The 411 on GMO’s and Kids

Much of the food we eat today is laced with high risk food ingredients. GMO’s are no stranger to most of society’s diets, yet it seems the real risks associated with consuming GMO’s are unknown to many of those who consume them. 

Today we discuss everything you need to know about GMO’s including what to avoid and how to minimize the dangerous exposure of GMO’s on our children. 

What are GMO’s?

Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs
Living organisms whose genetic make-up was artificially manipulated in a lab through processes of genetic engineering. This process has been known to create unstable combinations of a variety of genes including plant, animal, viral and bacterial that would otherwise not exist in nature without the help of crossbreeding methods.

There has been debate on the benefits of GMOs, however the only withstanding evidence we have thus far is damaging to those engineering GMOs. There has been growing evidence that connects GMOs with a wide range of health problems, causing environmental damage as well as violating farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

Reasons we should STOP feeding our kids Genetically Modified Organisms


Food Allergies

It’s no secret that food allergies have reached epidemic levels in children since the introduction of GMO foods. One theorist connects the introduction of GMO’s into our food system to the drastic increase of food allergies in children today. When genetically modified soy started to appear in our food in 1996, there was a 50% increase in soy allergies after only one year. Additionally, peanut allergies doubled over the next 6 years. Children’s bodies are less likely to be able to digest foods containing GMO’s in the same way adults can, creating possible allergens.

Increased Exposure to Toxins

There is no argument that much of the food we eat today is laced with pesticides, herbicides and other harmful chemicals. Because of that, those toxins that are made to help crops flourish without bugs and animals preying on them are then consumed by those who don’t avoid GMO food. That being said, our children are increased to these toxins daily unless a point is made to feed them organic food.

Nutritional Value Decrease

Another debate is that crops with GMOs lead to gene mutation which causes a decrease in nutritional value compared to their organic counterparts. Though some studies argue that there is no significant difference between GMO and Non–GMO crops, it is of concern when we start playing around with the genetic make-up of a crop. Most people also argue that when eating organic non-GMO food, the product is more favorable, crispy and has a longer shelf life. 

Antibiotic Resistance

Some argue that antibiotic resistant genes from GM foods are absorbed by bacteria in our guts during digestion. That being said, if ever a time where bacteria carrying antibiotic resistant genes were to cause an infection, it would in turn potentially lead to issues treating it. Though there is not incriminating proof to prove this theory beyond a reasonable doubt, precautionary measures should be put in place to prevent this from occurring, especially in children who are more susceptible to infections.

Hormones

The majority of our livestock is fed synthetic hormones that can increase estrogen hormones in women (as well as men). These hormones are particularly important for the reproductive system and the creation of the female sex hormone. Estrogen also helps to control bone growth and helps maintain cholesterol levels. On the contrary, too much estrogen has been linked to a variety of issues including, but not limited to, prostate, breast and endometrial cancer. Additionally, when exposed to synthetic hormones, it can increase one’s chance of cancer, thyroid disease, infertility, asthma, diabetes, obesity and allergies. Hormones are pumped into cows, chickens and fish in order to make them bigger, faster. In turn, those hormones get transmitted to us upon eating the meat and fish.

Since children are more prone to issues, especially related to allergies, it’s important to have your child drink organic milk or at least replace their daily consumption of milk for soy. Girls are developing breasts way before they should be while some men are developing breasts. On top of those issues, there is a fair amount of arsenic that we are exposed to as well as mercury and lead through consumption of meat and fish. 

So, how can we minimize the dangerous exposure of GMOs on our children

Tips for avoiding GMO’s:


Tip#1: Buy Organic

Certified organic products are those that do not intentionally include GMO ingredients. Look for products labeled 100% organic or made with organic ingredients. Some products that are organic will have a verifed seal reading: Non-GMO Project. Go to grocery stores that are known for selling organic foods, and try to hit the farmers market once a week to stock up on locally-grown organic fruits, vegetables and meats. 

Tip #2: Look for the Non-GMO Project Seal

Products that carry this seal are verified to be in compliance with the non-GMO guidelines. These products are independently verified and provide consumers with clearly labeled GMO choices. Examples of these products would have ‘artificial hormone-free’ on their product packaging.

Tip #3:  Avoid at-risk ingredients

If the products you are looking to purchase are not labeled organic or verified non-GMO, then there are a few ingredients to avoid that are typically GM food crops: (most) Hawaiian Papaya, corn, soybeans, canold, cottonseed, sugar beets and small amounts of zucchini and yellow squash. These crops are typically those that have a higher level of pesticides and herbicides which have been linked to health issues. When purchasing sugar, look to those that have pure cane sugar, and look for dairy products not injected with GM bovine growth hormones. This would include products which have labels such as No rBGH,  rBST or artificial hormones. 

Tip #4: Grow your own Food

There is nothing more assuring than knowing exactly where your food source comes from. When you grow your own food, you know exactly what is being used to help it prosper and you know that pesticides and herbicides are not being used. If you’re in an area that doesn’t allow much room for producing your own food, connect with someone who does and invest in their products. That includes meats and dairy as well.

 


In order to ensure that your child is getting the freshest and healthiest ingredients, make sure that you are paying a visit to your local farm and farmers market. As much as possible, try to support local farmers. Additionally, visit your whole food or natural health food stores in order to purchase your organic groceries. As a parent, there is only so much we can do to protect our children. Ensuring that our children are eating organic food will help ensure they stay healthy and aren’t exposed to unnatural and harmful chemicals.

For eating organic food on a budget, check out Eating Organic on a Budget.

Photo Credits: SszdlJessica SpenglerDanielle JonesWendelin Jacober
Sources: Non GMO ProjectCenter for Food Safety: GE Food & Your HealthHealth Risks of GMOs

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Danielle Jones

Danielle resides in the Mitten State with her husband, toddler son and two loving pit-bull dogs. When Danielle isn't writing and capturing pictures, she runs a small social media company, Buzz Mitten Media and is co-owner of Two Clicks Photography. Her interests include fitness, healthy eating, cooking, wine, reading, photography, exploring the beautiful state of Michigan, and spending time with family. She is a hardcore Spartans, Lions, Tigers and Red Wings fan and can talk sports all day long. You can find her blog here: https://coffeechaosandgiggles.com/ and visit her photography page at https://www.facebook.com/twoclicksphotographyanddesign. Follow her on Instagram: danielle_jones and twitter: @ daniseitzjones.

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