Archive | August 10, 2015

GMOs – What’s The Latest?

by Jennifer Benedetto MS, RD, LD, CNSC at LMC

The United States House of Representatives recently passed a bill that will block states from requiring GMO food labels. What are GMOs? Should we be concerned that these items are hidden in our food supply?

CornGMOs are genetically modified organisms.These plants, animals or microorganisms have had their genes changed in a way that is not possible in nature. These changes make the organisms thrive in their environment. For example, GM crops are produced by transferring a gene responsible for a beneficial characteristic into the DNA of a host plant’s cells. The cells within the seeds grow into a mature plant that displays the desired characteristics. Plants have been changed to be insect resistant, drought resistant, and virus resistant. GMOs are argued to be sustainable crops that will be available to feed a growing population.

SoybeansThe first GMO crops became commercially available in 1996. The major commercially available genetic engineered crops include alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soy, squash, sugar beet and sweet corn. GMO varieties became the majority of the US corn crop in 2005 and the majority of the soybean crop in 2000. It has been reported that “trillions of GM meals” have been consumed in the US. It is estimated that there is at least 1 GMO in a given processed food. High fructose corn syrup is a frequent GMO ingredient. But since these foods are not monitored or labeled, there is no way to study patterns of consumption and their impacts. Even though the vast majority of scientists say that eating GMO’s is safe, their inclusion in the food supply is controversial. In a January poll, 57% of Americans feared that GM foods are unsafe.

GMO SealUnfortunately it seems the jury is still out on the safety of GMOs. For the time being, the only way to know that you are avoiding GMOs is to either eat organic foods or find foods with the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal. The USDA National Organic Program prohibits the use of GMOs in any product that carries the “certified organic” label. The “Non-GMO Project” is an independent verification system dedicated to identifying products made without GMOs. A list of tested and approved products can be found on their website: www.nongmoproject.org.

PapayaSo for now, the government is not going to require GMO labeling, but with a little leg work, you can find non-GMO foods at your local supermarket.

A Stroke Can Happen to Anyone

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs and begins to die.

Warning signs include weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, facial drooping, confusion and the inability to talk.

As this story from WIS-TV shows, stroke can happen to anyone – including a seemingly healthy 25-year-old.

According to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Stroke is an emergency. Call 911 at the first sign of stroke. Modifying your lifestyle can help prevent stroke.