Are GMOs bad for you?

Plus: The benefits of cold water.

Wednesday. Spring is here (kind of), and everyone is gearing up for summer travel. American Airlines just ordered 260 new planes to meet growing demand, leaning into luxury with more first-class seats. Let’s just hope the doors don’t blow off mid-flight. In other news, Trader Joe’s recalled 61,000 lbs of steamed chicken soup dumplings (READ MORE). Why? Because they might contain hard plastic from a permanent marker. Yikes. 

Now, let’s get into the newsletter. Are GMOs bad for you? The answer is not so straightforward. Let’s dive in.


Beware Of Those GMOs (Maybe?) 

Sequence of lycopene

Everyone knows that non-GMO is the way to go. I mean, do you even care about your health? Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are terrible for your health and can lead to cancer. Right? 

Eh—it’s never that simple. 

For example, bananas are unanimously seen as healthy. Have you ever enjoyed a banana and marveled at how soft, sweet, and nutritious it is? What you’re enjoying is the result of thousands of years of genetic modifications made by humans through selective breeding. That type of gene modification seems okay, but technically, wouldn’t that make bananas a GMO? 

In more recent years, the method of tweaking organisms has taken a leap into the future, and these tend to be the type of GMOs most people worry about. Instead of waiting for generations for foods to evolve into what we want, scientists now directly edit genes, adding or removing bits to achieve desired traits. This process is what we refer to when we talk about modern genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

There’s a lot of buzz around GMOs, especially about their safety. Some folks worry that GMOs could be linked to cancer or that they come with risks we’re not yet aware of. But here’s the deal: as far as research shows, GMOs on the market are perfectly safe to eat.

These foods undergo extensive safety testing before hitting the shelves, ensuring they’re not directly harmful to consumers. The Food Standards Agency provides detailed information on how genetically modified foods are assessed for safety. You can find a detailed breakdown of that process HERE.  

But like we said in the beginning—the question about GMO safety is not that straightforward.  

When talking about GMO safety, there’s an important consideration regarding glyphosate, a herbicide often used in conjunction with GMO crops. Unlike the genetic modifications themselves, glyphosate does have a controversial safety profile and is banned in numerous countries due to health concerns. 

In places like the U.S. and some parts of Canada, where glyphosate isn’t banned, it’s frequently used on GMO crops engineered to resist it. This means those crops can be heavily sprayed without damage, leading to higher glyphosate residues in the final food products we put on our plates. This is where the real concern lies—not in the GMOs themselves but in the chemicals they’re designed to resist.

On a more positive note, it’s important to remember that not all GMOs are created with sinister purposes. In fact, many GMOs are engineered with consumer health in mind. For example, scientists have developed tomatoes with higher levels of GABA and soybeans with increased oleic acid content, both genetic modifications aimed at improving nutritional value (READ MORE)

GMO technology undoubtedly has the potential to enhance our food in ways that classical breeding can’t match quickly. It’s not all doom and gloom, glyphosate-soaked, cancer-causing, Monsanto corn we are talking about here. 

The key takeaway? The question of whether GMOs are good or bad doesn’t have a simple black-and-white answer. Their safety largely depends on how and why they’re made. While concerns about associated glyphosate herbicide use are valid and deserve attention, the technology behind GMOs holds some promise for nutritional improvements and maybe even more sustainable agriculture. 

At the very least, it’s important not to obsess about non-GMO labels when walking up and down the grocery store aisles. Does that label actually mean that a food product is healthier? Or is it just a marketing effort to get you to spend a few extra dollars on non-GMO rice cakes? Unfortunately, it might be the latter. 


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An urgent care chain in Ohio may be forced to stop paying rent and other bills to cover salaries. In Florida, a cancer center is racing to find money for chemotherapy drugs to avoid delaying critical treatments for its patients. And in Pennsylvania, a primary care doctor is slashing expenses and pooling all of her cash — including her personal bank stash — in the hopes of staying afloat for the next two months.


What Are The Benefits Of Cold Water?

Screaming Nat Geo GIF by National Geographic Channel

The prospect of jumping into chilly water or taking an ice-cold shower might make you shiver, but did you know there’s some science to suggest that a cold plunge could benefit your health? By now, you’ve probably heard chatter about how cold water can improve your mental health. But you might still be skeptical. So, what does the research say?

Recent research has turned up some interesting findings about the potential benefits of cold-water swimming. For example, a study in Britain in 2020 showed that swimming in cold ocean water reduced symptoms of depression up to ten times more than just watching the swimmers did for people on the beach. Another case reported a woman with treatment-resistant depression finding significant relief to her symptoms after swimming in cold seawater once a week.

Sounds promising.


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