Corn is one of those foods that recently came out of the closet…
When you say the word genetically modified organisms (GMO), you probably think of corn.
We consume corn every day. It is used in everything from high fructose corn syrup, to toothpaste, beer, your meat and dairy products, shampoo, some eco-friendly diapers, the gum on your envelopes, and even perfumes. It has also been used as animal feed, fuel, oil and for the production of many other products including high fructose corn syrup, which is in most prepared foods. It is the number one grain used in America.
Nutritionally speaking, whole corn is not bad for you.
Nutritionally speaking, corn is filled with iron and zinc, and is a good source of potassium. It contains complex B vitamins. It is loaded with antioxidants, including folic acid. It contains about 14% of our daily fiber. Plus, corn’s protein make-up runs about 4-5 grams, and matched with the strong fiber content, it has the potential to digest well. Further, good quality corn is considered to be a balancer of blood sugar, despite its high glycemic index, and in one study carried out on children with type 1 diabetes, appeared to curb their desire to consume fast foods.
So, corn is not bad for you, as long as it is grown in a beneficial way.
What’s wrong with GMO corn anyway?
First of all, it is one of the most commonly genetically modified organisms (GMO), because growing corn is big business. What is a GMO? Well, GMO is when an organism (say a corn seed) is genetically altered through the use of another organism to create a new “super” seed, producing a new “super” organism. In other words, the best of one seed is bred with another seed.
While that sounds like a really great idea, it has backfired. The products created for these new super seeds may yield more plants, but the quality of those plants has diminished. The ironic twist in all of this is that particularly in wheat, the height of wheat plants has actually shrunk from decades ago. Plus, the nutrition of the plant that we eat is less nutritious. Both the reduced soil quality and the modification of seeds yields a less viable food product.
When corn is grown in high quantities, pesticides are added to the poor soil and GMOs, and well, you have a product that looks like corn, smells like corn, and tastes like corn, but it is so modified that it is no longer a healthy food source. What once was corn, is no longer the same God-created seed.
In short, when a food source is a source of revenue, and the need for it continues to increase, then the modification of seeds increases. The goal is to produce more corn to make more money, selling it to more companies who use corn to make products we all use every day. You can learn more about GMOs here.
Where can we get good quality corn?
While there are some indigenous people that still grow corn from non-GMO seed, you will probably still have to get yours from the store. The following corn products are those I would recommend, outside of growing your own corn. These are just a few products available, which you can buy online, but you may also walk into your favorite health food store for more choices.
Garden of Eatin has great non-GMO corn chips (This is a large order, but you can at least see the brand)
Now Foods makes a non-gmo popping corn.
Great River Organic Milling is my favorite for bulk grain products, but they also sell smaller bags as well.
You can also grow your own corn, using non-GMO seeds. You can find a list of online seed companies here, which can help you grow your own food for generations to come.