Healthy eating


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GMO seeds

The case for the use of GMO seeds is equivocal. Many people are wary to utilize this new technology, that reaction is an integral part of human nature, as we also see with Covid vaccines. People tend to choose for a known danger over a new unknown (possible) danger. Our scientific understanding of genetic modification is not complete, especially not for the layperson.

The practices by big AG. To use the GMO science to create pest-resistant crops is in my opinion not the way forward, as we end up with high pesticide residues in our crops and we pollute the planet even more. The argument that these pesticide residues are harmless for humans does not take into account the microbial world living inside of us. Another argument often used by big AG. Is that we will need GMO crops to provide food for an ever-growing population, but this leaves the environmental consequences out of the picture. A shift in diet towards more plant-based diets would free up much of our arable land for human-food production and this shift appears to be necessary if we wish to have a liveable planet in the near future.

When the GMO crops are used to consolidate the power of our food production in the hands of a few big corporations, destroying small-scale farmers, criminalising seed-saving practices, and polluting the planet with pesticides, this is not something we should want. However, if you take the example of the purple tomato, which appears to have a benefit for the human population, it is all thrown on one big pile of GMO science, which has a bad reputation, and as such gets rejected by most consumers.

The requirements stipulated by the FDA before a GMO product can be introduced on the market work as a double-edged sword. We want to know of course that any new product brought on the market is safe, but the requirements turn the GMO business into something that is only available for big AG., and not the small-scale farmer.

Beyond these points, there remain some other issues with GMO technology. If we accept that the science of nutrition is infinitely complex, with everything being interconnected and reacting with each other, you conclude that you cannot do just ‘one’ thing in nature. As everything is interconnected, there can be a host of unintended consequences, which can go beyond our own limited understanding.

As with the purple tomato with a higher antioxidant value, it is the focus on single nutrients that leads to all kinds of issues. We know that these antioxidants are beneficial for human health when they are consumed in their whole plant form, but if we take them as an isolated compound in a supplement, they tend not to work in the way intended. We have the example of Beta-carotene, which was used as a supplement in a study to see if it would be beneficial for lung cancer patients. The study was initiated after research had shown that carrots had a protective effect on cancer-survival. The isolated beta-carotene in a supplement actually had the opposite effect and the study had to be stopped prematurely as the study subjects were succumbing to their disease faster. It is not that we have a deficiency of antioxidants, we have a deficiency of whole plant foods in our diet.

A shift in our daily diet can solve most of the issues that GMO technology intends to solve for us. There can be a place for GMO technology in our food production, but there have to be proper safety assessments before something is introduced onto the market. In the hands of big AG., these technologies will always be made with a profit model for the producer, not the farmer or consumer.

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