Monday, March 9, 2015


Is GMO Soybean Oil Healthier Than Non-GMO?

Is GMO Soybean Oil Healthier Than Non-GMO?

University of California researchers studied how GMO soybean oil impacts our health and found that claims about the oil’s health may not be accurate.
Soybean oil is in many of the processed foods on store shelves. It’s cheap, plentiful, and makes food taste good. Ninety percent of the soybeans produced in the U.S. are genetically modified, and a new GMO soybean has been marketed as producing healthier oil than its conventional counterparts.
The new oil — DuPont’s Plenish – contains zero trans fats and it being marketed to restaurants and food producers as a way to offer zero trans fat food. The company website calls the oil “heart-healthy.”
After testing by independent researchers at the University of California Riverside and UC Davis, though, it’s looking like this new soybean oil may not be as healthy as DuPont says it is. In lab tests, mice that ate Plenish oil were just as likely to develop obesity, diabetes and fatty liver as mice eating conventional soybean oil. The only benefit they found was the the Plenish mice didn’t develop insulin resistance.
Senior investigator Frances Sladek, a professor of cell biology and neuroscience at UC Riverside, said, “While genetic modification of crops can introduce new beneficial traits into existing crops, the resulting products need to be tested for long-term health effects before making assumptions about their impact on human health.” (emphasis mine)
This was the first study looking at the long-term health impacts of Plenish oil.
Is GMO soybean oil healthier than non-GMO?
Of course, direct impacts are only one part of how GMOs affect human health. We can’t ignore how these soybeans go from seed to bottle and indirectly impact our health along the way.
Plenish soybeans — like other GMO soybeans in the U.S. — are engineered to also be tolerant to pesticides. In this Growers Guide from DuPont, the “Science Rules” section on page 11 talk about producing beans with a trans fat free profile that are still resistant to pests and herbicides.
Since Plenish soybeans are engineered to be pesticide resistant, they are subject the same public health pitfall as all pesticide-resistant GMO crops. In the long term, they lead to farmers use more pesticides.
There are two reasons that farmers growing GMO crops end up spraying more: they can, and then they need to. When pesticide-resistant crops first came on the scene, pesticide use did go down. But nature is resilient, and over time weeds and bugs have become resistant to pesticides like glyphosate. Farmers need to spray more to keep these superweed and superbugs at bay. And since you can saturate these resistant crops in pesticides without killing them, farmers can spray away without hurting their yields.
At this point, biotech companies are having to create crops resistant to even more toxic pesticides, because conventional ones aren’t working well for so many farmers.
All of those pesticides are bad news. They pollute ground water, contaminate soil, and make their way onto our dinner plates. Pesticide residues are linked to health concerns from lowered intelligence to autism.
DuPont has created a cooking oil that doesn’t cause insulin resistance but is linked directly to obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver. It’s also linked indirectly to the myriad of health problems that come from exposure to pesticide residues. Is it worth it?

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