Scientists have been messing around with the genes of plants and animals for decades. In 1994 the first commercial GMO produce was produced—a GMO tomato. Before that, farmers and geneticists created new forms of plants and animals by crossbreeding or using radiation and chemicals to change their genetic structure.
The Green Revolution
The first Green Revolution in the 1950s and 60s was the result of new agricultural practices, including crossbreeding plants and the use of chemical fertilizers and irrigation. The increased yield from the Green Revolution is credited with saving countless lives around the world by mitigating malnutrition and starvation. The second Green Revolution started in the 1980s and was driven by scientists like Norman Boraug. He developed new disease-resistant, high-yield forms of wheat and other produce, allowing countries worldwide to increase the yield of common crops dramatically. The later development of genetically engineered crops in the 1990s supercharged the Green Revolution, initially further increasing yields for small and large farmers.
There was an unfortunate side effect from pulling millions of people out of malnourishment and starvation using GMO crops. These same foods became the framework for Big Food and the rapid proliferation of highly processed food. This dramatic shift in the worldwide diet occurred very rapidly. Highly or ultra-processed food is typically a combination of sugar or other fructose forms, highly processed carbohydrates usually from grains, and omega 6 fatty acids from vegetable oils. The evolution of this type of food began in the 1960s 1960s when the sugar industry paid scientists to promote saturated fat rather than sugar as the primary driver of heart disease and other chronic medical problems. Then omega 6 seed oils were then promoted as a healthier replacement for saturated fat. We quickly entered the Twinkie era of highly processed food, leading to a worldwide epidemic of chronic disease and common metabolic disorders like obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
GMO Crops Drove the Bus Off the Cliff
GMO crops were one of the core drivers of this dramatic shift in our food supply. GMO crops were engineered to be disease resistant and more productive. Theoretically more food could be grown more quickly on less land. These GMO crops were then fed to chickens, cows, pigs, sheep, and other farm critters, dramatically increasing their production worldwide. These developments also allowed for high-density feedlots for cows and pigs and high-density poultry operations. Feeding animals GMO grains has a significant impact on the fatty acid composition of the resulting meat. Grass-fed animals tend to have a much lower omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. A healthy ratio is between 1 to 1 and 1 to 4. Grain-fed animals tend to have a ratio between 15 to 1 and 17 to 1. A high ratio is associated with increased inflammation and most of the chronic diseases of modern western living.
Jeffrey Smith is the Champion in the Battle Against Toxic GMO Croups
Over the decades Jeffrey Smith has led the charge against GMO croups. He has also focused our attention on the toxic nature of glyphosate or Roundup, the pesticide developed by Monsanto in the early 2000s. The sordid story of this dangerous chemical is beyond the scope of this post, but Monsanto’s actions will give you some perspective. Monsanto recently reached an 11 billion settlement with the people suing them due to the side effects they suffered from Roundup.
GMO Crops Make up the Core of Highly Processed Food
GMO crops are also the primary ingredient in many highly processed foods. That’s because many of the most common GMO crops are naturally part of the sugar-starch-omega 6 deadly triad making up highly processed foods. These processed food-friendly crops include:
- Sugar beets
- Canola oil
Looking back in time, GMO crops allowed the world population to move from mass starvation to massive chronic health problems in just a few years. It’s incredibly challenging to make the case that this is a significant improvement in the human condition. Currently, 39% of adults in the world are considered overweight, and 13% are considered obese. Children are rapidly catching up with adults around the world when it comes to having too much body fat. These figures are based on body mass index (BMI), essentially a size measure. Because obesity is defined as excess body fat, I have always measured my patients’ body composition. Over decades I have found that many people with a normal BMI and weight have excessive body fat when their body composition is measured. The new term “skinny fat” has been coined to describe these folks. Many if not all of these people with excessive body fat also have some degree of metabolic syndrome, and many have overt type 2 diabetes.
CARB Syndrome—A New Disease Model
Virtually all medical and scientific experts agree with this obesity/metabolic syndrome perspective. Unfortunately, they also manage to miss the most damaging effect of highly processed food—the induction of food induced brain dysfunction. After taking over 10,000 body composition readings over decades, I noticed a strong correlation between body fat changes and certain common brain dysfunction symptoms. I have always had an interest in neuroscience, so I am very familiar with pathological brain symptoms. I also noticed that these symptoms always preceded changes in body composition. When these symptoms increased, after 4-6 weeks, body fat percentage would start to increase. When the symptoms decreased, after 4-6 weeks, body fat percentage would start to drop. I concluded that I was witnessing a new disease—a form of food-induced brain dysfunction that I call Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome. I discuss this concept in detail in my book “Brain Drain” where I teach people to self diagnose CARB syndrome and make arrangements for their own treatment. That’s because at the present time most clinicians are unfamiliar with this new concept.
In 2003 James Hudson and Harrison Pope, two prominent psychiatrists from Harvard published an article suggesting that 14 common brain disorders are part of the same disease process that they term Affective Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Because they never determined the triggers and pathology of ASD and the radial nature of the concept, it never made it out of academic medicine. Several years ago, all the top neuroscientists in the world got together to form a group called The Brainstorm Consortium. Their goal is to figure out how the brain works (good luck with that). They published their paper in Science claiming that ten common brain disorders seem to be somehow connected. These disorders were the same ones targeted by the ASD concept. When clinicians on the front line of medicine and top academic researchers see the same thing, it suggests that what they are witnessing is of significant importance.
The Experts Drop the Ball
Unfortunately, the medical and scientific communities missed the significance of these observations. Major depression is a good example. The ancient Greeks were the first to describe this relatively rare condition. A depressed person lost their interest in daily activities, withdrew from family and friends, slept poorly, and lost their appetite and lost weight. They simply wasted away. Major depression remained defined this way for over 2,000 years. If you didn’t lose your appetite and lose weight, you could not be diagnosed with major depression. This situation began to change in the 1970s and 80s. We began to see many people who appeared to be depressed, but they had an increased appetite, cravings for sweet and starchy food, and gained weight. The folks at DSM who make the criteria for mental illnesses didn’t quite know what to do with this, so they included both forms. In DSM V major depression has two subcategories: melancholia, or classic major depression associated with a loss of appetite and weight loss, and atypical depression, associated with an increased appetite and weight gain.
Even a 7th-grade science student knows that if criteria (like appetite and weight) qualify you for a diagnosis throughout the spectrum of these criteria, you must discard them because they can’t possibly help you make a diagnosis. In my opinion, the folks with atypical depression, by far the most commonly diagnosed form of depression, actually have CARB syndrome. This disease has nothing to do with classic major depression, and the treatment for CARB syndrome is completely different from the treatment for classic major depression. If you treat these folks with high-dose SSRI medication, the standard treatment for major depression, they will gain weight and eventually develop metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. In other words, you create a massive mess on top of an existing disaster.
It’s Time to Move in a New Direction
If you trace this cascade of adverse health problems back to its roots, you will find that the initial primary driver is GMO crops. If we had put our efforts into improving sustainable agriculture rather than focusing on developing the Frankenfoods made possible by genetic engineering, we likely would have moved from worldwide starvation to a world where billions of people could live healthy lives in harmony with Mother Nature and the welfare of our planet. Even the small subsistence farmers in the 3rd world who were supposed to benefit from the introduction of GMO crops have ended up suffering the most from these dramatic changes in farming techniques. I suggest that it’s never too late to change direction, but for people to be motivated to do so, they will need to understand the concepts outlined in this article.