Genetically-modified foods (commonly known as GMOs) are increasingly linked to immune disorders and many other health problems so it’s no surprise that more and more people are trying to avoid them. The “Big Six” foods are almost always genetically modified and it is best to avoid them as much as possible. They hide in most packaged, prepared and processed foods so eating fresh foods will help you steer clear of the worst culprits, which include:
1. Wheat—Most wheat is genetically modified now. This common food is found in most pastries, cakes, breads, buns, pancakes, waffles and other baked goods. It is also found in gravies (as a thickener) and sauces. This one can be tricky to avoid completely due to its ubiquitous nature. Choose non-gmo, wheat-free flour or ancient grain flour. Some choices include: gluten-free flour (free of corn), spelt, kamut, chickpea, brown rice or other wheat-free flour. Kamut and spelt are relatives of wheat so they contain gluten but most varieties have not been genetically altered.
2. Corn—Like wheat, corn is found in most foods now, usually as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, corn starch, corn flour, cornmeal, corn oil, dextrose, fructose, glucose and “modified food starch.” If the food you choose contains any of these ingredients it is highly likely to be a frankenfood.
3. Soy—Soy is largely genetically altered too so be sure you choose “Certified USDA Organic” or “Certified Organic” soy if you’re eating it. That includes soy milk, soybeans, soy flour, soy oil, tofu, miso, tempeh, soy sauce and other soy-based foods. It also includes food or supplements containing lecithin, protein isolate, vegetable oil, vegetarian protein and isoflavones.
4. Canola–Most canola is not what it used to be. It is now grown from genetically-modified seeds. It is found in canola oil, vegetable oil and rapeseed oil. If you’re baking, choose coconut oil or organic extra-virgin olive oil instead.
5. Cotton—Okay, I know you’re thinking “Cotton! But I don’t eat cotton!” And that may be true but if any of the processed, packaged, or prepared foods you’re eating contain cottonseed oil, then be aware it is likely derived from GM-cotton.
6. Sugar—Don’t hate the messenger. I know this is a hard one to accept but unless your sugar-containing foods are labeled “100% cane sugar,” “100% organic sugar,” or “evaporated cane sugar,” it is likely derived from sugar beets. And those beets were likely genetically modified. Choose coconut sugar or coconut sap instead. Not only does it taste great, it is a healthier option anyway. One teaspoon contains only 3 grams of sugar instead of the 4 grams of white sugar. That may not seem like a big deal but when you consider that the average person eats over 150 pounds of sugar a year, just switching to coconut sugar would reduce that intake by a whopping 37.5 pounds a year!