My Thoughts on GMO Foods by MARK HYMAN, MD

The promise of GMOs is alluring for many. We were all told that genetically modifying crops would make them immune to weed killers and pests, leading to an abundance of foods that would solve our world hunger problems.

We were also told that these crops would require fewer pesticides and herbicides, but is this true? Did genetically modified crops live up to their promise?

In this week’s House Call, I address a question tweeted to me by Christina, who asks “What is your view on GMO foods?”

For anyone who has never heard of a GMO before, it stands for genetically modified organism, which means any organism that has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.

Growers turn to genetically modified crops to address their challenges with insects or weeds that affect their yield and their bottom line in the long-run. Or, so they thought.

We now know from recent reports and studies that genetically modified foods do not meet their promise of increased yields and decreased use of pesticides; in fact, the opposite might be true. In 2016, The New York Times released an extensive examination in which they compared two continents – North American (which embraces genetically modified crops and Europe (which banned them). What the researchers found was that there was no difference in crop yield, and the U.S. growers saw a 21 percent increase in herbicide use with the introduction of these crops.

One measure, contained in data from the United States Geological Survey, shows the stark difference in the use of pesticides. Since genetically modified crops were introduced in the United States two decades ago for crops like corn, cotton and soybeans, the use of toxins that kill insects and fungi has fallen by a third, but the spraying of herbicides, which are used in much higher volumes, has risen by 21 percent.

By contrast, in France, use of insecticides and fungicides has fallen by a far greater percentage — 65 percent — and herbicide use has decreased as well, by 36 percent.

Well, that seems to settle that argument.

I believe that GMOs are bad for the environment. They are creating super-weeds and super-pests, leading farmers to use more pesticides and herbicides. Perfect example: Monsanto’s Roundup which has been proven to be carcinogenic, negatively impacts farming communities, wildlife, our food and our health because of the toxins they leach into the fields, ground water and food.

It’s important to educate ourselves on how our food supply is manipulated. Just think:  64 countries have mandated transparency in labeling genetically modified foods or GMOs.  Why, then, doesn’t the U.S.? I’ll give you one big reason: lobbyists – specifically Big Food and Big Ag lobbyists. The U.S. government policy appears to be “approve first and question later.” Trans fats are a great example. Trans fats killed hundreds of thousands of people before they were banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2013 – 50 years after researchers found them to be harmful.

Even though there was a nationwide push to label all GMO foods, the labeling will not be easy to understand, and many of us can still be tricked into purchasing products containing GMOs. We need to properly label genetically modified foods. Clear labeling will deliver multiple benefits. It is essential for tracking the emergence of novel food allergies and assessing the effects of chemical herbicides applied to genetically modified crops. It will respect the wishes of a growing number of consumers who insist they have a right to know what foods they are buying and how they were produced. Genetically modified crops are now the agricultural products most heavily treated with herbicides and that may pose risks of cancer. We need clear, easy-to-read labels that any third grader can understand.

It’s estimated that about 75 percent of the food in our supermarkets contains genetically modified ingredients. The top four to look out for are:

  1. Field corn and corn-derived ingredients
  2. Soybeans and soybean-derived ingredients
  3. Sugar
  4. Vegetable oils

For more information on these items and other foods that might be genetically modified, visit Environmental Working Group’s website.

Personally, I don’t think there’s enough information out there about what GMOs are doing to our bodies and our health.  The research and studies that are available are not making a positive case for these foods. Why take any chances with your health? My biggest piece of advice for avoiding GMOs, and really all processed and packaged foods, is to eat real, whole, organic foods. If it says organic on the label, it’s automatically GMO free.

Now I want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on GMO foods? Leave a comment on my Facebook page, and if you liked this video, share it with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Also, tweet me your questions (@MarkHymanMD), and maybe next week, I’ll make a House Call to you.

Wishing you health & happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

Nuts nutrition facts

Enrich your daily diet with nuts nutrition!

Just munch a handful of edible nuts or your choice of wholesome seeds like sesame a day, and you will be doing more than happy to keep yourself healthy and stay fit!

Nuts have it all!

Rich in energy, protein, packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and much discussed omega-3 fatty acids, nuts and seeds have it all! Crunchy yet buttery, wonderfully delicious nuts are wonderful gifts to humankind from the mother nature.

Here is an impressive list of kernels and seeds with detailed illustrations of their health benefits and nutrition facts:

Nuts are companionable!

  • You can carry them along with you wherever you go!
  • There is no need of special containers or carry boxes.
  • They have long a shelf life. Unlike fruits and vegetables, nuts are not easily perishable!
  • You can enjoy them whenever you like! Wherever you want! Without the worry about preparation, in fact, nuts and seeds hardly need a kitchen help!

Nature’s friendly! Almost all the varieties of nuts and seeds we eat come in safe envelopes (shells). There is nothing to worry too much about contamination or handling issues. Just grab healthy-looking nuts of your choice and enjoy!

Nuts are must!

Here is why and how?

  • Nuts and seeds are rich in energy and nutrients. Nuts nutrition broadly comprises of health-friendly monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) such as oleic and palmitoleic acids. These MUFA help lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood. Research studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet that is rich in MUFA help prevent coronary artery disease, stroke risks through favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
  • They are a rich source of all-important omega-3 essential fatty acids like Linoleic acid, α -Linolenic acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic acid, Docosahexaenoic acid , etc. Research studies have suggested that n-3 or omega-3 fats by their virtue of anti-inflammatory action help to lower the risk of blood pressure, coronary artery disease, strokes and breast, colon and prostate cancers. Omega-3 fatty acids also offer some benefits in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and Schizophrenia, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Nuts and seeds are the storehouses of health benefiting polyphenolic flavonoid antioxidants such as carotenes, resveratrol, lutein, cryptoxanthin, etc. These compounds have been found to offer protection against cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and viral/fungal infections. Studies suggest that resveratrol in peanuts reduces stroke risk by altering molecular mechanisms in the blood vessels, reducing their susceptibility to vascular damage through decreased activity of angiotensin (a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would elevate blood pressure) and increased production of the vasodilator hormone, nitric oxide.
  • Nuts nutrition is complete in the sense that in addition to calories, and vitamins, they are a rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, fluoride and selenium. Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme, superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Copper required for the production of red blood cells. Iron is essential for red blood cell formation. Fluoride is a component of bones and teeth and plays an important role in the prevention of dental caries.
  • They contain healthy levels of vitamin-E, a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant. Vitamin-E is required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucosa and skin; thus, protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
  • Moreover, seeds and nuts nutrition profile include many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. These vitamins are essential for optimum health and well-being.

Culinary uses of nuts

  • Edible nuts and seeds can be eaten as they are or either salted or sweetened.
  • Sprinkle over desserts, particularly sundaes, ice cream and enjoy!
  • They employed in the confectionery, as an addition to bread, biscuits, sweets, muffins, and cakes.
  • In the food industry, almost all kinds of nuts employed in the preparation of nutritious butter.

How To Fight Stress Through Healthy Eating

Stress is a condition that makes us jittery, unrefreshed, and unable to sleep at night. Stress also tends to allow us to make poor, unhealthy food choices. However, healthy eating can actually reduce stress, and make you feel so much better. Here are a number of helpful hints for fighting stress, through healthy eating.

Skip The Coffee And Other Caffeinated Drinks

Coffee, caffeinated drinks and beverages can exacerbate your stress levels. While some only provide temporary relief, these affect your body in the long run, because too much sugar and caffeine increases your blood sugar levels, and also heightens your stress levels. Instead of coffee, drink green tea, since green tea contains high levels of antioxidants, and also soothes the senses.

Carry Healthy Snacks At All Times

Replace chips and other unhealthy, sodium-filled snacks with natural snack food items, and go for sunflower seeds, celery sticks and carrot sticks instead. Also bring along with you protein-rich snacks in your bag or car, to reduce fatigue and to help avoid mood swings or anxiety attacks.

Eat Breakfast, And Bring your Lunch To Work

Never go to work or school on an empty stomach. Even if you think you’re not hungry, you’ll need to eat something later on. Eating a healthy breakfast helps to maintain the proper blood sugar levels during the rest of the day. It would also be nice if you bring your lunch to work or school. You’ll actually save a lot of money by bringing your lunch to work, and you’ll also be able to eat healthier food, instead of munch on the usual fried stuff found at the fast food joint or cafeteria.

Eat Lots of Fruits And Vegetables

Eating large amounts of fruits and vegetables can help fight stress. Fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidants and minerals that help ward off harmful free radical damage, which is believed to increase during stress or panic attacks. Remember to choose brightly-colored fruits and veggies.

Drink More Water

To reduce stress, drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Drinking more fluids helps flush away stress-producing toxins from the body, and also helps to keep you energized. If you drink less water, your body gets thrown out of balance, and you may suffer unexplained weight gain, fluid retention, or loss of thirst, which can exacerbate any stressful situation.

Diet plays a major role in the fight against stress, therefore it’s important that you take everything you eat into consideration. Always make sure that you eat a balanced and healthy diet, and stay away from cholesterol-rich foods and saturated fats, since these tend to block the arteries with plaque. Regular exercise also helps to relieve stress. Exercise actually releases endorphins that elevate the mood, and provides an instant energy boost. Exercise also allows the body, and the mind, to relax and repair itself.

Healthy Eating Myths That You Should Break

Regular exercise, checking your serving portions and eating right. Healthy eating requires a lot of will power and commitment. However, there are a number of myths that continue to deceive dieters and healthy eating advocates. The key to eating healthy lies in how you check out the food items you buy, as well as on how dedicated are you in making sure that you watch what you eat every day. Here are some food myths that you need to watch out for.


All Low-Fat Foods Are Healthy

When you go to the grocery store, and you see food items labeled as “low fat” or fat-free”, beware of them. Just because they have the “fat-free” sign posted on them doesn’t mean that they’re truly healthy. The truth is that some of these food items actually have the same number of calories as the regular versions, and sometimes sugar is added to replace the flavor lost when fat is removed. By having more sugar, these food items will have empty calories, which may lead to you gaining weight instead. Fats come in different forms, and some of them actually are good for you. The fats that you need to steer clear from are trans fats and saturated fats. Monounsaturated fats and the fat found in olive oil or nuts are good for the heart.

All Fruits Are Created Equal

Not all fruits are created equal. Some of them actually contain lots of calories, which may help to add more weight to you. The healthiest fruits are those that have low sugar and high fiber content. Apples, bananas and grape fruit are one of the nice fruits, because they contain high fiber and are low in fat and calories.

Chocolate Is Bad For Your Health

While some so-called fitness advocates frown on eating chocolate, because they think these make you fat, the truth is that chocolates are good for you. However, you must also know that not all chocolates are created equal. High-quality dark chocolate is one of healthy variants, because it contains high levels of flavonols and antioxidants. Commercial chocolate bars however, such as milk chocolate and white chocolate contain high amounts of fat, sugar, wax and artificial chemicals. To eat healthy chocolates, try making your own unsweetened cocoa with sugar and skim milk instead.

Salads Help You Lose Weight

A large bowl of leafy greens is actually very good for your health. However, the problem starts once you pour in the dressings and other toppings. Some salad offerings include stuff like fried chicken, bacon bits, and thick creamy dressings, which are jam-packed with calories and fats. But if you fill up on the leafy greens alone, the salad mix can be very healthy. A truly healthy salad mix includes a variety of vegetables, mixed greens, beans, almonds, and a light vinegar dressing.

To ensure that you’re eating healthy, and losing or maintaining weight at the same time, eat high-fiber veggies, fruits and grains, but never skip breakfast. Instead, you need to stop drinking energy bars and drinks, sodas and alcohol, as well as lessen your intake of fatty junk foods and snacks.