By Your Bariatric Nutrition Team

You have probably heard the term “GMO”, likely when it is used by  products that advertise themselves as “Non-GMO”.

GMO stands for “Genetically Modified Organism”. Basically, GMOs have had their genetic code changed in one way or another. The main reasons farmers may grow genetically altered crops are because most of those crops were modified to reduce the negative effects of insects or weeds. The food industry has also been testing ways to enhance nutrition quality.

There is a debate as to whether GMOs play a beneficial or safe role in our diet. People who are against GMOs generally have concerns about the effect on human health and the ecosystem, the potential to increase pesticide-resistant insects and herbicide-resistant weeds, and the influence of large corporations on agricultural policy. People who are for GMOs argue safety concerns, such as the ability to reduce the amount of pesticides and herbicides used, and the need to meet consumer demand due to the growing human population.

The American Medical Association and the World Health Organization have concluded that genetically modified foods are safe for consumers. Research has shown that GMOs have no effect on organ health, offspring, or our DNA. Experts say that the some of the biggest disadvantages are decreased biodiversity, the effect on soil microbes, and the overuse of technology causing weeds that are resistant to glyphosate (the world’s most popular herbicide). This means farmers are using other herbicides and may also have to apply several herbicides to protect the crops. However, it has been shown that there is some benefit for insect control and weed management. We’re also seeing ways to enhance nutrition quality of food on top of the fact that food can be more affordable because of the genetically engineered crops.

While GMO’s will continue to be a controversial topic, it is important to educate yourself before making decisions about your diet and health. There is limited research regarding GMOs, but hopefully in the future we will be able to understand them better.



Norris, M. Will GMOs Hurt My Body? The Public’s Concerns and How Scientists Have Addressed Them. Science in the News. August 2015.

Yeager, D. Genetically Modified Foods. Today’s Dietitian. April 2014: 36.