Ninety-five percent of the US sugar supply made from sugar beets comes from Monsanto’s own genetically modified (GM) beets, engineered to be resistant to the company’s Roundup herbicide, which has been linked to birth defects, brain malformations, and DNA damage.
Also, most of the high-fructose corn syrup that sweetens many US processed foods comes from GM corn.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) themselves have been linked in several studies to increased severity of allergic reactions, irritable bowels, organ damage, and tumor growth. (For more on these studies, see the “Frankenfood” issue of the
In late 2012, scientists from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) discovered that a very common genetic sequence in GMOs—including sugar beets and corn—includes a potentially dangerous virus gene.
The Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV) is a sequence of seven genes used in GMOs to force the newly introduced gene to increase production of its desired proteins. But overlapping with the CaMV is part of an actual virus gene, “gene VI.” The EFSA notes that many viral genes incapacitate the body’s antipathogen defenses so they can invade. Since plant and human viruses are often interchangeable, gene VI could result in suppressed immune systems in both plants and humans.
While there are plenty of reasons to avoid sugar, GMO sugar may significantly compound its health effects. Make any sugar you eat organic and Fair Trade to avoid GMOs, pesticides, and labor abuses.
—Tracy Fernandez Rysavy