By Noah Henry • July 31, 2014
The following is a guest post from Vitacost.com. Vitacost.com is a leader in health and wellness, offering a vast assortment of everything from vitamins and supplements to medicines and all-natural foods. If you’ve ever stared into a food label and seen the acronyms “GMO” and “non-GMO,” then this article will inform you of what they both mean and how they affect your health.
What Is “Non-GMO”?
If you’ve shopped at a health foods store, you’ve probably seen the label, “non-GMO.” Unlike many of the other labels you’ll find—gluten-free, low-carb, low-fat, high-fiber—“non-GMO” doesn’t refer to a specific ingredient or whether the product is fattening. Instead, the phrase refers to the way the ingredients in the products were grown.
A GMO, or genetically modified organism, has been engineered by scientists to grow in a specific way—apples that are over-sized, shiny and flawless, for example, to attract more grocery store customers.
On the other hand, products that are non-GMO are organic and were created without any ingredients that have been tinkered with.
Is Non-GMO Better than GMO?
There is some debate about whether non-GMO products are actually healthier. Does that “tinkering” engineers do to the genetic makeup of plants and animals make the final product less safe? Although there are no long-term studies on the impact of consuming GMOs, we do know that GMO crops are exposed to much higher levels of pesticides, insecticides and herbicides than organically grown crops.
And many of us would rather follow the “better safe than sorry” logic!
How Do I Know if a Product is Non-GMO?
Any product that is labeled “100% organic” cannot, by law, contain GMOs. You can also find products that bear the Non-GMO Project Verified seal, which means that the company producing that item voluntarily sought third-party testing to ensure their product was not manufactured with any ingredients that could have been genetically modified.
On the other hand, it’s usually a safe bet that products containing corn and soy will be GMO, unless they are explicitly labeled otherwise.
Are Non-GMO Products More Expensive Than Other Products?
Non-GMO products can be expensive, but there are websites like Vitacost.com where you can find organic and Non-GMO Project verified products for less.
And while you’re shopping, understand that non-GMO isn’t just about food. You can buy non-GMO beauty and personal care products, which are made from organic plant-based ingredients; you can buy non-GMO supplements and sports nutrition, too, which is a smart choice because like food, these are items that you are ingesting. There are even non-GMO pet products and baby items. Look for the non-GMO label for food, beverages, vitamins, supplements and more!
Noah Henry Noah Henry is an amateur movie critic, foodie, bowler, and beer reviewer. But he's no amateur when it comes to saving money, so listen up!