GMOs vs Organic


I’m interested in whether Soylent will contain GMO ingredients. There’s enormous pushback in Europe against GMOs in food, and the U.S. is starting to feeling it too. There might be some benefits (health, marketing) from having an all-natural/organic option.

Any thoughts anyone?

[Official] Introducing Soylent 1.1

Everything you eat is GMO, either through controlled evolution or genetic tinkering. Its not neccesarily bad. But thats beside the point and another discussion :blush:

Since soylent aims for being a chemically defined diet, there is no presently or recently living things in it. The only exception might be oat powder (depending on recipe) and olive oil. Even though some of the macro/micro nutrients would come from GMO plant/animal sources, that wouldnt matter, as in its pure form, it differs not from whatever source it comes from, except maybe ethical and moral issues.
Im getting my potassium from :panda_face:


The bad press is a result of farmer unions realizing they can’t compete with cheap healthy food. You’ll notice that there’s an uproar over GMO foods but not about Tin cans that are lined with a resin that contains the synthetic estrogen bisphenol-A, which has been linked to a slew of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, reproductive problems, and obesity.

Just goes to show when there’s controversy you need to follow the money before taking things at face value.


I think this subpoint falls under the debate at large, because it illustrates fundamental points:

So, that’s not precisely true. There is a vast different between heritage pollination breeding and hybridization when contrasted with genetic engineering by splicing non-plant DNA into a base set of genetics. In the first instance you’re using actual plants and natural pollination methods, merely encouraging non-standard pollinations by proximity; in the second instance you are essentially creating a new species, as the changes that you are performing could never be achieved outside of a laboratory. They are impossible in the setting of nature.

The second is that GMO foods have been shown to produce lower yields, require more harmful pesticides, breed superweeds and superbugs, and generally increases corporate control over the food system. Residual pesticides (glyphosate) have even been found in the breastmilk of new mothers in concentrations that are potentially damaging.

Also, @kadintc, BHA has been mostly phased out at this point, at least in the US.


lower yields: I am finding one study that showed that, a ton of people repeating it, and the actual study having nothing to do with this
increased herbicide and pesticide use are a specific interaction. Namely, they made plants resistant to herbicides and pesticides… so farmers used more. That is more about misusing the crops than anything.
The rise of superweeds/bugs seems like the rise of antibiotic resistant disease, where overuse has lead to an arms race.

You start with “Your plants will be less adversely affected by the pesticides and herbicides you already use”, which is a good thing, and have people respond with “I can use more herbicides and pesticides now”, and things go from there.

What I want to see is a more balanced analysis. Not these pieces slamming GMOs. That does not make me trust them as impartial. Show me something with

reading the first link you gave, the data is not as conclusive as they want it to seem. They even say
"Based on available data, it is likely that the Bt corn provides an operational yield advantage of 7-12% compared to typical conventional practices, including insecticide use, when European corn borer infestations are high"
Well, that is what that strain is supposed to do. If you don’t have a lot of corn borers, corn borer resistant crops don’t mean anything.

they say the corn borer Bt varities increase total yield of .8-4%. the rootworm varieties increase 1.5-4.5%

They say 3-4% of the total crop yields is just attributable to GMOs, and 24-25% are other factors. Considering that this is just one change, that seems like a very reasonable increase to me. All this is showing so far is that GMO alone is not sufficient for increased yields, and I don’t think anybody is campaigning for other methods to be abadoned. They are literally comparing one change to the sum of everything else we do.
They also present the numbers in a misleading way. They take the increase of the strains, and then present it as a percentage increase per-year since it was introduced. If you are going to put it into a per-year percentage increase, then it should be over the time to develop the strain, not how long we have been using it. It also is assuming that these factors are independent, which seems suspect.

Also bearing in mind GMOs are relatively new, and a harder thing to do, while other methods have been done for centuries. Humanity is not a stranger to cross-breeding. As we learn how to perform gene modification, we should get better at it.

You see people complaining that they end up with genes that you couldn’t get via nature. Lets assume that this is true. Does this mean anything? gene combinations coming from nature is no safeguard against things going wrong. There are a zillion examples of how something natural is harmful. Breeding herbicide resistant plants via conventional methods would likely result in the same pattern of overuse that we see from the GMO crops. However, if we are getting into genetic combinations that wouldn’t be produced by nature, that also means there are combinations that could yield higher yields than a natural combination. This would mean the end productivity increase of GMOs is higher than purely using conventional means, which means that the long-term growth would necessitate them.

The main thing I see from your links are people presenting statistics in a misleading way to support the result they want, backed wit ha bunch of outrage willing to grasp onto anything


Are people who are into Organic diets really going to view Soylent in any sort of positive light to begin with? It’s pretty much a non-natural chemical cocktail milk shake and I’d find it hard to believe Organic foodies would embrace the idea behind it. I’d much rather they focused on the sustainable food source crowd and working towards reducing the price.

The Organic foodies are already probably eating well right now anyway. But if you can get the McDonalds crowd and other easy/cheep/bad food eaters onto Soylent for their meals you’d probably drastically improve the health of the western world.



There are some topics already discussing GMO if you want to read through those, too.


@ruipacheco posted this link from Wired a while back. Interesting read on Monsanto’s newest products.
It’s Monsanto’s newest organic line.


Evolution does NOT use the same methods to modify genetics as technicians do in laboratories. So the argument that “everything is GMO” is simply wrong.

To explain the difference, try and imagine just HOW does a scientist go in and start fooling around with something so utterly microscopic as DNA?

Can you use a scalpel? No way. The “sharp” edge of a scalpel is thousands of times larger than the thing you’re trying to cut.

The answer is that they use heat, viruses, microwave radiation, and sheer blind dumb luck to try and get a DNA fragment inserted into a genome. It almost NEVER works. When it does, the scientist can’t be sure just where or how many times it inserted itself.

What this causes is a ton of collateral genetic damage to the organism. Sometimes, this damage isn’t immediately deadly, but when doing studies of proteins created by the cells in GMO, there are a whole bunch of completely novel, new, never-before-seen substances being created by this genetically engineered food.

These new substances and proteins have been strongly suspected as the cause for the myriad of new diseases people have started to suffer from in huge numbers, including celiac disease, IBS, crohn’s disease, autoimmune diseases, rashes, headaches, infertility, etc. Not to mention what happens to the important bacteria in our gut when they take in novel DNA fragments through something called horizontal gene transfer.

Studies have shown that the bacteria in your belly can start producing a chemical pesticide after you eat food that has been genetically engineered, because the bacteria “learned” how to create it by being exposed to plant cells that were “taught” how to create it in a lab. Do you want your own stomach to be producing chemical pesticides?

Long story short, GMOs have been a dangerous experiment on the human race, and because of the lobbying of the companies which make GMOs to not label foods which contain them, has been done mostly without our knowledge or informed consent. Scientifically, this is unethical.

Interestingly, the same companies that use the argument that there is “essentially no difference” between GMO food and regular organic food, also hold pantents on the products they create because of their “uniqueness.” They can’t be both the same and unique at the same time! So which is it?


It would be nice if they feed the pesticide-producing food to turkeys. In one of my former residences, they would spray turkey crap all over the fields that surrounded my house. The flies were horrible for several weeks after. If that turkey crap was a pesticide, it would have been so nice.

Also, GMO’s have not been proven to be harmful. All that I can see in your comment is the standard anti-GMO FUD that is spread everywhere.


Post studies, not just assertions, and we will have something to discuss.


Mystify, why do you believe the burden of proof of GMO safety is on me?

You “assert” they are safe, I would like to see YOU post one study on the long-term reproductive safety of gmo crops. That is, show me who can prove that eating them for generations has no adverse affect on fertility, fetal development, morphology, or immune system function for humans or any animal, for that matter.

Deng G, Nilsson A, Verdrengh M, Collins L, Tarkowski A “intra-articularly located bacteria containing CpG motifs induces arthritis” 1999 Nature Medicine 5,702-6

Einspanier R, Klotz A, Kraft J et al (2001). European Food Research and Technology Abstract Volume 212 Issue 2 (2001) pp 129-134 The fate of forage plant DNA in farm animals: a collaborative case-study investigating cattle and chicken fed recombinant plant material

Gorecki D and Simons J “The dangers of DNA vaccination” 1999 Nature Medicine 5,126

Hemmi H,Takeuchi O, Kawai T, Kaisho T, Sato S, Sanjo H, Matsumoto M, Hoshino K, Wagner H, Takeda K, Akira, S "A Toll-like receptor recognizes bacterial DNA"2000 Nature 408, 740 - 745

Hsu S, Chung S, Robertson D, Ralph L, Chelvarajan R, Bondada S (1999) “CpG oligodeoxynucleotides rescue BKS-2 immature B cell lymphoma from anti-Ig-M-mediated growth inhibition by up-regulating of egr-1” International Immunology 6,871-9

Jain V and Mekalanos J “Use of lambda phage S and R gene products in an inducible lysis system from Vibrio cholerae and Salmonella enterica servovar Typhimurium-Based vaccine delivery systems” (2000) Infection and Immunity 68,986-9

Schubbert R, Hohlweg U, Renz D and Doerfler W (1998). “On the fate of orally ingested foreign DNA in mice: chromosomal association and placental transmission to the fetus” (1998) Mol Gen Genet 259: 569-576

Schubbert R,Renz D, Schmitz B and Doerfler W, “Foreign (M13) DNA ingested by mice reaches peripheral leucocytes, spleen,and liver via the intestinal wall mucosa and can be covalently linked to mouse DNA” (1997) Proc. Natnl Acad Sci USA 94,961-6


You were the one making specific claims of what GMOs did. Vauge concerns that it could have long-term effects

The first article is linked in a bunch of fear-mongering sites, but I can’t find it online so I can’t actually look at it

The second article doesn’t really seem to imply anything bad. At most, it seems to be saying that DNA may make it into certain byproducts. Which, as the article below discussed, doesn’t mean squat. Its not even like this is special; dna from the plants was already found in the byproducts without GMOs. In most cases, no plant DNA was found, modified or not. It does seem to be a favorite link on fear-mongering sites.

The next link seems to be a letter to the editor. Its behind a paywall so I can’t comment on it directly, but that doesn’t seem to be the most reliable source of information.

The link after it… I don’t see what it has to do with things. Same with the next few. Using these as indicators that GMOs are a problem strikes me like someone going “Look, biology is complex!”.

the last two are more interesting. Basically, they showed that if all of the dna you would consume is of the same type, you consume it every day, while pregnant, your fetus /may/ have a few /rare/ cells with some of the dna attached. This was mainly so they could have a single type of foreign dna to try to detect, and this was not related to GMOs, just ANY dna would do this. We all seem to do well enough with whatever slight contamination occurs from this process. This could occur from anything we eat- plant, animal, random biological contaminates - which would have wildly varying sequences. I don’t see any reason why DNA from a GMO would have any more risk than this arbitrary DNA would.

Now, be honest- did you actually read these studies, or just link them because somebody else used them as references? I am looking at them, and I don’t see anything at all concerning. It certainly doesn’t support your assertions, such as a myriad of strange new compounds in the GMOs, that these compounds are responsible for all sorts of new diseases, nor that horizontal gene transfers in your gut are any more concerning from these foods, nor that your gut is going to start producing pesticides. A bunch of studies about how DNA does stuff does not actually support any of that.

I did find this article while looking for yours.
This concludes that DNA from GMOs is just as safe as DNA from anything else.


My goal here is not to win an argument with a stranger on the internet, but to WARN people that I believe these things are dangerous, but I guess Darwin wants some people to eat these things.

I won’t, and I don’t let my wife buy them, and I try to keep it out of my kid’s mouths as much as possible.


And I will gladly listen if you can show me something that indicates they are dangerous. Without that, I have no more reason to believe you than people who are against vaccines or who promote homeopathy. If I avoided everything that anybody claims is dangerous… well, I couldn’t. Even a vacuum is dangerous. Everything and its inverse is claimed to be dangerous. “Don’t eat X, it will cause problems” “If you don’t eat X, it will be a different set of problems”.If you do not actually have evidence that these are dangerous, you are not doing people a service by trying to “warn” us, all you do is add to the chaff of misinformation that people have to sift through to find the truth. If anything, your attempt to warn me has done the opposite; you have presented a stance that is fairly absurd, with no evidence behind it, and it is going to color my view of other objections to GMOs. I am not likely to dig into every claim as deeply as I did this one, and so if other ones do have validity, I am now more likely to pass it by.


Here’s a great example of FUD from skewing any facts one way on something that we consume every day.:

Hint: You’d die without it.


Soylent was publicized significantly in transhumanist circles as a food that attempts to not be a product of nature but of human engineering. The transhumanist philosophy is almost opposite to the philosophy against GMOs. In fact, it is fair to say a major goal of transhumanism is not only to advance the idea of genetic engineering in general, but to advance human GMOs especially. So, I highly doubt Soylent will be GMO free in the foreseeable future.


This vide has enough information with sources to end the GMO discussions


I saw this a while ago. LOVE Dr. Tyson! Even if he did demote Pluto.


I think there would be little or no marketing benefit for Soylent if they took a no-GMO stance.

Soylent is not a product that appeals to a “healthy, natural, whole-food, non-artificial” mindset. It’s a product nothing like a natural food, built by trying to put together, synthetically, a single substance that meets all of our known needs. This food is being built up from individual elements, if necessary.

In short, Soylent is, at the concept level, diametrically opposed to that mindset. Most people in that group will be unlikely to use Soylent regardless the formulation.

I think it would be a mistake to compromise the product to make it less objectionable to a group that’s unlikely to buy it, regardless.