Genetically Modified Corn Making Us Fat


From Ergo-Log

Genetic modification of corn, or maize, is partly responsible for the expanding proportions of earthlings. Statisticians at the University of Toledo come up with this hypothesis in Nutrition Research and Practice.

Among the powers that be, resistance to genetically modified crops such as GM soya and corn is still synonymous with stupidity and irrationalism. Anyone who refuses to have GM food on their plate is simply too stupid to understand that genetic technology is harmless and useful.

In the eyes of the powers that be, the ignorant masses need educating so that they understand that GM corn is just ‘ordinary’ corn that has a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis built into it by genetic engineers. This Bt gene makes GM corn capable of making its own insecticide, thus protecting itself against insects that eat the plant. The insecticide is harmless to humans and increases farmers’ yields.

So nothing to worry about.

But according to researchers at the University of Toledo, this is not the case. They compared American figures on the increase in obesity with data on the consumption and production of food, and observed that although the average American has increased considerably in girth since 1995, since 2000 he or she has actually been eating less.

The researchers also found a correlation between the consumption of corn and obesity. The relationship between the two is almost 1 to 1.

When the researchers looked for data on the percentage of corn grown in the US that has been genetically tampered with, they produced the figure above. The increase in the number of obese people in the US is almost exactly the same as the disappearance of unmodified corn in the American farmlands.

The researchers suggest it’s time to examine GM corn more closely. “These observations prompted us to hypothesize that consumption of GM corn products may contribute to rising obesity trends”, they write. “We speculate that the bacterial antigen derived from the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) entomocidal crystalline protein protoxin, which is genetically engineered into corn to confer resistance to insect pests, may be the underlying culprit that causes anomalous adipose tissue dysregulation and obesity development.”

“The implications of our results and the new hypothesis raised here are provocative but testable, as the effects of GM corn products can be assessed in molecular and animal models of obesity.”

Nutr Res Pract. 2011 Jun;5(3):253-9.

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