You probably hear the phrases “non-GMO” and “certified organic” all the time. But what do they mean?
The non-profit Non-GMO Project defines a “genetically modified organism” as a plant, animal, microorganism or other organism whose genetic makeup has been modified in a laboratory using genetic engineering or transgenic technology, which can create combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and virus genes that do not occur in nature through traditional crossbreeding methods. While there is no scientific consensus on their safety, there is increasing evidence that GMOs can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts.
“VitaHustle has taken a stance against GMO products,” says director of research and development Garrett Cox. “Non-GMO ingredients are widely available and easy to source, but consumers need to know what they are looking for. It can be very difficult with corn, which has been heavily modified and is a starting product for many things, like the filler maltodextrin and the sweeteners dextrose and fructose. You’ll see these GMO ingredients on the labels of most things from the grocery store, but you won’t find them on VitaHustle labels. Every ingredient used by VitaHustle is verified non-GMO.
Cox also explained that one of the main concern with GMOs in developed nations is that genetic modification has been used to make plants more resistant to herbicides and pesticides, which kill weeds and insects, in an effort to increase crop yields. “The overuse of herbicides and pesticides leaves chemical residues in and on fruits and plants,” Cox says. “They are then harvested and get into the grocery store and into the food chain.”
Additionally, the Non-GMO Project states, “There is no evidence that any of the GMOs currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition or an other consumer benefit.”
According to the USDA, “Certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.”
“Organic takes a more direct way of regulating what’s used in the process of growing plants,” Cox explains. “There are many pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that cannot be used in organic farming, which reduces the amount of chemicals and contaminants that get into our foods.”
Because organic produce can be 20 to 100 percent more expensive than conventional produce, it is often not financially feasible for individuals to buy only organic. However, certain fruits and vegetables absorb pesticides more than others, and a non-profit called the Environmental Working Group consistently updates its “Dirty Dozen” list; that is, the 12 fruits and vegetables that currently test with the most pesticide residue. The list routinely includes delicate fruits and vegetables like berries and leafy greens, so if you can only buy a few organic products, you may want to prioritize those. The EWG also posts the “Clean Fifteen,” which are the fruits and vegetables with the lowest levels of pesticides that therefore do not need to be purchased organic. “Buy organic when possible, especially fruits and vegetables in the Dirty Dozen,” Cox says. “And always wash fresh fruits and vegetables to remove any possible pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or germs.”
VitaHustle uses organic products whenever possible.
“Every fruit and vegetable in VitaHustle Reds & Greens is organic,” Cox says. “This product is a good example of how everything that can be sourced organically is organic.” The exceptions in Reds & Greens are the enzymes and probiotics, which can’t be produced organically.
“Every fruit and vegetable in VitaHustle Reds & Greens is organic,”
VitaHustle Vegan and Whey Protein are also flavored with organic flavors. “Our flavors are not synthetic or artificial,” Cox says. “They come from a natural source and are certified organic, which is not very common with supplement companies.”
VitaHustle’s proteins also use several other organic ingredients, including pumpkin seed protein and cocoa powder.