My information about health and sustainability comes from two main sources: 1) health/wellness blogs and 2) news websites. I often lean heavily toward the former, forgoing lengthy newspaper articles to read health and wellness blogs. I have no good excuse for this except that it’s usually more appealing to read things that are short, conversational, and/or interspersed with lots of pretty photos.
See? Which one would you rather read? (The right answer is mine. Obviously).
But. This approach can be dangerous. Why? Simply put, blogs are trendy. And your health, unlike your fashion sense, should not constantly fall prey to the latest fad. Recently, the blogosphere has been all about avoiding gluten, avoiding sugar, avoiding dairy, taking this and that supplement… you name it. But sometimes, these trends can have unexpected consequences.
GMO’s are no exception. It has now become trendy to bash GMO’s, and so that’s what many health blogs are doing. But there’s also another side to the story!
So, I turned to the news for some more information. I found a New York Times article that gave a relatively unbiased account of the pros and cons of GMO’s. You can read it here.
Here are the main points of the article:
1) We know very little about the long term effects of GMO’s. That experiment that showed GMO corn causes tumors in rats? It’s widely thought of as bogus by the scientific community. However, we also don’t have conclusive evidence that GMO’s are safe.
2) In some instances, GMO’s allow big companies to bump up their profits even more, at the expense of our health (for example, “Roundup-Ready” soybeans can withstand large amounts of pesticides). However, other GMO’s can actually contribute to solving hunger problems around the world. Researchers have developed a type of rice that produces Vitamin A, which is meant to address fatal Vitamin A deficiencies in some regions of the world.
3) For each argument about GMO’s, there is a compelling counter-argument. And it takes a lot of time and effort to sort through all of these and form your own opinion!
The article didn’t change my choice to avoid GMO foods when possible (I am fortunate enough not to be in danger of any vitamin deficiencies or malnutrition). But it make me realize that GMO’s are not necessarily a bad thing employed by evil companies to increase their profits. I’m by no means an expert on the topic! But it seems to me that the answer to the GMO debate lies in more research and a case-by-case approach to determining when it is appropriate to genetically modify foods.
What is your take on the GMO debate? Do you avoid them or eat them?