Glyphosate, even in plants genetically engineered to withstand it, affects about 25 different enzymes in the process of chelating (i.e. immobilizing) critical micronutrients. As a result, the nutritional efficiency of genetically engineered (GE) plants is profoundly compromised. Micronutrients such as iron, manganese and zinc can be reduced by as much as 80-90 percent in GE plants!
Naturally, when you consume these foods, you're no longer getting the essential micronutrients that these foods used to provide in your diet, and your health can suffer as a result.
But that's not all.
Roundup Ready crops are very heavily sprayed with Roundup, and the resulting glyphosate residue cannot be removed or washed off—it actually becomes part of the plant. As a result, humans are now ingesting far more of this herbicide than we ever have before because it's systemic through the entire plant.
Without Healthy Soils, Human Health is Decimated…
According to Dr. Huber, about 20 percent of the glyphosate migrates out of the plant's roots and into the surrounding soil. Once in the soil, the glyphosate kills beneficial soil microorganisms in the same way it kills weeds, because they have the same critical metabolic pathway. The thing we must all understand is that once you destroy the beneficial microbes in the soil, you've destroyed the food grown in it, because the quality of the food is almost always related to the quality of the soil, which depends on a healthy balance of microorganisms.
It is in fact the microorganisms in the soil that allow the plants to utilize the nutrients...
Are you beginning to sense the intricate inter-relatedness of the agricultural system?
Are you beginning to understand the importance of sustainable, environmentally conscious agriculture? If we want to live and thrive for generations to come, we simply cannot turn a blind eye to what's being done to our food supply, because without proper nutrition, we simply cannot exist…
New "Franken-Organism" Threatens Plant-, Animal- and Human Health
Dr. Huber has also blown the whistle on a brand new concern relating to genetically engineered crops—a groundbreaking finding that could spell absolute disaster for our entire food supply.
A brand new micro-fungal-type organism has been identified, which has been linked to what researchers are now calling Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS). The organism was initially identified by veterinarians around 1998—about two years after the introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans, which is one of the staple feeds. The vets were puzzled by sudden high reproductive failure in animals. While sporadic at first, the phenomenon has continued to increase in severity.
Dr. Huber was recently informed of a dairy experiencing a 70 percent miscarriage rate!
According to Dr. Huber, the cause-effect relationship between high reproductive failure and this new microbial entity has already been established, but the research has not yet been published. The reason for the delay is because they really do not know what the organism is!
"It's not a fungus. It's not bacteria. It's not a mycoplasma or a virus – [although] it's about the same size of a small virus… They have pictures of it… You can see the interactions with it. They can now culture it. It's self-replicating… If you have yeast, bacteria, or a fungus in the culture, this entity grows very well."
What is known is that:
It's an entirely new entity, previously unknown to science
It's definitely found in genetically engineered corn and soybeans
It causes infertility and miscarriage in cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, and poultry
"We can anticipate with that broad spectrum of animal species, which is extremely unusual, that it will also [affect] humans," Dr. Huber says. "We've seen an increasing frequency of miscarriage and a dramatic increase in infertility in human populations in just the last eight to 10 years."
Earlier this year, Dr. Huber urged the USDA to investigate the matter and suspend approval of GE alfalfa until proper studies have been completed, but his warnings fell on deaf ears and GE alfalfa was deregulated earlier this year despite vigorous opposition…
Important Action Item: Support California's Ballot Initiative to Label GMO's!
In 2007, then-Presidential candidate Obama promised to "immediately" require GM labeling if elected. So far, nothing of the sort has transpired.
Fortunately, 24 US states have (as part of their state governance) something called the Initiative Process, where residents can bring to ballot any law they want enacted, as long as it has sufficient support. California has been busy organizing just such a ballot initiative to get mandatory labeling for genetically engineered foods sold in their state. The proposed law will be on the ballot for 2012.
Michigan and Washington are also starting similar campaigns.
Since California is the 8th largest economy in the world, a win for the California Initiative would be a huge step forward, and would affect ingredients and labeling nation-wide. Last month, a coalition of consumer, public health and environmental organizations, food companies, and individuals submitted the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act to the State Attorney General. Now, they need 800,000 signatures to get the Act on next year's ballot.
I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can.
If you live in California, volunteer to gather petition signatures. If you live outside of California, please donate to help support this Initiative and spread the word to everyone you know in California. Be assured that what happens in California will affect the remainder of the US states, so please support this important state initiative, even if you do not live there!
How to Say "No" to GMOs
There's a lot of excellent information on the hazards of genetically modified foods available these days for those who care to look. For more information, I highly recommend Jeffrey Smith's books, Seeds of Deception, and Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, which provide overwhelming evidence that GM foods are unsafe and should never have been introduced in the first place. Smith is the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, whose Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to create the tipping point of consumer rejection of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) to rid them from our food supply.
Additionally, there are a number of films and videos available for viewing, including:
Since the U.S. government prevents the labeling of GM foods, it's imperative to educate yourself on what they are, and to help spread awareness on how to avoid these foods.
First and foremost, avoid most processed foods, unless it's labeled USDA 100% Organic. You can also avoid GM foods that are not found in processed foods, if you know what to look for. There are currently eight genetically modified food crops on the market (plus GM alfalfa, which is used as an animal feed and will primarily affect animal products raised in confined animal feeding operations, aka 'factory farms.'):
Sugar from sugar beets
Cottonseed (used in vegetable cooking oils)
Some varieties of zucchini
Canola (canola oil)
The free Non-GMO Shopping Guide is a great resource to help you determine which food brands and processed food products are GM-free. Print it out for yourself, and share it with everyone you know. If you feel more ambitious you can order the Non-GMO Shopping Tips brochure in bulk, and bring them to the grocery stores in your area. Talk to the owner or manager and get permission to post them in their store.
Additionally, to help you find non-GMO, organically grown, wholesome food in your area, check out these helpful resources:
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Local Harvest-- This Web site will help you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.
USDA Farmer's Markets database
Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals -- The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) -- CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.
FoodRoutes -- The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSA's, and markets near you.