CAT | General Health
Nanotechnology sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie—not something that should be on your plate. The same goes for genetic modification, but a new study shows a large number of American consumers are fine with adding them to the menu as long as it makes their food safer or more nutritious. In fact, they would even pay more for such foods.
The study was a collaborative effort between North Carolina State University and the University of Minnesota. Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 randomly selected consumers and asked them to participate in a survey about whether or not they would consider purchasing nanotech or genetically modified (GM) foods if it meant gaining certain benefits.
Participants were divided into four specific groups based on their responses: those concerned mainly with price (23%); those who preferred to avoid such modifications unless there were proven safety benefits (19%); those who would not buy nanotech or GM foods at all (18%); and those who would buy such foods if they were told they were safer or more nutritious. This last group, dubbed the “benefit-oriented” group, had the largest number of respondents at 40%.
In terms of food, nanotechnology means using nanoparticles (microscopic particles) in the production or manufacture of food to alter how it looks, tastes, and even how long it will stay fresh and edible. Genetic modification refers to changing the genetic makeup of a crop in a way that would not occur naturally. But how do we even know if these practices are being used? And are they really as beneficial as manufacturers claim?
In the United States, mandatory labeling of GM foods is not required, though many state and national initiatives have been proposed. Current law only requires food labeling when there is a substantial difference in the nutritional or safety characteristics of a new food.i (Interestingly enough, genetic engineering does NOT fall under that definition, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.) Likewise, nanotech foods are not subject to any special regulation with regard to manufacture and labeling.
As consumers, we can make healthier choices by doing our research and paying attention to the products we buy and the companies we buy them from. Web sites such as the Non-GMO Project and The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies Consumer Products Inventory can help shoppers determine which companies are making GM and/or nanotech foods.
i P. Byrne, Colorado State University Extension agronomy specialist and professor, soil and crop sciences; D. Pendell, associate professor, agricultural and resource economics; and G. Graff. associate professor, agricultural and resource economics. 10/2014.
We say it every year: We’re not going to overindulge. No second helpings. Just one small slice of pie. And where do we find ourselves? Groaning on the couch after yet another delicious holiday meal, plagued by uncomfortable gas, bloating and indigestion. Thankfully, adding a digestive enzyme supplement to the menu may help ease holiday indigestion without bringing the festivities to an end.‡
Just What are Enzymes?
Enzymes are proteins produced by the body as needed to help break down foods into usable nutrients that can be absorbed from the digestive tract and used throughout the body. Raw foods also contain some digestive enzymes. However, cooking and processing depletes the natural enzymes from our food, which can slow the digestive process. Poor eating habits, age, stress and a diet high in processed foods can result in a reduced ability to properly digest food, which can cause undigested food to remain in the intestines longer. The result is often occasional heartburn, indigestion, gas and bloating, and other issues.
How to Choose an Effective Enzyme Supplement
When choosing an enzyme supplement, look for a multi-enzyme blend made with plant-derived enzymes, which are effective over a broader range of pH levels in the body and may provide more complete support.‡ If you have a sensitive stomach, choose an enzyme supplement with soothing herbal ingredients including ginger root and marshmallow, as well as amino acids for added intestinal lining support.‡
We do our best throughout the year to make smart choices when it comes to what we put on our plates, but the holidays have a way of tempting our senses and testing our willpower. Be sure to give yourself the gift of good digestive health and remember your enzymes!‡