Wellness, Jackie’s Way: Science of food,GMOs

First, a definition: Genetically modified organisms are defined as organisms whose genome has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not normally found there.

Second, the purpose of genetically altering plants is to improve their durability through drought tolerance or disease resistance or their nutritional value. And these changes are aimed at increasing yield and lowering costs. That sounds pretty good. But is it safe for human consumption? Not everyone agrees. This is a very controversial subject.

In the U.S., the FDA regulates the safety of food for humans and animals. That includes foods from genetically modifies plants. Food developers of these plants are to conduct a safety assessment that is submitted to the FDA for evaluation. Concerned groups and individuals question the validity of these assessments with regard to human health and environmental safety.

Getting further into details, let’s look at those foods considered to be the top offenders. The most common GMOs are soy, corn and cotton, (the top three crops grown in the US), canola, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa and squash (zucchini & yellow).

Many of these items appear as added ingredients in a large amount of the foods we eat. For example, soy is most likely present in a large percent of the foods in your pantry.

And corn and soybeans are eaten by livestock or made into popular processed food ingredients such as cornstarch, soybean oil, or high-fructose corn syrup. Aha! HFCS is a red button alert in today’s weight loss world. Again, check the labels on your foods packages.

The food industry says 75 percent to 80 percent of foods contain genetically modified ingredients, most being corn and soy-based. The FDA says they are safe to eat. Hmmm.

The bottom line folks, is that people want to know what’s in their food. So, let’s focus on recent news that offers some peace of mind.

Unless you scour the news media for updates on food legislation, you may have missed that July was an epic month for GMO news. In July, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that will require labeling of genetically modified ingredients for the first time. The legislation will require most food packages to carry a text label, a symbol or an electronic code readable by smartphones that indicates whether the food contains GMOs. The only caveat is that the Agricultural Department has two years to write the rules.

Also in July, Vermont became the first state to require written labels on foods known as GMOs. The Vermont law requires items to be labeled “produced with genetic engineering.”

Lastly, according to the Organic Trade Association, “The use of GMOs is strictly prohibited in organic products.” This means that an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and an organic soup maker can’t use GMO ingredients.

So what’s within our control? Gardening comes to mind. But for those with less time on your hands, shopping organic is one of the best steps you can take towards ensuring that your family eats the healthiest foods possible.

Eating healthy will require checking package labels more frequently than you are accustomed to, but the rewards from eating healthy are many. Begin checking labels the next time you shop. And make it a habit.

Recipe of the Month: Edamame Salad

Edamame is a great source of fiber and an excellent source of plant based protein that makes it a nutritious addition to your shopping list.


1 16 oz. bag frozen organic, shelled Edamame
1/3 C dried cranberries
1/3 C raw sunflower seeds
1/3 C crumbled feta cheese

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy! You can adjust the amount of the last three ingredients to your preference.

Two-thirds of a cup of Edamame contains 12 grams of protein and 480mg of potassium.

** The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of Chadds Ford Live. We welcome opposing viewpoints. Readers may comment in the comments section or they may submit a Letter to the Editor to: editor@chaddsfordlive.com


About Jackie Tate

Jackie Tate has been working in the health and fitness industry for 25 years. She has a master’s of science degree in health education and a bachelor’s of science degree in nutrition, both from Penn State. Early in her career she was recruited by Johnson & Johnson to work in their diabetes division during which time she earned her diabetes educator certification. In 2009, she developed a health and wellness consulting business. Tate’s Wellness Company enables her to work with individuals to create personalized dietary plans using a one-on-one consultation approach. She conducts personal training sessions and leads fitness classes at Way Martial Arts in West Chester, Darlington Arts in Garnet Valley, and the Concord Country Club in Concord Township. Jackie is a certified fitness trainer, Silver Sneakers and zumba Instructor. Additionally, she teaches nutrition to students attending the Academy of International Ballet in Glen Mills. Lamb McErlane, PC is one of Jackie’s corporate clients where she delivers nutritious Lunch N Learn sessions for employees as part of their on-going commitment to wellness. Jackie has a passion for inspiring people to lead healthier lifestyles through optimal nutrition and fitness. Tate4foodandfitness.com Tate4foodandfitness@verizon.net



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