Gluten-free is undeniably gaining in popularity as people who are gluten-intolerant depend on those foods to manage their condition. Gluten-free doesn’t equal healthy though. A lot of the gluten-free products contain large amounts of low quality ingredients (such as white flour), and plenty of fats and sugars, all very unhealthy and the source of countless diseases. Grocery stores now have gluten-free sections, but just a quick look at the (long) ingredients list of those food will discourage you to consume them and encourage you to stick to whole, unprocessed food.
Even if you find gluten-free food that doesn’t appear to be made of chemicals that only a scientist can read, it gets worse: unless the food is organic, gluten-free food are likely to contain genetically modified (GMO) corn and other grains. And that’s bad news.
Monsanto, a US biotechnology company, genetically modifies corn to make it resistant to its pesticide. The result is abundantly-pesticided corn whose structure is not as nature prepared it for us. Or put it in another way: toxic, less-comestible food. A recent study on genetically-modified corn resulted in bans against the product in some countries. That study, performed on rats, left them with enormous tumors and organs damage (1). The industry disputes the study by arguing against its authors, their methods, their writings, etc.
Monsanto is under attack, even banned, in many countries, but not in the US where it controls most of the corn sold. Far from being quiet, it has contributed over $8M fighting California Prop 37 (2), which would oblige companies to disclose on the products they sell if they are modified genetically (other companies fighting Prop 37 include Kraft, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kellogg, Del Monte, Heinz, and many others food and pharmaceutical companies). Most Americans want their food to be labeled (3).
Monsanto is in fact a very aggressive company that has relentlessly sued and ruined farmers through the use of draconian patents to control the exclusive use of its grains. Farmers are so fed up that 300,000 of them are suing Monsanto (4). Another lawsuit against Monsanto is heading to the Supreme Court (5). Farmers, not consumers, are suing a producer. Scary. It turns out that in the US, almost all the corn crops have some genetic modifications (and so do soy crops). Very scary indeed.
And that brings us back to the beginning on this story: despite consuming gluten-free food, you might be consuming (read “you are almost certainly consuming”) food that contain corn or some other grains that are not comestible to some extent because their chemical composition has been altered in a way that you body cannot properly digest them. Genetically-modified foods are far more common today than they were 30 years ago when they entered the market; so are the cases of wheat (gluten) and other grains intolerance (a fact that low-carbs diet promoters happily take advantage of).
The solution is consuming organic corn (and soy). Those product are unlikely genetically-modified. “Unlikely” because some may sneak their way despite testing. If it’s not organic, you can be assured you’re consuming genetically-modified food that can wreak havoc with your body.
A quick way to spot genetically-modified food: its PLU (the number printed on the little stickers on all veggies and fruits) is a 5-digit number that starts with an 8 (e.g. 81234). If it starts with a 9 (e.g. 91234), it’s organic and non-GMO, so that’s what to look for. Find more tips to avoid genetically modified food at WikiHow. You can express your discontentment with GMO food on Facebook
(1) Genetically-modified corn study (CBSNews.com)
(2) Prop 37 details (ballotpedia.org)
(3) Poll (huffingtonpost.com)
(4) Lawsuit against Monsanto (nationofchange.org)
(5) Another lawsuit against Monsanto (yahoo.com)