The first step to living a healthy life is being conscious of your diet and how what you put in your body affects your quality of life. One chemical that all health-conscious people should be aware of is glyphosate — which is a chemical that farmers use to kill weeds.
It’s estimated that 81 percent of Americans had recent exposure to glyphosate — and the exposure to American households has increased one hundred-fold since the late 1970s. There are also a few factors that contribute to glyphosate exposure, including popular herbicides like Roundup (which is also being discontinued due to risks to farm workers and consumers).
Though all these stats may sound worrying, there are ways you can curb your exposure to the chemical in your daily healthy diet. Continue reading to learn more about the basics of glyphosate and its potential dangers, the foods where you will generally find it, and the safest poison-free food substitutions to help you live a healthier life through your diet.
What is Glyphosate?
As we briefly mentioned above, glyphosate is a chemical that farmers use as an herbicide. It’s most commonly used in the popular brand Roundup and was introduced in 1974. It originally became popular because initial testing showed that it had relatively low toxicity levels.
What researchers didn’t consider, however, was how much the chemical would be used on crops and the volume of its use in the following decades. Farmers rely heavily on herbicides that use glyphosate because of its reliability as a weed killer. It can also help farmers increase production.
Is Glyphosate Dangerous for My Diet?
The jury is still out, as we need more scientific data — there has been some conflicting evidence within the past few years regarding the toxicity of this herbicide and its effects on humans.
The World Health Organization claimed that the chemical is “probably carcinogenic” in 2016 but the Environmental Protection Agency continues with the thought that it has no carcinogenic properties. Carcinogens are defined as substances capable of causing cancer.
However, Bayer — the company that owns Roundup — announced they would stop selling the product in 2023 over concerns of risks to farmworkers and everyday consumers.
With this in mind, it’s best that you make your own educated decision on whether you continue to include glyphosate in your diet.
What Foods Contain Glyphosate?
There are quite a few foods that contain traces of glyphosate. The most notable of these is oat-based foods. One study found that 95% of oat-based foods contained glyphosate.
How To Avoid Glyphosate Toxins in Food
Being aware of how to avoid glyphosate will help you be more mindful of your diet health. Here are a few ways to identify products that contain glyphosate.
- Look at the Labels
When you’re trying to find poison-free food, always check the labels to ensure that your food aligns with your dietary values. Foods that are free from glyphosate specifically have their own label you can look for. This green label ensures quality — farmers have to go through a rigorous process to label their products as glyphosate-free.
- Buy Organic Produce
Organic produce is always a great option to avoid toxins in your diet. Certified organic food means that farmers didn’t use any synthetic pesticides or herbicides in the process. A recent study showed that people who ate an organic diet saw their glyphosate levels reduce. This is great news for people who enjoy the benefits of a vegan or plant-based diet.
- Avoid Weed Killer
Since weed killers and other herbicides like Roundup are the sources of glyphosate, it’s best to stop using them in your home garden to avoid the toxic chemicals altogether.
Foods To Eat To Avoid Toxins in Your Diet
Now that you know the ins and outs of glyphosate and how to make an educated decision for your well-being, check out the list of foods that contain it and a list of foods that will help you avoid it.
Foods That Contain Glyphosate
The Environmental Working Group performed a study to determine which brands contain the most glyphosate in parts per billion (ppb). Here’s what they found:
- Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch (833 ppb)
- Nature Valley Crunch Granola Bars — Maple Brown Sugar (566 ppb)
- Nature Valley Crunch Granola Bars — Peanut Butter (312 ppb)
- Fiber One Soft-Baked Cookes — Oatmeal Raisin (204 ppb)
- Nature Valley Biscuits with Almond Butter (194 ppb)
Foods That Avoid Glyphosate
When avoiding potential toxins like glyphosate, here are some foods that are best for a toxin-free diet. The Environmental Working Group puts out a list every year of their “Clean Fifteen” — the foods with the lowest trace amount of chemicals.
These foods are:
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
Now that you know about the basics of glyphosate, you can form an opinion about whether or not you want to include it in your diet. Though many people may not see it as a detriment to their health, it’s always better to be aware of the trace amounts of any chemical you put into your body.