QHello, Im doing a school project about GMOS and if they are causing obesity in the world. It would be great if I could have some information about the subject.

Hello, Im doing a school project about GMOS and if they are causing obesity in the world. It would be great if I could have some information about the subject.

AExpert Answer

Obesity is a major health concern for the U.S. but also in many countries around the world. There are many factors that may have influenced the rapid rise in obesity observed over the past 50 years. Among these are more sedentary and stressful lifestyles, larger portion sizes and more access to fast food. Also, higher consumption of sweetened beverages, especially by children and young adults, has been reported. All of these factors create an imbalance of energy leading to more calories consumed than expended which leads to gain in body fat. Other ideas about the causes of obesity have been proposed but have not confirmed. These include changes in gut microorganisms, viruses and contaminants in the water and air. There is no evidence to support a connection between GMO crops and obesity.


A connection between the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in the food system and obesity has been made by some people. The production of GMO grain, mostly corn and soybeans, in the US was about zero in the early 1990s and increased to 80-90% of the crop by 2010. During the same time period, obesity became more recognized as a major health concern and therefore it was easy to suggest a correlation between the two events. However, the obesity problem was well underway prior to the introduction of GMO crops in the U.S. Hence, the timing of GMO introduction and obesity rates do not suggest a relationship.


Another concern that has been raised between GMO crops and obesity is that as more corn was produced with better yields due to GMO traits, the availability of high fructose corn syrup increased. This led to lower costs for this sweetener, compared to sugar. It has been proposed that as more high fructose corn syrup was used by food manufacturers, this contributed to the obesity problem. There has been a substantial debate in the scientific community about the role of high fructose corn syrup in the obesity problem, and the general consensus is that high fructose corn syrup is equivalent to sugar in calorie load and is not more likely to cause obesity than any other form of caloric sweetener.


GMO technology is associated with more use of selected herbicides such as glyphosate (Roundup) which has also been suggested as a causative factor in obesity. Many studies have repeatedly found that glyphosate is not linked to health problems in the general population. Similarly, other traits used in GMO plants have been found to be safe for humans and animals to consume and there is no evidence that there is any connection to obesity or any other type of illness. 

Posted on July 4, 2018
Thank you for your questions, we will address each question separately below. How is a transgenic organism or GMO created? When people refer to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), they are referring to precision plant breeding using genetic engineering. It allows plant breeders to take a desirable trait (like resistance to drought, insects, weeds, and disease) from one plant or organism and transfer it to the plant they want to improve, as well as make... Read More
Posted on July 30, 2018
Genetic engineering (GE) touches on the routine life of billions of people (but not everyone). Food, clothes, and medicine are commonly made with the help of genetically engineered organisms. Certain medicines, like insulin, could only be mass-produced this way. Fiber for clothes is made less expensive thanks to GE cotton plants. You also PROBABLY sometimes eat plants with a few engineered genes, depending on where you live. But genetic engineering isn’t just for making new or better... Read More
Posted on February 28, 2018
This is an important question! Of course scientists wouldn't want to release any plants or products that would be harmful to humans. The first part of the answer is that I'm not aware of ANY examples of released GMOs hurting human bodies. In fact, GMO (or genetically engineered, GE) crops have actually helped both plants and human health, by making harvests more efficient and reducing the need to spray harmful pesticides. Safety to humans is an important part of the... Read More