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A Wine Without the Hangover: Should You Drink It?
It seems as if GMO foods are coming out faster than ever before! The University of Illinois has recently announced that they have created a type of GMO wine that will eliminate the cause of hangovers. Although this might sound good (Who loves a hangover?) the question we should be asking is: how will this affect the human body once consumed?
This GMO doesn’t actually involve the grapes themselves, but rather a modified yeast that enhances the fermentation process and removes the byproducts that cause those ugly hangovers. Food scientists have been looking for ways to do this for years, however, their previous chelation compounds left the wine with a funky taste. This new method of modifying the yeast will bypass these additives.
Although this gets a bit complicated, the brass tacks are that scientists have developed what they call a “genome knife” that allow them to use a particular enzyme that changes the metabolic engineering of the fermentation process.
Unfortunately, there are many concerns and problems with this GM wine. First, although the removal of toxins that can cause hangovers sounds good, the truth of the matter is, there are many other factors as to why people get hangovers, including dehydration and liver problems. This is why some people get terrible headaches the morning after and others experience no problems, even though both drank the same amount.
Second, hangovers are an inflammatory response. There is no known amount of gene modification that can change how the body responds to excessive consumption of wine or any other alcoholic beverage. The ethanol in wine causes elevated levels of cytokines in the body, which are used by the immune system as a means of communication. There is no way a GM wine can stop the production of cytokines in the body.
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This genetic engineering that is now rampant is based on naïve understanding of how genes work. Researchers and scientists are creating mutation to find the function of a specific set of genes and tinkering with those genetics without a complete understanding of how those mutated genes will work once metabolized in the human body.
Foreign or mutated genes disrupt the DNA. These changes in the genes are not predictable and can cause alteration and massive changes within the body, possibly with multiple health related effects, and you can bet that most of those changes will not be good ones!
Even if just a few wineries decide to use this new GM yeast, it could affect the entire American market. These wines will not have to label themselves as containing GM yeast. The only way to avoid these types of GM wine would be to avoid any wine made in North America, except for those labeled as organic. Consumers in Europe are very aware of GMOs and will not purchase them, although many of them never have the opportunity, since GMO products are outlawed in many countries. The good news is that more and more American consumers are becoming aware of the dangers these GM products can cause and statistics show that most Americans would avoid them and support clear labeling laws.
There is far too little known on the long term effects of these GM products to allow them to be introduced to the general public. Avoid all wines made in North America and avoid hangovers the natural way: don’t drink to excess.