Diane May Nutrition Blog

What are GMO’s

April 28th, 2015

This week, Chipotle released a statement that they would remove all GMO’s from their menu. This will be very challenging, as over 90% of corn produced in the United States is GMO and Chipotle does admit they will not be able to fully remove all GMO’s from their ingredient list (in particular soda), but they are the first fast food restaurant to make this huge commitment.

But what exactly are GMO’s and what are their impact to our food system?  GMO stands for genetically modified organism. What this basically means is that a scientist removes a gene from one organism and transplants it into another organism.  The predominate reason to do this is to make crops sturdier, more resistant to pests (insects) and render the need for pesticides virtually non existent. Sounds great, right?….not so much. Although there is no evidence that GMO foods are unsafe, most scientific studies have been funded by organizations that have financial ties to large biotech companies and benefit from claiming they raise no health concerns.  More and more countries in Europe are banning the usage of GMO foods do to possible/probable significant health concerns. Currently, there are no laws demanding labeling of foods that are GMO and consumers have no idea if they are consuming genetically engineered foods. The chances that you are consuming GE foods is great, as over 80-90% of all crops are GMO in this country. The best way to avoid genetically modified foods is to buy certified organic as those crops cannot knowingly contain GE (genetically engineered) seeds.

One of the greatest concerns related to GE foods is the development of new allergens and toxins. Allergens are usually caused by proteins and GE crops produce new proteins when they are modified, which in turn can generate new allergens. If you have family members that have food sensitivities or food intolerances, it would be beneficial to pay attention to GE foods.

The top GMO crops are:

  •  Corn
  • Soy
  • Cotton
  • Canola Oil
  • Mlk
  • Sugar (beets)
  • Aspartame
  • Yellow Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Papaya
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Alfalfa

The best way to avoid these foods is to either buy produce that is certified organic or to look for a seal that states that the food you are purchasing is GMO free. It is important that as our food system changes, we educate ourselves and understand the foods we are consuming and make sure what we feed ourselves and our families is safe.

Roasted Asparagus and Baby Artichokes

Recipe from Cooking Light

What are GMO's





20 baby artichokes (about 2 1/2 pounds)

5 thin lemon slices

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted


1. Place a large baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 450°. (Leave baking pan in oven as it heats.)

2. Cut off top third of each artichoke. Trim stem to within 1 inch of base; peel stem. Remove bottom leaves and tough outer leaves, leaving tender middle and bottom. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise. Place artichokes, lemon slices, and 1 tablespoon oil in a bowl; toss to coat. Arrange mixture in a single layer on hot baking sheet. Roast at 450° for 15 minutes or until almost done and beginning to brown, stirring well after 10 minutes.

3. Toss asparagus with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil. Stir asparagus into artichoke mixture. Roast at 450° for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring after 5 minutes.

4. Place vegetable mixture in a large bowl. Add butter and next 4 ingredients (through pepper); toss gently to combine. Sprinkle evenly with pine nuts.

Recipe Time

Hands-on: 17 Minutes

Total: 52 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Calories 138

Fat 6.8 g

Sat fat 2.3 g

Monofat 2.9 g

Polyfat 1 g

Protein 6 g

Carbohydrate 18 g

Fiber 9 g

Cholesterol 8 mg

Iron 3 mg

Sodium 255 mg

Calcium 79 mg