Healthy Living Lab is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
When you choose what to eat and feed your family, you want to be sure they have the healthiest food possible. Aside from choosing a well-balanced meal that includes enough nutrients, fruits, and veggies, you should also consider where your food comes from. This often leads to the topic of GMOs.
Also called genetically modified organisms, GMOs are ingredients that are not found naturally. There are many different foods that can have GMOs, and you might not even know it. While this might not keep you from eating certain foods 100 percent of the time, you should be aware of them and what impact they might have.
1. What are GMOs?
In recent years, a major discussion involving a controversial and evolving technology that has changed the face of the agricultural industry has become a hot topic all over the world. GMOs have become a major part of life in that many products are made from them. Even though they’re credited with saving millions of lives around the world, a large percentage of the farmers, and consumers are somewhat skeptical of its merit, and usefulness in the food industry, but what are GMOs?
What They Are
To put it simply, GMOs are any organism that has been modified by removing, introducing, or replacing genetic code sequences. In the world of agriculture, this is primarily done to produce crops that grow larger, faster and have built-in protection from certain insects and diseases. This can also make them more resilient in a wider range of climates, and make varieties of fruits and vegetables a more viable food option for harsher or more extreme climates, in addition to sudden changes in weather like droughts or flooding.
Along with the many striking positives about this emerging science are the real-world effects that come with any innovation. These alterations make them a patented intellectual property that is owned by the company which produces them. That gives the company which produces them the right to dictate how their property may be used, where it can be sold, and which products can be used on the crops without causing damage or loss.
It also prohibits farmers from producing their own seed from those crops. The most important of these attributes however is the ability for genetically modified crops to cross breed with and choke out other strains of plants.
Currently, GMO technology is limited to just a few areas in the world. Many countries don’t accept GMOs, or products made with GMO ingredients. The major companies who create these products, plan to expand to other continents over the next 5 – 10 years in a move that they believe will introduce new ways to help mankind, but as long as a skeptical majority exists, there will be large obstacles to GMO activity as people fight to preserve traditional farming and food production methods.
2. How Can You Avoid Foods with GMOs
Now let’s take a moment to discuss avoiding foods that might contain GMOs. Discovering which foods contain GMOs isn’t always easy, but it can be a rewarding experience to know that you are truly capable of making a real choice. Not only that, but having the knowledge to discern can also guarantee that you will be getting healthy and natural food for your family.
Buy Products That Are Non-GMO Certified
If you’re looking for products that are Non-GMO, one of the best ways is to see if they’re non-GMO certified by the USDA. There will usually be a seal near the ingredients, or proudly and prominently displayed on the front of the packaging. This means that the USDA has investigated the product, and allowed it to be sold after reaching a standard. Many of these products will be available at your large chain stores, and areas where they are popular.
Buy Foods from Non-GMO Companies
One very blanket way to make sure that nothing you have is GMO, would be to buy foods that come from companies that never use GMO foods to begin with. They are likely to be certified as organic or non-GMO. These companies stick to farming methods that are more consist with modern versions of traditional farming. A large portion of these companies will only have products in specialty stores, but with the rising interest in fringe medicines, veganism, and organics, these types of stores have become more financially accessible for people.
Cook Your Own Organic Meals
People often underestimate the power of cooking for themselves. This is one major way that you can always know exactly what you’re eating. A combination between prepackaged organic foods and organic vegetables you buy can help you to quickly prepare very healthy transparent meals for yourself and loved ones. If you want to go the extra mile, you could even consider having a small garden to grow specific fruits and vegetables that you love to use. That way, you can reduce the cost of buying various organic foods, and keep a good source in your own literal backyard.
3. Hidden GMO Ingredients to Avoid
As people struggle to find more and more naturally produced foods and begin to reject the genetically modified foods, awareness of the presence of GMOs in food has reached a high point. In this research done by organizations and individuals, many have discovered that GMOs have still gotten past them and into their cupboards and refrigerators. A person may ask how that is possible, but the answer is simple. They got in through ingredients in many of the pre-made foods that you enjoy. If you’ve been looking to learn to distinguish which ingredients could pose an issue, here are some helpful tips for choosing foods without these common GMO ingredients.
If you’re someone who enjoys a breakfast cereal in the morning, then you might be shocked to find that most generic and popular name brand cereals use genetically modified ingredients. Corn is a major crop that is heavily genetically modified in the United States. GMO corn appears in a range of forms including: corn flour, corn masa, corn meal, corn oil, corn sugar, cornstarch, and especially corn syrup.
Corn Syrup is found in sodas and drinks of all types, and used as a sweetener in a large portion of packaged foods. If you have a pet that eats dry food, you might even discover that there are corn ingredients in their food as well.
Soybeans are another major GMO crop that has weaved its way into the homes of people everywhere because of its heavy use as both a flavor additive and a base on which food can be constructed, much like the way corn is currently used. It’s used with sodium to create soy sauce, which is a very popular condiment. Over time, the methods used to produce this crop were converted to GMO.
The most popular brands of soy sauce admittedly engage in heavy use of GMOs to produce their products. Some other soy related GMO products are named: soy flour, soy isolates, soy milk, soy oil, soy sauce, soy protein, soy protein concentrate, and soy protein isolate.
Many cooking oils are produced with genetically modified crops. The most common oil currently used is canola oil (rapeseed oil), which has been associated with a variety of disorders and decreased health. Other oils that you will want to be aware of are cottonseed oil, vegetable oil, vegetable fat. When these appear on a label, that is evidence of a GMO source.
4. Top Foods with GMOs
Have you been looking to find out which foods are made with GMO food sources? Many people say that the lack of transparency in the labeling of the food takes away the ability of the consumer to choose. These companies which produce GMO crops have done a lot of work to hide which products use GMO products, and keep people from being able to force the manufacturers to declare which foods contain GMO on their packaging. Thankfully, there is information available to keep you in the know, and this information will be geared towards sharing the top foods with GMOs.
The soybean plant is one of the most heavily produced GMO crops in the world. Soy products make up a large percentage of GMO products, second only to corn as the largest crop by far. Soybeans are used in nearly every diet that exists, so they are easily incorporated into a variety of prepackaged dishes, condiments and sauces of all types. The world’s largest soy sauce company uses genetically modified ingredients in a nearly exclusive capacity, which means that it is nearly over 95% GMO.
This crop dominates the world of GMO science. Corn was one of the first extremely successful crops produced and owned by a company. GMO corn has found its way into a wide variety of products, from shampoos to breakfast cereals. Over 80% of breakfast cereals depend exclusively on GMO corn to produce their cereal. Corn is even used as a thickening agent in some liquids, as well as fill for heartier foods. Hard pet foods routinely use it as a filler also.
This oil is extremely popular in the production of fried foods. Canola oil is a common oil used in recipes as well. It is derived from the rapeseed, and is considered one of the least natural oils that are commonly used today.
Milk and Dairy
It is estimated that close to 20% of milk is considered to be GMO in login. This is because the cows that produce the milk have been given growth hormones that change the way that they grow, often speeding up the process of growth and having unpredictable side effects. Much of this milk is processed very heavily so that it more closely resembles what most people consider to be normal milk.
5. Brands That Do or Don’t Have GMOs
One really great way to avoid something like GMOs is to simply purchase and use brands that don’t use them at all. The following is a small list that includes popular brands that may or may not contain GMOs. The first list is brands that are known not to carry GMOs, while the second list includes brands that have shown to carry GMO products. This is not a full list, but it gives you a good idea of brands to go for, and brands you might want to avoid.
Brands That Don’t Use GMOs
This is a small list of some popular brands that don’t contain GMOs. You might find these brands in your regular grocery store or in health food stores. Many of these brands sell their food online as well.
Amy’s Kitchen – All foods are GMO-free, including soup, chili, and frozen meals.
Blue Diamond – The Almond Breeze almond milk is certified as non-GMO.
Bob’s Red Mill – This is a family-owned company that never uses GMOs.
Earth Balance – Look for their butter bread, peanut butter, mayonnaise, and soy milk.
Earth’s Best – This is a natural and organic baby food manufacturer that does not use GMOs.
Newman’s Own – Enjoy their entire line, including coffee, tea, pet food, salad dressing, oil, and snacks.
Nature’s Reserve – This is located in Australia, raising all grass-fed beef and inspected by the USDA.
Brands That Use GMOs
Unfortunately, there are some brands you know and love that use GMO ingredients. However, keep doing your research, before some companies are trying to make improvements where they use more natural ingredients. Here is a brief list of some of the more popular brands you may want to avoid:
Kellogg’s – There are quite a few packaged and cereal brands that use GMOs, including Kellogg’s brand. They use a lot of GMO corn in their breakfast cereals especially.
Nestle & Hershey’s – Two popular chocolate brands that contain GMOs are Nestle and Hershey’s. Nestle not only uses GMOs in their candy bars, but their baby food as well.
General Mill’s – Another cereal and packaged food brand that uses GMOs is General Mills. However, they now carry some oats without GMOs, so read your labels closely.
Pepsi & Coca-Cola – Both Pepsi and Coca-Cola have been shown to use some GMO ingredients.