Understanding Genetically Modified Foods

Genetically modified organisms are highly controversial, but there are legitimate arguments on both sides of the debate.

Understanding Genetically Modified Foods

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are highly controversial, but there are legitimate arguments on both sides of the debate. Get the facts about genetically modified foods and learn how to make the best decision for your family.

What Are Genetically Modified Organisms?

For centuries, scientists have been cross-breeding plants and animals to create the most desirable traits for our food. For example, traits of the Golden Delicious apple are merged with the Kidd's Orange Red breed to create the particular flavor and heartiness of the Gala apple. For more than a century, these practices were limited to combining the traits of organisms only within the same species. Today, however, due to advances in biotechnology, that is no longer the case. Scientists can now engineer different species to share the same genetic material. They do so by extracting DNA from one species and injecting it into another. These genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are commonly used in the food industry to create plants and seeds that are not only resistant to certain insects and pesticides, but can be grown in less than favorable conditions.

Fat Substitutes: Could They Be Leading to Your Weight Gain?

They're hiding in everything from low-fat cottage cheese to protein shakes.

Fat substitutes are compounds that resemble the chemical and physical properties of certain fats and oils and are often used to replace conventional fats (butter, oil) in baking and frying. They can help bring calorie counts down.

But fat substitutes are almost like secret ingredients that hide in plain sight, says Mark Schatzker, author of the upcoming book "The End of Craving: Recovering the Lost Wisdom of Eating Well."

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