The Dr. Oz Show
Airdate: October 17, 2012
Dr. Oz: GMO Foods – Are They Dangerous To Your Health?
- Genetically modified foods (GMOs) and their safety are discussed
- Should GMOs be labeled?
- How to spot GMOs in the market place
- Warning signs for Type 2 Diabetes, Ovarian Cancer, and Stroke
- How good is your memory? Dr. Oz has a test for that!
Are genetically modified foods (GMOs) safe or do they pose great dangers to your health? Are you feeding your family GMOs without knowing it? Dr. Oz hosts a debate between both sides of the GMO issue.
Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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Dr. Oz: GMO Foods – Are They Dangerous To Your Health?
A new report out concluded that consuming genetically modified foods (GMOs) can damage health and may even cause cancer. On the other side of the issue, proponents of GMOs say they are a healthy and inexpensive way to create healthy foods. Confused? So are millions of other people.
GMOs are foods that have been altered at the DNA level. DNA from a plant, bacteria, or a fish is removed and transferred into another plant to create super crops that may grow bigger, produce more, or create their own pesticides and herbicides.
GMOs have been around for about 20 years. Today, over 90% of corn, soy beans, and sugar beets grown in the US have been genetically modified. In the market place, that translates to three out of four processed foods containing GMOs.
Peru and several European countries have banned the use of GMOs in the food supply. California will vote this November on whether to require labeling of GMOs.
Dr. Oz showed an animation to illustration how scientists create GMOs. Scientists will identify a gene in a bacteria, for example, that when placed into corn that plant can then produce it's own herbicides and pesticides. Scientists are looking at cold water fish to determine if injecting that DNA into a tomato will create a freeze tolerant food crop.
It sounds like a good idea, right? But what is the impact of splicing those genes? What would happen to a person who is allergic to fish if they ate the modified tomato? Over time, how do these changes effect our health?
These questions are at the root of this controversial debate. Dr. Oz has invited several people who are at the heart of both sides of the debate. He explained that it was hard to find scientists to agree to appear on the stage and he could not find any scientists who would agree to appear on the stage with the next two guests.
Dr. Robin Bernhoft, MD, FACS, is the founder of the Bernhoft Center for Advanced Medicine and past president of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.
Jeff Smith, is an author of Seeds of Deception, and several other books as well as a documentary filmmaker of Genetic Roulette. As a disclaimer, Dr. Oz said his wife, Lisa Oz, is the narrator on Genetic Roulette.
Mr. Bernhoft and Mr. Smith were allowed time to discuss their side of the issue but then were going to leave the stage because the other guests refused to be on the stage with them. What? Paranoid much? Why would someone refuse to discuss the issue with the opposing viewpoint? Have there been negative words bandied about in previous meetings? Are the folks who are pro-GMO afraid of talking to someone with a different view? So strange!
Mr. Smith started by saying there is a health danger that comes from eating GMOs. He stated that doctors are finding amazing improvements and recoveries in patients suffering from IBS, inflammatory colitis, and other gastrointestinal issues when they remove GMOs from the diet.
Dr. Bernhoft explained that before GMOs were widely introduced into the food supply in 1994, reflux diagnosis were at a steady rate. However, after 1994 there has been a marked increase each year in the number of cases of reflux. Dr. Bernhoft believes there are clear medical consequences experienced from eating GMOs. When reflux patients remove GMOs, they experience fewer to no symptoms.
Pictures of rats used in a GMO study showed they had a drastic risk in developing several different types of cancers. The rats had massive tumors on their bodies.
Mr. Smith said the FDA ignored warnings from scientists regarding the safety of GMOs. The FDA was told that GMOs were dangerous and were told to label them by scientists who conducted preliminary studies. The FDA has since chosen not to require labeling of GMOs and all testing has been conducted over a short time scale, a scale that is not long enough to identify long-term risks.
Mr. Smith and Mr. Bernhoft then left the stage so the next two guests would appear.
Martina Newell-McGloughlin, is Co-Director of the NIH training program at UC Davis and an authority on biotechnology. Ms. Newell-McGloughlin said GMO plants have been studied for thousands of years and she's been involved in many of those tests. Biotech products go through 8-10 years of research before going on the grocery shelf. The testing and research phase is sufficient, she said.
Rat kibble, she said, has been based on GMO ingredients for decades and yet there is not standard increase in cancer in rates. Ms. Newell-McGloughlin said her family is her number one priority and she would rather feed them GMO over other foods.
In response The Dr. Oz Show's request for information, the FDA provided this statement:
We recognize and appreciate the strong interest that many consumers have in knowing whether a food was produced using bioengineering. FDA supports voluntary labeling that provides consumers with this information and has issued draft guidance to industry regarding such labeling. One of FDA's top priorities is food safety, which means ensuring that foods, whether genetically engineered or not, meet applicable requirements for safety and labeling.
The reality of GMOs is, said Dr. Oz, the foods are already in the market place so it's important that people know about them so they can make their own choices.
Dr. Oz: Should GMOs Be Labeled?
Dr. Oz asked fans online, if labeled, would you choose GMOs or non-GMOs? 91% responded that they would choose non-GMO products.
California is putting the question to the people. In November, 2012, Californians will be asked to vote on Prop 37. Passage of Prop 37 would require the labeling of GMO foods. Opponents of the Proposition believe labeling creates undue fear and would prevent consumers from purchasing labeled products. [Well, gee, wouldn't that mean consumers have spoken with their purchases?]
California is not the only state considering the GMO issue, 12 other states are considering mandatory GMO labeling.
Gary Hirshberg, co-founder and CE-Yo of Stonyfield farms and founding partner Just Label It, said nurses are concerned over herbicide toxicity from ingesting GMO foods, religious groups are concerned that scientists are messing with God's work. Fifty nations in the world have banned GMOs including China and Russia. [Why not the US?]
Cost of implementing mandatory labeling is a big part of the labeling argument. Mr. Hirshberg said it's a diversionary tactic. Every university who looked at this part of the issue said labeling GMO foods would increase foods costs about $0.73 per consumer and that amount is negligible.
Alison Van Eeneennaam, is an animal scientist with UC Davis and disagrees with Mr. Hirshberg. Her research said mandatory labeling will cost each consumer about $300-400 per years. She's not willing to pay that amount to have labeling. If this Proposition passes in California, grocery stores will have to review all their products to find bioengineered ingredients and then label that product. That's 60% of the products in the average grocery store. Labeling all those products would cost money.
In addition, Ms. Van Eeneennaam, said the cost for manufacturers to change their products to remove GMO ingredients is high.
[Why would the manufactures remove the GMOs? There's no requirement to remove ingredients, simply to label it. Manufacturers change product labels all the time, it's not new it's actually quite standard.]
Mr. Hirshberg said the high cost furnished by Ms. Van Eeneennaam includes the cost of manufacturers changing their ingredients. Their ingredients don't have to change if they feel GMOs are safe, right?
Ms. Van Eeneennaam said it comes down to the fact that consumers already have an option for products that are non-GMO. It's called organic. By law, foods labeled as organic are not allowed to contain GMO ingredients.
Dr. Oz: Spotting GMO Ingredients
Dr Oz said he feels there's not enough data either on the GMO issue so he would rather stay away form them. Go organic, Dr. Oz encouraged, then you will know for certain that there are no GMO ingredients.
Dr. Oz: Five Known GMO Crops
- Sugar beets
If these ingredients are grown in US, it's more likely than not that they are GMO. Dr. Oz said consumers could swap canola or vegetable oil with olive or safflower oil and know they are steering clear of GMOs.
Some companies are voluntarily labeling their products as non-GMO. Look for “Non-GMO Project Verified” on the label.
Dr. Oz: Warning Signs of Type 2 Diabetes
Dr. Oz asked the audience to sniff little containers under their chairs. They said the containers smelled like nail polish remover, or acetone. What does that have to do with health? If your breath smells like acetone, be concerned said Dr. Oz.
Darlene woke up with a fruity, tarty taste with an offensive smell for several days. Brushing wouldn't remove the smell. On the third day, when she woke up with blurred vision and felt shaky then found herself at the bottom of the stairs. She had passed out. She thought it maybe had something to do with peri-menopause and didn't think much about it. [Don't we women do this so often? We think oh it's just it's just a little nothing symptom and ignore it. Too often, women put themselves last on the to-do list especially when it comes to health.]
Dr Oz: Warning Signs of Type 2 Diabetes
- Breath smells like nail polish remover
- Tired all the time
- Frequent thirst and urination
- Craving sweets
All these symptoms go along with a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes. Darlene was surprised. With no family history she was shocked that she had diabetes. Dr. Oz explained that many people have Type 2 Diabetes and don't even know it.
Sugar is one key symptom. An occasional sugar treat or craving is normal and the body will use up the sugar quickly. When there's too much sugar in the body already and more sugar is added the body can't use up all that sugar. The excess sugar produces gas that manifests as acetone-like breath.
Pay attention to sudden, small changes to the body, said Dr. Oz, and talk to your doctor when you experience changes.
Dr. Oz: Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer
Christine's first health change was fast-growing facial hair. She would pluck a hair and two days later there would be two more in its place. Then the hairs would show up in her nose and other parts of her face. Her husband said she was being silly and didn't think anything about it. She was also feeling tired, experienced joint pain, was gaining abdominal weight, and one bite of an apple felt like she ate a big meal.
Dr. Oz: Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer
- Growth of chin and nose hair
- Noticeable bloating and weight gain around abdomen
- Change in bowel movement
- Back pain
The ovaries are located on either side of the uterus and are typically very small. Christine's ovaries were 10 times the normal size caused by ovarian cancer. Cysts in the ovaries, explained Dr. Oz, can produce their own hormones, including testosterone which explains the hair growth and hormonal issues.
One of Christine's ovaries were the size of a small fetus upon removal. She had both ovaries removed, a hysterectomy and radiation. Christine is now a 10 year cancer survivor.
Bonus Question: If your calf is swollen is tender in one location and warm to the touch, should you:
- Massage the area;
- Walk it off;
- Take two aspirin?
Answer: C Take two aspirin. Dr. Oz explained that these symptoms could be a sign of deep vein thrombosis. He recommended to take two aspirins and call a doctor immediately.
Dr. Oz: Warning Signs of a Stroke
Driving her son to a birthday party, she thought something was wrong with the car in front of her. It appeared that there was a strange reflection coming from the car. Then it looked like the car was cut in half. At a stop sign, she could only see the “OP”. Thinking it was a problem with her contact, she pulled over and fussed with the lens. After several minutes, her vision was fine so she kept driving.
When you loose half vision in each eye, half the vision is prefect and the rest is in the dark there's something wrong.
A week and a half later she was at a doctors appointment for something else and mentioned her vision issue. The doctor stopped what she was doing and immediately sent her for an MRI. The results came back the next day and her doctor called saying she should get to the hospital immediately. She had already experienced three strokes and may suffer a massive stroke at any time.
White are her brain scan indicated that blood to vessels had been cut off and killed parts of the brain. She now takes aspirin for the rest of her life and is grateful to be alive.
Dr. Oz Warning Sings of a Stroke
FAST is the acronym to keep in mind for stroke symptoms:
Face: vision disturbance, uneven smile
Arm and leg: weakness, numbness, difficulty walking
Speech: slurred, inappropriate words, mute
Time: is critical, call 911
Dr. Oz said it's important to know ahead of time which hospital closest to your location handles stroke victims. [Dr. Oz said there would be a resource on his website to find the closest hospital that can handle stroke patients but it's not there yet. I'll keep checking and provide a link when available.]
Dr. Oz: Fixing Your Memory
Could you be losing your memory or are you just forgetful? Do you forget where you parked? Where are your keys? Can you tell someone your phone number?
Problems with memory will effect either memory storage or memory retrieving, or both.
Dr. Oz conducted a visual memory test with the audience and one fan, Lori Ann. He showed two pictures on the screen for three second each. First picture, popcorn. How many pieces were there? Lori Ann couldn't remember but knew one piece had butter on it. There were 20 pieces of popcorn.
The second picture had several clocks. What time was shown on the red-faced clock? Lori Ann couldn't remember. It was 8:00.
While at break, Dr. Oz had Lori Ann write down the alphabet. Easy. Not so fast. She had to write the alphabet backwards, from Z to A. How long would it take you to write the alphabet backwards?
Lori Ann said this was a difficult challenge. She would have to recite the alphabet going forward to remember it going backwards. This is an exercise to increase storage and retrieving.
Using computers makes the ability to store information go down. But, wait, there's an App for that, said Dr. Oz. He had Lori Ann play the app on a smartphone. [Does no one get the irony of this? Computers can decrease memory but here, play with this phone.]
Click here for brain games on DoctorOz.com. [Oh, wait! Do I have to use a computer to get those?]
At what age did Lori Ann's mom go through menopause? Rather early so she may be going through menopause right now. Hormones can effect memory. Dr. Oz's green drink can support the balance of hormones.
The next fan guest is a manager of a supermaket. She feels tired all the time and is so busy all the time she can't remember what she had for breakfast. In the past five years she's put on 10-15 pounds.
Dr. Oz said she has both storage and retrieval issues and that weight could play a role. Higher weight is associated with lower memory. Dr. Oz gave her a goal to lose five pounds. He recommended cutting out one sugared drink a day and in a few months she can easily lose those five pounds.
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