By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
May 15, 2015
- Big GMO is making our food prettier, but is it really healthy?
- Purple tomatoes and pink pineapples
- Don’t buy in to the human experiment
To date, our biggest worries about consuming GMO foods have come in the form of packaged foods and animal products.
Foods that come in packages routinely contain genetically modified ingredients. You’ll find them in the form of corn and soy byproducts, sugars and oils. Even boxed and packaged foods that sound healthy can contain these ingredients.
Our meat supply is tainted by them, too.
That’s because commercial farm animals regularly eat glyphosate-laden GMO corn and soy.
Now, there’s a new crisis coming. You’ll find it in your produce department.
Unlike previous genetically engineered crops, the new focus isn’t on stopping pests and weeds. Instead, we’re now seeing produce that’s genetically altered for cosmetic purposes.
Potatoes that don’t bruise and apples that don’t turn brown have already received government approval. The process involves genetic changes that turn down certain enzymes responsible for black spots, bruising and browning.
Unfortunately, blocking these enzymes could have unintended consequences.
In the meantime, we’ve been living for centuries with these minor cosmetic imperfections. And I don’t know about you, but I haven’t spent a lot of my lifetime worrying about bruised potatoes or discolored apples. But when somebody starts altering these same products to make them look prettier? That definitely worries me.
There are also a few other produce items on the GMO “up-and-coming” list that don’t make a lot of sense. They may be hitting your produce shelves in the near future, and they’re even more disturbing. Here’s the scoop…
Right now there are two additional altered foods awaiting approval. And they’re like nothing we’ve ever seen before.
One of them is a purple tomato with high level of anthocyanins. These are the antioxidants found in blueberries that help lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. The alterations are achieved by inserting genes from the snapdragon plant. These genes trigger anthocyanin production in the tomatoes.
But are these changes really for your benefit? After all, you can get plenty of anthocyanins from blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and cherries.
I’d venture to say it might have more to do with the fact that anthocyanins slows post-harvest ripening and extends the shelf life of tomatoes. This means more profit for farmers and grocers.
In the meantime, you’re eating purple “Franken-Maters.”
Another new creation is a pink pineapple from Del Monte. Why is it pink? It’s been altered to overexpress a gene from the tangerine, and suppress others. This reportedly increases lycopene content – a cancer fighting nutrient – in the fruit.
This sounds like a noble cause. However, these manipulations could also alter other genes – potentially shutting down nutrients the fruit is already famous for like vitamin C, B-6 and manganese. (The same could be said of all of the other produce I’ve mentioned thus far.)
And let’s face facts.
You don’t need to eat altered pineapple to get your daily dose of lycopene. You can get more than your share by eating tomatoes, watermelon, guava and papaya.
Now, these companies are hoping the promise of health benefits will sway people like you, who are concerned about genetically altered foods. But rest assured, it’s a slippery slope to buy into the concept.
These alterations interfere with the natural state of your food. It also places both your health and your food supply in the hands of a few major biotech companies that have powerful connections to the USDA and FDA.
The fact is, there just aren’t any long-running human studies on the safety and long-term effects on these types of alternations. And I, for one, choose not to be a guinea pig.
Here’s the best way for you to get your nutrients without becoming a test subject.
Our natural food supply contains all of the nutrients you need, without the need for alteration. I regularly recommend getting about 87% of your diet from fresh, organic fruit and vegetables. (By the way, if you buy organic you never have to worry about GMOs.)
You should try to include fruits and vegetables in all colors of the rainbow. But if you need an extra hand to figure out where your plant-based nutrients are coming from, here are some tips.
- Anthocyanins – Blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and cherries.
- Allium – Leeks, onion, garlic and chives.
- Vitamin C – Citrus fruits, papaya, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, cauliflower, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi.
- Vitamin A and Beta Carotene – Sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, spinach, mangoes, carrots, turnip greens, cantaloupe, leaf lettuce.
- Vitamin B1 – Watermelon, acorn squash.
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – Broccoli, mushrooms, tomato, avocado.
- Vitamin B6 – Potatoes, banana, watermelon, sweet potato, spinach.
- Folic acid – Asparagus, broccoli, okra, turnip greens, spinach.
- Indoles – Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Kale, cabbage and Bok choy.
- Vitamin K – Broccoli, sprouts, spinach, kale and other greens.
- Lycopene – Tomatoes, watermelon, guava and papaya.
- Vitamin E, calcium and lutein – Green leafy vegetables.
With all of these naturally-occurring nutrients at your fingertips, there’s no reason to join the human experiment being conducted by big GMO companies.
Say “no” to ALL altered produce, and get your nutrition from the natural sources that have sustained human-kind since the beginning of time.
He J, et al. Anthocyanins: natural colorants with health-promoting properties. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol. 2010;1:163-87.
Yang T, et al. The role of tomato products and lycopene in the prevention of gastric cancer: a meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies. Med Hypotheses. 2013 Apr;80(4):383-8.
Etminan M, et al. The role of tomato products and lycopene in the prevention of prostate cancer: A meta-analysis of observational studies. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2004;13(3):340-345.