Latter-day Saints are exceptionally good at following our health code which we call "the Word of Wisdom." Hundreds of thousands of members have found a way to live without tobacco, alcoholic beverages, and coffee and tea. But does our adherance to this code make us less vigilant in identifying other substances which are also unhealthy and should be eliminated from our diet? Besides the avoidance of the above-mentioned substances, American Mormons follow a diet which is quite similar to that of the rest of the country. It is high in unhealthy fat and refined sugars and flours. The world is beginning to realize that this diet is slowly poisoning us.
I have recently discovered some additional information that has made me seriously consider adding white sugar, and products which contain sugar and corn syrup to the list of substances of which I never partake. Mike Adams at Natural News reports:
Farmers across the country will soon be planting Monsanto's Roundup Ready (RR®) sugar beet, genetically engineered for resistance to Monsanto's herbicide glyphosate (marketed as Roundup). John Schorr, agriculture manager for Amalgamated Sugar, estimates that 95 percent of the sugar beet crop in Idaho will be of the new GM variety in 2008, or a total of 150,000 out of 167,000 acres.
The RR® sugar beets are designed to be the only living plants (if that’s life) that survive spraying of Roundup. Genetically modified (GM) sugar beets will have a significant effect upon human health, agriculture and the environment. These crops encourage increased chemical use, with glyphosate, which is a toxic poison, leaving dangerous residue on the plants. Since sugar is extracted from the beet's root, it poses a great health risk to consumers. Additionally, the GM sugar beets allow for application of strong doses of Monsanto's Roundup up to five times a year, contaminating soil and water, and killing earthworms and microorganisms. Overuse of the product Roundup has encouraged the development of resistant "superweeds." In the corn belt, farmers have already been forced to rely on even more toxic herbicides to control those weeds. Finally, pollen from genetically modified crops is almost sure to contaminate similar species. Agriculturalists consider this contamination a major risk to organic crops grown in the United States.
GM sugar beets will save farmers a whopping $80 per acre, and the hassles of hiring questionable laborers to hand weed their fields. But unfortunately they do not realize that initial increases in production will inevitably begin to shift as the soil is depleted. Farmers will find themselves paying more and more to try to offset the hidden costs of using chemical fertilizers and pesticides rather than composts and other traditional ecological farming practices.
What can we do about this situation? Nothing. Consumer groups have been unsuccessful in regulating this crop. A few companies which had agreed to boycott the use of GM sugar have now quietly withdrawn their opposition. In the United States, food containing this sugar will not be labeled as a genetically modified product. The biotechnology-enhanced sugarbeet has also been approved for human and animal consumption in the European Union, allowing unrestricted imports.
Genetically modified sugar will enter the food supply in early 2009. By then, I hope to have successfully added this substance to the list of Word-of-Wisdom-banned foods that my family no longer consumes.