If corn is modified to withstand higher levels of herbicides, and if that corn is used in animal feed, and if a chicken is fed that feed, is injected with drugs, and lays eggs that are shipped to your grocery store, how “safe” are those eggs? By raising questions related to “what we eat” and “where it comes from” I’ve been pushing some buttons lately. I’m not about to stop.
Having an extensive background in fitness and nutrition, my most recent education came from exposure to excessive levels of toxic mold, residual exposure to compounds leading to chemical toxicity, and the intensely frustrating journey that followed. I struggled, I pushed, I spent, but most of all, I learned, and my conventional and life-experience education has now been enhanced by an interest in understanding the realities and ramifications of the onslaught of chemicals that permeate our food supply and our environment.
My curiosity is piqued whenever I hear of “new science,” and upon exploration I can’t help but raise my eyebrows and proverbial red flags in those cases where “science” appears to work against “nature,” or perhaps more succinctly, against the optimal function of the complex and amazing human machine.
Medications that hit the marketplace with robust enthusiasm within the medical community are sometimes irresponsibly deemed safe before the “effects” cause harm. Other medications are presented as necessary when they mask symptoms at the expense of the patient pursuing cure. With every such assertion I make, I open doors for criticism and for explosive controversy as there are agendas at stake. Here’s a stark reality. When an entity has bottomless pockets, lobbying power, and influence upon a global industry, the agenda at hand may cloud the emergence of truth, and knowing that, approach the word “safe” with extreme caution.
This is not paranoia, but rather evolving awareness, and a healthy skepticism. When body chemistry is altered, when natural foods are changed, and when new compounds become prevalent in an environment to which they are not indigenous, only time can reveal whether risk alerts were warranted.
I recently shared a French research study related to the safety of Genetically Modified Foods with my Be Better Platinum group of fitness professionals.
(Joël Spiroux de Vendômois, François Roullier, Dominique Cellier, Gilles-Eric Séralini, A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health, Int. J. Biol. Sci. 2009, 5)
Combination image of two pictures featuring rats with tumors after they were fed a diet of genetically modified (GM) maize produced by Monsanto (AFP Photo / Criigen)
In reading of excessive tumor growth in rats, the group reacted and in spreading the study to scientists, toxicologists, and doctors, the controversy began brewing. I wasn’t surprised. The study was challenged in major media outlets once it began to reach some eyes and ears in the U.S.
Intending to prompt continued exploration, intending to share an awareness that pharmaceutical companies, food manufacturers, and chemical suppliers may not always have our best interest in mind, I responded to some of the criticisms of the study with the following:
In the 1960’s, “scientists” “proved” that cigarettes were safe, that nicotine was not addictive, and that second hand smoke was harmless. Of course, RJ Reynolds American Tobacco, Phillip Morris, etc. were some of the most powerful lobbying entities of the day. They manipulated science, they manipulated media, and they buried documents that were released in the 1990’s only by court order. The fact is . . . THEY KNEW! Their denial was to protect their investments, and that’s before science was fully corrupted. You could have easily, in the 1960-‘s, found scientists who would openly dispute the “evidence” that “proved “cigarettes cause cancer.” Big tobacco made certain they were out there in abundance.
Let’s look beyond the single French study and understand that, like ‘em or hate ‘em, Monsanto and their tens of thousands of employees rely heavily on their top selling product, Roundup, to drive profits. Roundup kills weeds. I’ve read the disputes of the study, and they’re so reminiscent of big tobacco’s denial it might be mistaken as déjà vu.
I’d encourage anyone seeking to cut through the “reviews” of the study to begin to explore NK603 or glyphosate (the active ingredient in roundup) and get a sense of the harmful potential in mammals of this chemical. Then consider that GMO’s are modified to make the crops glyphosate resistant. In other words, if the crops can withstand more, Monsanto can sell more. Then consider that the chemicals we’re getting second hand from our foods are found in mother’s milk. Start to put the pieces together and the risk becomes, in my mind, more likely than not. Also consider that many of the disputers of the French study raise questions such as “why aren’t Americans dropping like flies?” Then look at the escalations in cancer.
The dissuaders of the study put the spotlight on the purported safety of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) but the spotlight need be expanded to consider, not only the genetic changes in the human machine GMO’s have been indicted for, but also for the link between genetic modification and increased use of herbicides and pesticides that ultimately find their way into human digestive tracts and cells.
I’m not pretending any single study is proof, but I am suggesting studies provide insight, and after all that I’ve read, seen, and learned, I’m seriously concerned. If I’m concerned, my words will raise concern in others, and that drives a greater movement toward health. I presented the study to my Be Better group as a vehicle for them to get media attention, but in my introduction of the topic to the group, I began with “this will be controversial.” So too was Phen-Fen when I started speaking against it on national TV. I like the controversy. I like the debates. I’m not on a soapbox on behalf of a single study, but I am a strong advocate for public awareness. Taking into account everything I’ve shared, and everything you’ll consider after thinking this through, attempt to find a satisfactory answer to the question, “Why shouldn’t we know what foods are genetically modified?” and the only answer is, “someone has something to lose.”
Today is the the day Proposition 37 is being voted upon in California. The initiative would require GMO’s to be labeled as such, and the pushback comes from the very real threat of a door being flung open for frivolous and excessive lawsuits against food companies and grocery stores. Regardless of how the ballot tumbles, isn’t it interesting that we have to vote upon whether or not we are allowed to know if our food has been altered in an unnatural way? Isn’t in interesting that while California has the initiative on the ballet, 49 other states don’t?
The ongoing exposure of the French study is guaranteed to drive continued reactions on both sides of the fence. I know where I stand. As someone who has argued the labeling laws for decades, I remain firmly planted on the side of truth. It just seems that getting to the truth remains the greatest hurdle.
Nobody argues that the French study took place. The arguments revolve around the efficacy of the data and the methodologies employed. A common criticism that seeks to poke holes in the study and in that support the perspective that GMO’s are safe points at European scientists as “anti-Monsanto.” This suggests they too may suggest they have an agenda, but let’s be honest. Who else is going to raise the vital questions? Certainly not fans of Dow or Monsanto or those who stand to prosper by an ongoing process that releases over 1500 new chemicals into our environment every year.
It wasn’t until people died from ephedrine that a movement was started to raise awareness, and it was started by the victims and the relatives of the victims. An agenda becomes important to put a movement in motion. This should drive more studies, including some that are unbiased (harder to find today since most research is funded with an agenda). We need the “anti” people to drive awareness if there is in fact a problem, a risk, a danger, or what we might loosely refer to as a conspiracy.
Before Vioxx was taken off of the market, before dangerous pregnancy drugs (thalidomide) were removed for their responsibility in causing birth defects, some scientists denied that initial studies were evidentiary. It’s part of the process.
I, and the fitness professionals I work with, continue to educate and empower relying upon the science we know to be legitimate, the methodologies and strategies we’ve learned to rely upon to improve health and fitness in the widest segment of our population. It is with that goal in mind that I will present my 105-minute A.L.I.V.E. webinar on November 14 at 7 PM. You can attend from your own home with a computer and a phone, and the cost? Only $20.12 with a money back guarantee of satisfaction.
I encourage you to continue to learn, to question, to explore, and to test, but urge you to raise caution when new procedures, drugs, chemicals, or technologies promise miraculous benefit. The true miracle is that which nature has given you. Let’s enhance it, not mess with it.
Be Better. Always Better.