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Fitness column: Genetically modified organisms and fitness

Steve Wells
Steve Wells
Staff Photo |

What do GMOs have to do with fitness? Everything.

According to World Health Organization, a genetically modified organism is a plant, animal or microorganism in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.

Here are some warm and fuzzy factoids about GMOs:

Most scientist agree that GMOs are safe and there is no need for special labeling. Most scientists work for companies who make stuff like GMOs. Most scientists focus on science, not the way it is used.

We now have well over 75 percent of U.S. crops grown with GMO seeds. Ninety nine percent of corn grown in the U.S. is government subsidized, genetically modified and inedible by humans. We use genetically modified corn to destroy carbureted engines, reduce fuel economy, and to use farmland to grow junk fuel instead of food for humans, in my opinion. The spread of GMOs cannot be reversed and is currently overrunning naturally hybridized seeds.

The potential for all heirloom seeds to be contaminated by GMOs is very high. Companies like Monsanto lobby many millions of dollars to prevent GMO labeling. If they’re harmless, then why not be more transparent? Natural seeds are not patented; GMO seeds are. You can’t patent naturally occurring stuff but you can make money by killing all the natural food and making your own GMO food the only thing available. It’s called eliminating competition. A patent allows the owner to control who gets to use it. Should Monsanto control who gets to grow all food? Well, they already do.

GMO seeds work mostly because they allow for more highly toxic pesticides and herbicides to be used to keep up with ever-sagging yields. Which by the way, these pesticides and herbicides are sold by the same company that sells you the seeds. The “theory” is that if modifications can be made to make seeds more pesticide resistant. Other desirable characteristics in plants like resistance to drought can be enhanced as well. Why not just cut to the chase and make geese lay golden eggs? The difference is that golden-egg-laying geese aren’t real, yet, nor are they strongly linked to cancer and other diseases, as GMOs are.

Do you really think that eating genetically modified food will turn out to be OK? If you just want to bury your head in the sand to justify the plea of ignorance in regard to the extortion of your food supply, I guess it is your right. Maybe in the future we can genetically modify common sense back into humans.

Why are we so quick to believe that we possess the power to safely alter genes when we can’t even figure out how to drive in a roundabout? Engineering plants to be more resistant to the higher amounts of neurotoxins is a sure-fire plan without consequences? Wow!

What does it all have to do with fitness? This is the common link between all of the issues that I write about. What I find after working with thousands of clients over the years is that it’s the factors other than fitness that have the greatest impact on fitness and overall health. You can’t get in shape if you’re eating GMO chemical junk, drinking anything but water and ditching sleep to watch the latest infomercial on the “idiot box,” as my Dad used to call it. You don’t have to run until you puke to get in shape if you balance out the several other factors that keep you healthy. The workout part becomes easy when all the other factors are more balanced.

What can you do?

Buy local. Grow your own. Talk with your local farmer. The only power you have comes from your brain and your wallet. If you stop buying GMO low-fat snacky cakes, they will stop making them.

Steve Wells is a personal trainer and co-owner of Midland Fitness. His column appears on Tuesdays.


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