In my high school gym class, the most common subject girls talk about is health; mainly, how much weight they want to lose after getting out of gym. When girls ask me if I know of any diets or have any suggestions on how to lose weight, I always reply: “Stop eating high-fructose corn syrup.”
Recent studies have shown that the body cannot process high-fructose corn syrup mostly because it is genetically modified. A biology professor at the CRIIGEN Institute in France (where they have banned genetically modified organism or GMOs), Gilles-Eric Séralini and his colleagues published an independent study on the repercussions of GMOs in mice in 2009. Contrary to the result of Monsanto’s insufficient 90-day GMO trial, Séralini’s 180-day GMO trial showed an increase in overall body weight of about 3.7 percent, while also increasing the weight of the liver by up to 11 percent, amongst other disturbing findings.
As few people are aware; more than 90 percent of our corn and soy in America is genetically modified. They were created to be either pesticide-resistant or produce their own pesticide so that farmers will get a higher yield from their crops. Yet even after 15 years of using genetically modified corn and soybeans, the yield has not increased significantly. In fact, the only thing that has gone up is the use of pesticides.
Regardless of whether it’s the pesticide or the quazi-franken plant, it’s leaching into our food and creating problems ranging from obesity, to digestive disorders, to food allergies to cancerous tumors.
Originally, my opinion about GMOs was similar to my peers. I thought, “I don’t care. Everything gives you cancer. There’s no point in trying to avoid it. Whatever.” It wasn’t until my father, in one of our heated political discussions, told me that he had been diagnosed with a digestive disorder, known as leaky-gut syndrome did I begin to understand the repercussions of this imposter food and how it could affect me.
Leaky-gut syndrome is caused by microscopic holes in your digestive track and most commonly causes food allergies, exacerbated by wheat because, even though wheat is not genetically modified, the wheat molecule is small enough to get through the holes and into the bloodstream before it is completely digested. Ironically, the GMO corn that creates its own pesticide, known as BT corn, kills the insect by creating microscopic holes in its digestive system. There may be a correlation here; scientists are still trying to figure it out.
Contrary to popular belief, genetic engineering is dissimilar to cross breeding because it requires an unnatural assimilation from a foreign species. GMOs are created by attaching a gene that is not related to the plant species and attaching it to a microorganism (often e. coli), which then delivers the DNA attribute into the plant. Not to mention, GMOs are everywhere: school lunches, packed lunches, home dinners, local market and even in some health food store products. Worst of all, they do not have to be labeled.
In the last decade, researchers have found an incredible spike in food allergies to wheat, corn and soy. Interestingly enough, the victims of these allergies are under the impression that they are actually allergic to the wheat, the corn and soy, even when before the widespread use of GMOs people rarely endured allergic reactions these vegetables.
The reality of the matter is the American public is the biotech industries’ lab rats. A study published in The Food & Toxicology Journal and presented at a news conference in London found eating genetically modified corn caused rats to develop shocking tumors, widespread organ damage and premature death. In fact, according to WebMD, two years after the introduction of GMO food products, colon cancer has steadily been increasing in patients younger than 50 by 2 percent to 3 percent each year.
The debate over whether or not GMOs should be legal, labeled or not, is a widespread debate across the nation. I, however, am dumbfounded that there is even a debate over a seed that cannot be touched by the planter’s hand because it’s toxic, poisons the ground and destroys the lives and heirloom seeds of farmers.
At 16 years old, I am not here to evoke yet another endless debate about whether or not GMOs should be legal, to preach my political views or criticize your opinion on what is digestible food. I am here, with just and truthful intentions, to do what the politicians, media and giant corporations won’t: advocate for your children, for your babies, for your nieces and nephews, and your grandchildren to say: Stop it. Stop killing. Stop poisoning us. Stop feeding us GMOs.
Aama Harwood is the arts editor at El Diablo, the Durango High School student newspaper. She is the daughter of Mitch Harwood and Christy Cooke of Durango.