Concerned and health-conscious consumers across the country celebrated this last March with the defeat of the DARK Act, which would have made the labeling of GMO, i.e. genetically modified foods, voluntary. DARK stands for Deny Americans the Right to Know and is the nickname for the controversial bill.
The name says it all and the fact that it didn’t pass the Senate this year is a plus for food safety as well as freedom of information for all American citizens.
But the good news about the DARK act does not mean that Americans are out of the woods when it comes to GMO’s. As the use of genetically modified seed becomes the norm for farmers worldwide and processed food remains the go-to food source for most in the United States, the health threats of GMO’s, including a higher risk of Breast Cancer, are greater than ever.
How GMO Foods Effect You
In July 2012, the supply causes “irreparable damage” to the digestive system and the immune system. Other research has linked regular consumption of GMO products with autism, autoimmune conditions, high levels of inflammation and cancer.
It makes common sense: consumption of genetically-altered products can result in the alteration of normal human functions at the genetic level. Studies have found that GMO products, when introduced into the human body, can have an effect on over 400 gene expressions. In general, GMOs have been linked to:
- Infertility and low birth weights
- Disruption in normal hormonal processes
- Imbalance in the reproductive system
- Accelerated aging
- Changing in liver, kidney, spleen and pancreas functioning
- Alterations in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism
- Damage to the digestive system, especially effecting the intestines
- Disruption of the immune system
- Increased cell growth that can lead to cancer
One of the most telling studies was sponsored by the French government in 2012 and led by molecular biologist Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini. The study specifically focused on GMO corn, one treated by the pesticide Round Up and the other not treated. In female rats, the most noticeable effect of the GMO corn was the appearance of large tumors around the mammary glands, indicating extreme imbalance in the endocrine system; the pituitary, a key player in hormonal distribution and regulation in the body, was the next obvious victim. In the males, disruptions in the normal functioning of the liver was the first tell-tale sign of GMOs influence; the males were up to 2.3 times more likely to develop liver congestions and abnormalities than control group and they developed tumors that were times 2.5 – 5.5 larger than the control. Both males and females also developed kidney-related issues. According to the researchers, endocrine disruption in the females “could be explained by…the effect of the Roundup” but they acknowledged that the “overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences” were also to blame for the effects.
Despite what science has already discovered, the scariest thing is what we do not know about GMOs.
“The perception that everything is totally straightforward and safe is utterly naive. I don’t think we fully understand the dimensions of what we’re getting into,” states Professor Phillip James. James is the author of the “James Report” on UK Foods Standards and the director of The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health at the University of Aberdeen.
Professor James’ warning echoes a growing number of professional and consumer voices who are speaking out about the dangers of GMOs.
4 Ways You Can Avoid GMO Foods
The defeat of the DARK Act happened because parents, professionals, scientists and others took a stand and said NO to the genetic alteration of food. Here are four ways that you can stay safe in the sea of Franken-foods that may greet you the next time you go to your local grocery store:
1.) Buy organic: Organic producers MUST NOT intentionally use GMO seeds. Be sure to look for the “Non GMO Verified” symbol on the packages of GMO-free foods;
2.) Avoid products that contain “at-risk” ingredients: The majority of the corn (including “high fructose corn syrup”), beet sugar, soybean, canola, cottonseed, and chemical sweeteners such as aspartame have been genetically modified in some way;
3.) Use on-line resources to find out about safe foods when you shop: A great resource is the popular Non GMO Shopping Guide, distributed by the Institute for Responsible Technology;
4.) Finally, get involved: Join the growing collective voice to BAN GMOs in your community, just like the citizens of Boulder, Colorado successfully did this past April!
Especially if you are on a healing journey with breast cancer, be proactive and take care of your health by eliminating all GMO foods from your diet.