The Low-Down on Non-GMO and What it Means to Your Body

What does non-GMO really mean?

With all the hype about biotech foods in the past few years it can get confusing as to what you should eat, what to buy, and why. Genetic modification doesn’t mean your food is crawling with harmful parasites or compounds created in the lab by mad scientists, but it does mean that the food you are eating has been altered.

What Does Non-GMO Mean?
Genetically Modified Organisms or (GMO) are organisms that have been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Using DNA technology, the molecules are combined to create a set of genes, and then the altered DNA is transferred to give it new genes, thus GMOs are constituents of genetically modified foods.

The controversy surrounding the use of genetically-modified foods is growing as groups and individuals alike view the topic with opposing views. Some feel the generation and use of GMOs is intolerable and believe that the potential negative ramifications of genetic manipulation are unavoidable. Others see genetic modification as simply a continuation of humans selecting specimens with the most desirable characteristics to use, as the next step in the evolution of crops.

Are GMOs Safe?
The United States is currently the largest commercial producer of genetically modified crops on the planet. In the U.S., GMOs can  be found in about 80% of processed food. GMOs are released under approval of the APHIS, or Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Agency and the USDA, United States Department of Agriculture. However in 2004, Medocino County California became the first county to impose a ban on the “Propagation, Cultivation, Raising, and Growing of Genetically Modified Organisms” and the measure passed with a 57% majority. Today, nearly 50 countries around the globe including Australia, Japan and all of the countries in the European Union have restrictions and even bans on the production, and sale of GMOs.

What Do GMO’s Do to My Body?
A 2009 study published by the International Journal of Biological Sciences analyzed the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health. It was found that GMOs may contribute to weight gain and organ failure in rats. Researchers found that “Three varieties of Monsanto’s GM corn – Mon 863, insecticide-producing Mon 810, and Roundup® herbicide-absorbing NK 603 – were approved for consumption by US, European and several other national food safety authorities.” (1)

The author of the study called the the GM methods used by Monsanto “a very serious mistake, dramatic for public health.” Researchers noted the negative effects were concentrated mostly in the kidney, and liver (the two most important detoxification organs). Researchers also said that GMOs “… have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown.”

Easy-to-Use Shopping List
Reading labels for nutritional information can be enough to worry about when you are trying to pick up the groceries. Go here to download an easy shopping guide you can take along to make keeping GMOs away from your table easier.

The Institue for Responsible Technology is comprehensive source of GMO health risk information online. Learn more about GMO’s in food here.

1) de Vendômois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D, Séralini GE. A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(7):706-726. Available from


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  1. I am a student at North Carolina State University studying Nutrition Science and aspiring to be a registered dietitian. I have written many papers and studied numerous articles on genetically modified organisms and so far, I can conclude that the people who are against GMO's are just plain uneducated or too ignorant to actually do the research. I'm afraid that people are going to get the wrong impression with this article and think that GMO's are bad for you or will cause health risks. The fact of the matter is, we (the US) have been consuming genetically modified foods since the 70's. People have died from infections from organic foods (E. coli outbreak), no one has ever died from consuming anything GMO. Labeling acts are just plain ridiculous and a huge waste of money. Genetically modified plants have the opportunity to solve world hunger, but no one is getting the correct information. Anyways, this is my opinionated response to your opinionated article.

  2. American's have been consuming GMO's ONLY since the mid-90s and a quick google search can help anybody verify that fact. Also, horizontal gene transfer, or inserting the DNA and genes from one species to another (creating a cross between say a tomato and a fish, that looks exactly like a tomato, but isn't) creates toxins, proteins, and mutated DNA that then ENTERS the stomachs and bloodstreams of the people who eat them, causing a host of medical problems in animal studies (tumors, cancers, GI problems, infertility; by the third and fourth generations all the animals are dead in some studies).

    1. Anna…the fact you equate genetically modifying a fish and a tomato to genetically modifying one species of corn with a different species of corn, is a clear indictment of America’s poor educational system.

  3. To anyone wondering about what they can do to avoid GMOs- buy organic when you can, especially anything with corn or soy (organic foods are not allowed to contain GMOs; complete lists of GMOs and what to avoid can be found through a google search) -having real foods and feeding your kids real foods is invaluable and more important than anything else you purchase. The #1 producer of GMOs is a corporation called Monsanto. It's CEO and upper staff REFUSE to eat their own products. They eat only organic, non-GMO foods. This should tell you something… Food is important and perhaps the most important thing you purchase for yourself and your family. America has forgotten that for a while, but we are slowly coming back to that realization. Organic food is more important than having an iphone or taking a vacation, etc. Food can = health, or food can = sickness, depending on your choices.

  4. Do you know anything about gluten does it have anything to do with non gmo? Sprouted bread would that be non gmo & would it be gluten free. What about all the soy that is in our food? The high frutrose corn syrup whats up with that? When I first eat after getting up my energy level drops way down, I want to go back to bed. I am thinking it is something I’m eating. Even after eating I still crave something to eat and I’m not hungry is there something addictive in our food that is causing people to want to eat?

    1. Barbara, You might consider doing the a gluten-free cleanse for 30 days and see if that makes a difference. Read all lables on foods, cook at home when possible, and avoid sugar added to products. Gluten and excess carbohydrates can trigger cravings for some people. We’re currently working on a 30-Day Gluten Detox. 🙂

  5. Way to go ANNA,? love your post comments about GMOs…you are so right.!!!! Healthy Foods = Health Life!

  6. I disagree what Chelsea said that “no one has ever died from consuming anything GMO”. GMO food contributes food addiction which leads to obesity and it creates a lot of other health issues like diabetes and heart disease. People won’t blame them dying from GMO food but they are all die from these diseases.

  7. Anna, you are right about everything you said about GMO’s. All true. There is plenty of articles and the whole truth about Monsanto and GMO’s if anyone really wants to know The food companies have said that it’s none of our business what’s in our food! And the FDA lies to us too. Monsanto is making billions, using their seed mixed with Roundup to make food last longer in the stores, but not to make food healthy for us. It’s poisoning us. I’m glad there are a lot of companies that put ‘non GMO’ and ‘organic’ on their labels. That’s all I buy and have for years. I’m 76 yrs. young and have never taken prescription drugs. I do take herbs and other supplements like vitamins and minerals to get what may be missing from my diet. Read and learn.

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