Eating ‘clean’ and GMOs the topic of WHY workshop

As consumers become more aware of risks associated with genetically modified food (GMO), many are seeking a clear path on how to avoid GMOs, focusing instead on eating a clean, whole-foods diet.

Since most GMO foods are not labeled, it’s not always an easy task.

The issue was discussed recently by Pauline Weissman, a West Hartford board-certified nutrition specialist, during a recent nutrition workshop on clean eating and GMOs held at West Hartford Yoga. Weissman counsels clients two days at week at WHY and two days a week at Salud Intergrative Medicine, located in Farmington. 

“Most people eat much more processed foods than they realize,” said Weissman, a mother of four, who works with clients to help identify where processed foods are filtering into their diet. “Many people think they are doing it well, and really, they may not be eating a clean diet.”

A GMO is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.

First introduced into the food supply in the mid-1990s, GMOs are now present in the vast majority of processed foods in the U.S. While they are banned as food ingredients in more than 60 countries today, here in the U.S., the Federal Drug Administration does not require independent safety testing or labeling of GMOs to better protect consumer interests.

Currently, commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy (94 percent), cotton (90 percent), canola (90 percent), sugar beets (95 percent), corn (88 percent), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50 percent), zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres), according to the Institute for Responsible Technology.

The products created from the above include oils from all four, soy protein, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, among others. There are also many “invisible ingredients,” derived from GM crops that are not obviously from corn or soy.

“Any time you change the structure of foods, it’s not a whole food,” said Weissman, who advises her clients to only consume foods that contain five or less ingredients on a path to cleaner diet.

In a nutshell, eating clean is the practice of eating whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. It also means staying away from the highly processed junk foods (sometimes called Frankenfoods) that typically make up the Standard American Diet (SAD).Continued…