I’ve been asked to give a short list of what foods to avoid or be sure to by organic. There are lists out there called “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Clean Fifteen.” They are compiled looking strictly at topical pesticide use and for that reason I cannot fully endorse the “clean fifteen.” On that list is sweet corn. While the husk does help protect it from topically applied pesticides, 88% of commercial corn is genetically modified. The pesticide is part of its DNA. There is no protecting yourself from it unless you buy certified organic corn.
To me, the most important short list is that of the major GMO plants. Roughly 60 to 70 percent of processed foods in U.S. grocery stores include at least one GMO ingredient, usually multiple ingredients. Then there’s the produce aisle and eating in restaurants to be considered. The simplest solution and best way to avoid GMOs is to learn the major GMO crops so you can avoid at risk ingredients.
The major GMO plants are listed below with the percentage of the US crop that is genetically modified.
- :Canola – 95%
- Sugar beets – 95%
- Soy – 94%
- Cotton – 90%
- Corn – 88%
Please keep in mind, you must consider all the uses of these products not just their original state.
You say you don’t eat sugar beets? If you purchase anything that lists sugar on the label, unless it specifically states cane sugar, it contains sugar from the sugar beet. The sugar from the sugar beet is used in granulated sugar, icing sugar, rock sugar, and gelling sugar. It is used to product artificial honey, caramel and caramel coloring. Sugar beet molasses and pulp are used in animal feed – which if you eat meat becomes a part of your diet. .
Why should cotton concern you? Cottonseed oil is popular in food products and there’s a 90% chance that oil contains GMOs. Cottonseed meal is also used in livestock and poultry feed.
Canola oil has been touted for its health benefits. Considering 95% of canola is GM that doesn’t seem very healthy. Try olive, or coconut oils as much healthier alternatives.
Corn isn’t just corn on the cob; there is popcorn and corn starch and corn syrup. It’s difficult to find any packaged product that doesn’t contain corn syrup, like yogurt, salad dressing, gum, Coke and Pepsi.
Corn is hidden in some tricky places too which we’ll discuss in a later post on product labels. For now, let’s keep it simple.
You say you don’t eat soy? You may be surprised. Soy containing products are in nearly every aisle of the supermarket. Soy protein is used in cookies, cereals, pastas, coffee creamers, whipped topping, processed whole meat products, and the list goes on.
This list will give you a good solid start in safeguarding your health. Read labels in the market. Ask questions of your server in restaurants. Think about it every time you eat. and just say no to GMO.