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Non-Organic, GMOs and Toxins. Say what?!

Why does non-organic foods and genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, make a difference in maintaining a low exposure to toxins?

Over the decades, especially the last 15 years or so, I’ve been very mindful of toxins in our food, water, personal care products and household cleaners. Today I want to reiterate how important it is to choose organic, especially for certain foods (fruit/vegetables from *EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, — there are actually 48, but don’t want to freak anyone out ;) and animal protein.

By their nature, certified organic foods can’t contain GMOs.

A common misunderstanding is that this doesn’t mean that no pesticides were used on them – it’s just that the pesticides aren’t typically man made. Instead, the approved pesticides tend to have natural substances, like soaps, lime sulfur, and hydrogen peroxide as ingredients. These more natural pesticides have a lower toxin burden and tend not to be endocrine disruptors**. Also, not all natural substances are allowed in organic agriculture – some chemicals like arsenic, strychnine, and tobacco dust are prohibited.

The biggest issue with genetically modified food products is the fact that most genetic modifications are for the benefit of the plant surviving the pesticide load that it’s bombarded with – not the person who will consume it. The most common reason for genetic modification in US crops is to make them Roundup resistant. Roundup is a potent weed killer used by traditional farmers to protect the crops from bugs.

Unfortunately, while definitive research is lacking, Roundup is a highly chemical, very potent weed killer. While it might be fairly safe at low levels, the amount of Roundup that’s sprayed on genetically modified crops is very high – so high, in fact, that it leaves measurable residue in the water supply and in the air.

And, it isn’t just in your fruits and vegetables. Most of the meat grown in the US (and Canada) is fed a diet heavy in genetically modified soy, corn, and alfalfa. Farmed fish are also fed a steady diet of GMO corn.

The jury may still be out on the true safety of GMOs and Roundup, but to maintain a low toxic load, these products are best if avoided.

To decrease your exposure, look for organic meats, vegetables, and fruits and to choose wild-caught seafood. In addition, any product that includes corn or corn byproducts, like corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup, should be limited or avoided if they want to avoid GMOs. [1]

* **Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with endocrine (or hormone) systems at certain doses. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Any system in the body controlled by hormones can be derailed by hormone disruptors. **…/topi…/agents/endocrine/index.cfm [1] Institute for Integrative Nutrition

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