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The facts about your food before you take another bite.

You’ve spotted the label more and more lately: “Non-GMO”. You might be aware that the acronym stands for “Genetically Modified Organisms” and that the stamp verifies that what you’re buying is somehow good for you or the environment. Today, nearly 80 percent of our food supply contains GMOs, putting the volume of modified foods, clothing and agriculture at an all-time high. And with advocates on both sides of the debate for genetically modified food, it can be hard to know what’s what.

The “What” and “Why”
Genetically Modified Organisms are just that: gene combinations that don’t occur in nature and have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. The most prominent genetically modified crops and foods today include corn, canola, soy, sugarbeets, tomatoes, squash, animal feed and even cotton; however, there are few remaining industries GMOs haven’t influenced.

Now for the bad news…
A growing body of evidence continues to mount against the safety of consuming GMOs, mainly surrounding the hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases and increasing digestive issues. FDA scientists have insisted on long-term studies featuring these mutated organisms, receiving a lot of push back from government and industry. For the health-conscious population, these are considerable factors to chew on.

What to look for
Although looking out for the “Non-GMO” verification label is the best way to identify a GMO-free food, experts say you have to take a closer look— even following the trail of where the product was sourced and manufactured—to
see the bigger picture. Read labels and be on the look out for ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup and even ascorbic acid (also known as vitamin C), which is derived from corn, aspartame and even the sugar you add to your coffee.

What you can do
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find corn and soy products that are not modified. So what are the best ways to be GMO-free? To start, consuming whole foods when possible is critical, including wild rice, quinoa, coconut oil and coconut sugar. These are the best alternatives to corn and soy on the market today.

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Written by By Sandy Braz, Deputy Editor