One of the most vital aspects of cultivating health is the quality of the food, water, and supplements you ingest. Eating food that is organic and free of chemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is important all the time, but even more so when one is losing weight, detoxing or trying to improve your health. When you are transforming your body, the chemicals and by-products from the substances we eat and drink that have accumulated in our fatty tissues are released into the bloodstream to be broken down and excreted from the body. Adding more chemicals to this toxic load is a recipe for disaster, so we need to be aware of the effects of genetically modified organisms vs. organic foods.
To give some context, let’s talk about conventionally grown foods vs organic.
In general, much of the conventionally grown food we eat is infused with pesticides, herbicides, food additives, artificial dyes, preservatives, ionizing radiation, sewage waste (“biosolid compost”) and chemical fertilizers. Some of these are quite poisonous to the body over time. For example, insecticides are usually designed to destroy the nervous or digestive systems of the insects they are targeting. These poisons can have the serious affects on the organs and nervous systems of humans; it just takes longer for the effects to show because of our exponentially larger size and more complex immune systems.
What is organic food? “‘Organically grown’ food is food grown and processed using no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Pesticides derived from natural sources (e.g., biological pesticides) may also be used in producing organically grown food.” – EPA.gov
Commercially Grown vs. Organic
It is true that conventional food is cheaper to grow and purchase when measured only in dollars. The studies done on the nutrient value of conventional vs. organic food have been inconclusive at best, so we can’t factually say that one is more nutritious than the other alone. However, it has been shown that organically grown produce has higher antioxidant levels. The main issue is that most studies have not measured the health impact of the chemical ingredients of conventional food, nor did they measure the ecological impact of conventional farming practices on the land and environment.
What are GMOs
Genetically modified organisms or GMOs present another health concern. While labeled as safe by the FDA, no long-term studies have been done on the health and ecological impact of GMO food. Many countries have banned the growing of GMO crops because of reported health problems. At the very least, consider that most plants are genetically modified to make them more resistant to the pesticides and herbicides with which conventional crops are sprayed, which means more poisons on the final food. Some crops are engineered to produce insecticides within their cells. This means the insecticide will be present in the food on the cellular level, and there is a concern as to whether eating those foods may be able to alter your cells. We don’t know what the affect will be because there is no research for this new phenomenon. Until more long-term, conclusive evidence exists that GMO food is truly safe and healthy, which is not funded by a biotechnology company, how do we truly know it’s safe to eat? As labeling of GMO food is not yet required in the U.S., you can seek out organic or “Non-GMO Project” verified foods to avoid GMOs
Don’t be mistaken. This doesn’t mean that everything labeled Organic is healthy. For example, highly processed foods like fast foods and candy will still add to your toxin load, even if it contains certified organic wheat, cheese and brown sugar. For maximum health, you may want to choose minimally processed, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and seeds for the bulk of your meals. Nor should you trust other claims like “all natural,” which means nothing (do your research on the term), or “low fat,” which means the product may still contain sugar, salt, MSG, and other toxic additives so that it still tastes good.
There is no perfect food or eating plan that I can recommend that will work for everyone. It is important that we consider not just processed foods, but also chemically treated and genetically modified foods when it comes to our health. We are striving toward weight loss, but we also want optimal wellness.