Is There a Link Between Obesity and GMOs?

Is There a Link Between Obesity and GMOs?

Obesity in the U.S. is reaching epidemic rates. Over one-third of U.S. adults (35.7 percent) are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Obesity related conditions, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes, are some of the leading causes of preventable death. Obesity is expensive. The estimated medical cost of obesity was $147 billion in 2008. The medical costs for people who are obese in 2008 was $1,429 higher than for people at a normal weight. While there a number of factors that contribute to the high obesity rate in the U.S., there is one factor that often gets overlooked: the consumption of genetically modified (GMO) food. Read more about avoiding GMOs

Several studies in the last year have linked obesity to the consumption of GMO food, including a 2012 European study on the impact of GMO food on rats, mice, pigs and salmon. Researchers from Hungary, Austria, Ireland, Turkey, Australia and Norway participated in the study. The animals were fed GMO corn and soy over 90 days. What the researchers found is that the rats fed GMO food grew slightly fatter faster than the control group fed non-GMO food. Fish fed GMO food experienced the same effect. The researchers also found changes in the organs of the fish fed GMOs.

Researchers were able to disprove the claim that new genes introduced in GMO food are harmless. Professor Åshild Krogdahl of the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science said the study showed “that genes can be transferred through the intestinal wall into the blood; they have been found in blood, muscle tissue and liver in sufficiently large segments to be identified.” He added that the “biological impact of this gene transfer is unknown.”

A peer reviewed paper by American researchers released this last spring looked at the toxicity of residue of the herbicide glyphosate on food. As the paper notes, glyphosate, which GMO food is engineered to tolerate, is “found in the main foods of the Western diet, comprised primarily of sugar, corn, soy and wheat.” That means GMOs are present in most processed food. What the researchers found is that glyphosate “enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins.” They linked a number of diseases common in Western countries with glyphosate residue on food, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.Read more about glyphosate

How you can avoid eating GMOs

There are several ways that you can avoid eating GMOs. One of the main ways is by significantly reducing the amount of processed foods in your diet. When you do want to reach for a salty or sweet treat, make sure that it is either certified organic or certified non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project. You can also obtain a copy of “Unjunk Your Junk Food: Healthy Alternatives to Conventional Snacks” by the creators of Naturally Savvy and use it as a guide to eating better junk food.

Photo Credit:  MLazarevski

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Gina-Marie is a freelance writer armed with a passion for healthy living and a degree in journalism. Hailing from the dry, sunny Central San Joaquin Valley, she hasn't let the heat fry her brain!