For the benefits of those who might be hearing this term GMO for the first time, GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms and it stands for those organisms whose original or natural status has been altered through what they called Bioengineering Technology.GM Foods are therefore any food produced from those genetically altered organisms.
This article is centered on finding out what the health benefits of GM Foods are and whether it is healthwise to consume foods produced from the genetically modified organism.
In an earlier article, I enumerated the dangers and health risk associated with genetically modified foods(GM Foods) and now there is need to balance up things.
A Peep Back Into The Story Of GMO – The Beginning.
Before the Technologically and scientific enhanced organism modification, ancient farmers had been selecting the most productive and disease resistant crops and other organisms from their domesticated breeds for years.
By 1860, an Austrian monk, Gregor Mendel was able to systematically crossed-bred varieties of garden peas through gene transfer, and that brought about the concept of the gene as a heredity.
The discovery of a substance today called DNA by a German chemist Friedrich Meischer in 1868 and a further collaboration in 1944 by Oswald Avery gave birth to more scientific studies which would lead to manufacturing new sequences that produce a desirable effect in a living organism, that result is what eventually brought about what is known today as GMO.
By 1972, gene splicing has begun and by 1990, the food industry has fully embrace gene-splicing technology with the FDA giving its full backing to the safety of a new strain of GMO rennet.
With these series of breakthrough, most food companies, as well as companies into the formulation of dietary supplements, embraced GMO and a full-scale production of GMO products took effect.
The steady rise of GMO saw in 1998, about 80% of fields in the USA planting GMO Corn and even though they have been series of voices raised against the rise of GM Technology with many questioning the health and environmental safety of foods produced with GMO, many farmers remain adamant that the science behind GM Technology is safe and gives farmer more yields.
Going forward, are foods produced from organisms whose genes are altered safely for human consumption? Really, What is the health benefits of GMO Foods to mankind?
What Is The Health Benefits Of GMO Foods?
To the farmers, GMO comes with lots of commercial benefits. Modified crops are able to resist drought, weeds, pest and so many other diseases, increase yield by as much as 300% in most case and so on and so forth.
Some of the genetically modified crops like Soybean, potato, maize, canola oilseed, tomato, squash, and chicory are able to resist herbicides.
To the government, with a constant increase in population and starving especially in the third-world countries, the demand for food is always on the increase. The advent of GM technology, therefore, brings about an increase in crop yield and food production.
Coming to the area of health, there seems to be diverse opinion as it regards the health benefits derived from GM Technology.
To the opponent of GM Technology, food produced from the genetically modified organism are a complete health risk to the society. This article on the side effects of GM Foods presents the complete side and argument from those opposed to GM Technology.
But to the biotech industries, GM Foods has among its many health benefits, apart from the commercial benefits include.
For the most part, GM foods are developed to have enhanced nutritional content compared to some organic foods. GM Foods are produced with added vitamins and minerals like protein especially in food with insufficient protein, GM rice known as ‘Golden Rice enriched with pro-vitamin A, etc.
Most organic foods nutrients get depleted during processing time but with GM Technology, most food sources are able to retain their nutritional value even after passing through rigorous processing methods.
In terms of food texture, GM Food has been developed to have better texture, flavor and nutritional value.
Looking at it from another angle here, many developing countries, especially in the Middle East and some parts of Africa, rely on rice as a staple food. The problem is, rice alone can not provide all the nutrients required for a normal body function. If Rice were to be Genetically Modified with all the required minerals and vitamins in adequate proportion, the nutritional need of those who depend on rice would have been taken care of.
2. Enrich with antioxidant.
Perhaps one of the most important health benefits of GM Foods is the enhancement of antioxidant presence in crops with less antioxidant.
Antioxidants are very important in the body as they protect the body cells from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules, and they are generated either by exposure to the sun, natural aging process or by stress and they can cause irreparable damage to the DNA, cell, and collagen.
GM technology ensures foods with an enhanced antioxidant like carrots are produced with sufficient nutrients.
3. Other Benefits.
When animals are Genetically Modified, certain of the genes are inserted into their genomes making them become resistant to the disease-causing pathogen as well as producing more nutritious milk, better meat, and eggs.
Information from the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy stated some of the amazing benefits of GMO that, GM Food sources gives a better taste, increased nutrients, resistance to disease and pests, and faster output of crops.
GM Biotechnology no doubt has lots of benefits especially from the economy angle as it concern farmers and governments.
In the USA, corn is said to be the biggest and most widely grain grown by farmers, and with GM Technology, crops which were before now prone to weed and disease are able to become resistant to weeds, pest and other diseases, give a bigger yield and land used more efficiently.
Organisms with fewer nutrients are now been modified to contains more nutrients to the benefits of those that rely on it for their dietary needs.
In the midst all these commercial benefits, it is left to be proven how Genetically Modified foods benefits the health of consumers.
In fact, as it is now, the dangers associated with consuming foods and dietary supplements produced from genetically organisms seems to overshadow whatever benefit it has.
Although some of the purported health risk associated with GM Foods have not been clinically proven, although some countries like Russia have gone ahead to ban the Technology.