It is not any secret that Americans, along with many people from other countries are losing the battle of the bulge. A new study shows that over the past three decades, the number of overweight and obese people worldwide has increased from 857 million to 2.1 billion.
The usual culprits are often blamed, such as increased consumption of processed foods, and of course, consumers indulgence in the fast food industry. Although these play a major role in adding to obesity, another theory has now emerged and that is the introduction of genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) into the food supply. It is interesting that the United States is home to the highest proportion of the world’s obese people and also grows and consumes the highest amount of GMO crops.
GMOs are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology. This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. In other words, food that contains GMOs are created in a laboratory, and not by nature’s design.
Researchers from Norway fed food containing GMOs to one group of rats, and food that need not contain GMOs to another group. Over a ninety day period, the rats on the GMO diet grew fatter and had a larger appetite than the non-GMO group. The study also showed that the rats got even fatter when they ate fish that had been raised on GMO corn.
“If the same effect applies to humans, how would it impact people eating this type of corn over a number of years, or even eating meat from animals feeding on this corn?” questioned lead researcher, Åshild Krogdahl, PhD, a professor at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science. “The findings could give us some understanding of the potential effects for these animal species as well as for humans,” he suggested.
“The rise in obesity among children is especially troubling in so many low- and middle-income countries,” study author Marie Ng, an assistant professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), said in an institute news release. “We know that there are severe downstream health effects from childhood obesity, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many cancers. We need to be thinking now about how to turn this trend around,” she added.
“Obesity is an issue affecting people of all ages and incomes, everywhere,” IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray said in the news release. “In the last three decades, not one country has achieved success in reducing obesity rates, and we expect obesity to rise steadily as incomes rise in low- and middle-income countries in particular, unless urgent steps are taken to address this public health crisis.”
More than fifty percent of the world’s 671 million obese people live in the United States, China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan and Indonesia. All of these countries still grow GMO crops, except for Russia which in April of this year, enforced a ban on growing GMO crops, or importing GMOs products.
“It has been proven that not only in Russia, but also in many other countries in the world, GMOs are dangerous. Methods of obtaining the GMOs are not perfect, therefore, at this stage, all GMOs are dangerous. Consumption and use of GMOs obtained in such way can lead to tumors, cancers and obesity among animals. Bio-technologies certainly should be developed, but GMOs should be stopped. We should stop it from spreading,” stated Irina Ermakova, Vice President of Russia’s National Association for Genetic Safety
“If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food,” said Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons: courtesy of Bigplankton