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Tag: gmo

Hiding Aspartame in Milk Products

Just when you  thought you were doing a good job in choosing natural products and avoiding adding chemicals to your body, along comes the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) to petition the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow them to add Aspartame and other “non-nutritive sweeteners” to milk products without identifying them as so “enhanced.”Aspartame in milk products

These guys want to add Aspartame, a collection of chemicals used as a sugar substitute, to the flavored milks offered in school lunchrooms without labeling the milk as “low-calorie” or “sugar-free”. They believe that labeling that touts “lower calorie” or “sugar-free” will hinder the marketing of these flavored milk boxes to kids.

Since the flavored milks already say “low-fat” on the individual-size boxes, I think this is a specious claim designed to help push through their bigger agenda, which is to be able to add Aspartame to dairy products such as sour cream, half-and-half, yogurt, heavy cream, evaporated milk, dry nonfat milk… 17 dairy products in all, without prominent labeling indicating that this is an adulterated food.

You’ll reach for a quart of “milk”, but what you’ll really be getting is “milk with added Aspartame.”

Without going into why Aspartame is bad for you and what kinds of symptoms someone with Aspartame sensitivity might experience upon exposure (seizures, migraines, chronic fatigue, skin issues, Multiple Sclerosis-like symptoms, etc.), let’s think about living in a country where any normal-looking milk product you purchase at a store or  ingest at a restaurant could likely contain Aspartame. Get sour cream on your baked potato, and you’re getting Aspartame. A latte at Starbucks? Aspartame. A cup of Boston clam chowder? Aspartame. Not to mention all of the normal routes that you’re already getting Aspartame through: diet sodas, chewing gum, bottled salad dressings, and on and on. All of that Aspartame really adds up in your system.

In case you didn’t know, too: Aspartame is a GMO.

What infuriates me perhaps most of all about this insidious method of boosting corporate profits, is that it takes away our freedom and ability to choose for ourselves what we want to put into our own bodies and gives it to chemical companies.

There has been a lively debate about this over at The Healthy Home Economist, with a few chemists piping up in the comments to claim that the chemicals in Aspartame are just as good for you as real food.

If you think we deserve to have Aspartame-enhanced foods, feel free to leave you comment for the FDA on how you feel about the petition to add Aspartame to milk products without distinguishing them as such. You’ll see the Comment link at the top right of the page.

Why You Should Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Yesterday I wrote about the surprising prepared/processed/packaged foods that may contain corn syrup or its derivatives. Today I want to touch on why high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) might be harmful for your health.

The last time I wrote about high fructose corn syrup and sugar, I unexpectedly received a large package by snail mail from the corn growers association containing a lot of printed propaganda about the goodness of corn derivatives and how the human body cannot tell the difference between corn syrup and cane sugar. Sweet is sweet, they say.

Don’t fall for it. We have had the wool pulled over our eyes for too long and our population is paying the consequences.

I was not convinced that high fructose corn syrup is the same as sugar because I know that:

* High fructose corn syrup is many times more concentrated than natural sweeteners like sugar. The dose you receive from a soda or candy made with HFCS is intensified and sweeter than it would be from cane sugar..

* It would be hard to eat anywhere near as much corn or sugar as you take in with a small amount of high fructose corn syrup.

* HFCS spikes blood glycemic levels, forcing the pancreas to work overtime producing insulin to process it all. When the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand for insulin, you get Type II Diabetes.

* According to Michigan researchers, brain cells develop insulin resistance, just as body cells do

* Since at least 88% of all corn grown in the United States is now Genetically Modified (GMO), the odds are unavoidably high that the high fructose corn syrup in that packaged food is concentrated GMO corn extraction.

* In a fascinating article in the September/October issue of Psychology Today, Nikhil Swaminathan examines the plight of the bees and how it reflects on human health. He discusses how Round-Up Ready (TM)  GMO corn leaches the Round-Up (TM) organophosphate-based chemical pesticides into the kernel, contaminating all of the corn derivative products added to our processed foods. The toxins accumulate with every ingestion of products containing high fructose corn syrup. The stark truth: bees fed high fructose corn syrup laced with organophosphates died. Researchers in Montreal looking for organophosphates in the urine of preschoolers found detectable levels of organophosphates in 96% of kids tested. Basically, everyone is being fed these poisons through our food supply.

* Exposure to the organophosphates used as pesticides with Round-Up Ready (GMO) corn  can lead to measurable cognitive deficits in children, hormone disruption, and heightened hypersensitivities, likely due to the additive effects of multiple exposures. The EPA only looks for single exposure limits, but since the toxin can be found in so many additives, typical eaters in our modern society likely receive many exposures over the course of a single day.

At some point, each one of us could inadvertently cross that invisible, personal, toxin threshold that sends our bodies into constant reaction. Until you get there, you really don’t know how lucky you are to have your health and not feel miserable within your own skin almost every day. Once you arrive at this dreadful place, it is a long, arduous climb to cross that constantly lowering threshold again and regain a state of health.

I’ve been there and it resulted in three years of constant hives. A good day would be thirty hives, and a bad day three hundred. So many days were miserable because I was so uncomfortable inside my own skin. I feel lucky that I was able to heal and survive beyond the hives; I remember researching online and finding posts from people who had been suffering with hives for 17 years or longer. It took a lot of effort for me to clear out enough toxins from my life and my body to surmount my threshold and return to health, and I learned a lot about clean and healthy living in the process.

My advice: avoid high fructose corn syrup whenever possible and find out your own particular hypersensitivities.

What Foods Have Been Genetically Modified (GMO)?

At the Seeds of Doubt conference outside of Boulder, CO, last weekend, I learned exactly which fruits and vegetables in our country could be grown from a genetically-modified seed and end up in your grocery cart and you would never know it.

Europe has banned GM foods for human and animal consumption for more than a decade while the American government has not acted to protect the public health from the corporate goals of the GMO industry. Even developing nations in dire need for food have recognized the risks of tinkering with our sustenance in this way. In 2002, Zambia rejected a donation of GM corn seeds even though they were on the brink of famine, saying science had not yet proven their safety. Still, GMOs have infiltrated the U.S.A. at many levels.

The GMO industry doesn’t even want us to know when we’re eating GM foods, because they fear we will reject them if we knew what we were eating, so they are fighting labeling initiatives at the state level. They have good reason to fear this as experiments have shown that even animals will reject GM feed when given the option. The more we learn about Genetically Modified foods and this experiment with the public health and its effects on our future generations and our lands, the more certain of that rejection we will become.

To start, we need to know which foods gracing our tables every day could be, if grown on non-organic farms, Genetically Modified produce. It’s a pretty short list, though most of these are ubiquitous in our cuisine:

  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Canola (95% of the canola crop is “Roundup Ready”)
  • Cottonseed
  • Sugar Beets

Unless you see the word “organic” associated with these items, you can be pretty sure these days that these crops were grown from genetically modified seeds. These seeds have been genetically modified to be “Roundup Ready” (TM), or amenable to the glyphosate-based fertilizer that is used in Monsanto’s “RoundUp” (TM) fertilizer product.

Three other vegetables and fruits are Genetically Modified to be virus resistant:

  • Papaya from Hawaii (papaya from other places are not GMO)
  • Zucchini
  • Crookneck squash

In March of 2012 the FDA approved the unlabeled sale of genetically modified salmon in the U.S. The only way to ensure you are not purchasing these mutant salmon-like fish, you must choose salmon labeled “wild-caught”.

Another everyday Genetically Modified item that may surprise you: Aspartame, otherwise known as Equal, is a GM product. Yet one more reason not to drink diet sodas.

You can check if the items at your local grocery store are Genetically Modified with the ShopNoGMO chart and free mobile phone app. Also, you can support labeling initiatives, so that at the very least we can each choose to eat franken-foods or not. Knowledge is power.

Should Genetically Modified Foods be Labeled as Such?

Today, with the click of a button, I was able to lobby my congressional representatives about a topic I care deeply about: the labeling of genetically-modified foods.

In a nutshell, the biggest GMO manufacturer, Monsanto, is fighting tooth and nail against labeling laws that would require the origin of the ingredients to be listed. Monsanto claims their laboratory manipulations of our food supply are safe to consume. There are those of us who either disagree or believe the jury is still out on that claim, but regardless, the information should be made available so that you, the consumer, can make the choice to eat GMOs or not for yourself.

Right now, we do not know which foods we are eating are GMOs and which are not because there is not a labeling requirement in this country regarding GMOs. Knowledge is power, and without the knowledge we are powerless to make our own decisions. lobby against monsanto and GMO

The Organic Consumers Association made it easy for me to send off the following letter as part of their “Millions against Monsanto” campaign:

Like most consumers, I want to avoid foods that contain genetically modified organisms, but they are not labeled.

In fact, the federal government does nothing to regulate, or guarantee the safety of, agricultural crops — and now food animals — that have been altered with foreign genes. There has never been a longitudinal scientifically rigorous health study on the impacts of eating genetically altered foods.

The little science there is shows that GMOs are more likely to trigger novel allergies, are less nutritious, sprayed with more herbicides, and contain elevated levels of hormones that correlate with common cancers. And, there’s no doubt that the most common GMO foods are linked to epidemic levels of obesity and diet-related diseases. These include artery-clogging meat and milk products from animals fed GMO grains, trans fats from GMO vegetable oils, and high fructose (GMO) corn syrup.

Public health depends on labeling GMO foods so consumers can avoid them. Mandatory GMO labels are popular with consumers, consistently earning polling numbers politicians dream of.

I am hoping that you and your colleagues in the state legislature can help. Please stand up for consumers’ right to know and truth in labeling by introducing a bill to label GMO foods this year.

I look forward to hearing from you on this important topic.

Join the Millions against Monsanto campaign here and use your voice to demand transparency in our food supply so that we can make our own choices about what we want to eat when it comes to our health.

What do you think? Do you think we should have the right to know if a food is a GMO or not? Does it matter to you?

Genetically modified foods damage fertility

A new study shows that genetically modified foods damage fertility.

“This work will do huge damage to the GM industry worldwide, since it shows that a crop — Monsanto’s maize line NK603 x MON810 — which has been approved as safe by EFSA, and given consent for use in food and feed by the EC, is in fact dangerous to health.  It demonstrates that the approvals process is at best inadequate and at worst corrupt.”

-Dr. Brian John of GM Free Cymru speaking about a new study out of Austria confirming previous study results that indicate GM corn damages the reproductive system of laboratory rats.

Let’s hope that this study will affect the credibility, legality, and profitabilty of the genetically-modified food industry.

Did you catch the recent article about Monsanto’s evil doings in Vanity Fair magazine? News of their nefarious practices is finally reaching mainstream America and opening our eyes to the truth behind GM food.

I loved the part in Michael Pollen’s The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, where he finishes up an in-depth exploration of the history and cultivation of the potato by hesitantly eating a genetically-modified specimen in an Idaho potato farmer’s kitchen.