Eat to Live: Steps Toward Healthy Food Systems

| 8/5/2015 3:37:00 PM

Food is life. Yet eating is something most of us do so often, it can be easy to let feeding our bodies become mindless. Engaging with our food sources is often the most fundamental way in which we interact with other life on our planet. The simple act of choosing good food can transform our basic nourishment into a celebration of the miraculous connections in nature. Whether by learning how science affects our food supply; supporting the call to act as stewards of the farm animals on which much of our diet depends; or simply adding new recipes to our tables, considering our food sources more deeply can be one of the best ways to connect with our health and our planet.

Fun Fact

404 million pounds: How much the use of genetically modified crops increased overall pesticide use from 1996 to 2011, according to a study published in Environmental Sciences Europe.

Weird Science

Safety testing of genetically modified (GM) foods isn’t mandated by the U.S. government. Rather, it’s voluntary on the part of GM developers. These independent animal studies indicate more research may be wise.

According to a study published in The Journal of American Science, rats fed GM corn for 45 and 91 days showed differences in organ and body weights and in blood bio-chemistry, indicating potential adverse health effects (and that more research is needed), compared with rats fed a non-GMO variety grown side-by-side in the same conditions.

A study published in the Journal of Organic Systems found that pigs fed GM corn and soy over 22.7 weeks suffered more severe stomach inflammation than pigs fed a non-GM diet. GM-fed females had on average a 25 percent heavier uterus than non-GM-fed females, a possible indicator of disease that requires further investigation.

Mice fed a diet of potatoes genetically modified with genes from the insect-repelling bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) showed abnormalities in the cells and structures of the small intestine, indicating mild damage to the intestines, according to a study published in the journal Natural Toxins. A control group of mice fed non-GM potatoes containing a naturally occurring Bt toxin showed no abnormalities.

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