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Monsanto’s Vistive Gold Soybeans Lack Omega-3

[social_buttons] Monsanto’s new Vistive Gold soybeans lack omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to the human body. They have been shown to improve cardiovascular function and assist in the development of the brain. Research indicates omega-3s could have anti-cancer properties, improve immune function in infants, and may reduce the chance of low birth weights among infants.

So why would Monsanto remove omega-3 fatty acids from their genetically modified soybeans?

The goal in genetically modifying the soybeans was to cut the saturated fat in half. Saturated fat has been linked to heart disease, so this is an admirable goal on the surface.

According to Micah Veihman of Monsanto (in the comment section), the Vistive Gold soybeans will be used primarily for partially hydrogenated soybean oil. When vegetable oils are partially hydrogenated, as they often are for commercial purposes and for adding to heart-healthy butter substitutes, many of the omega-3s are broken down anyway. The average farmer will be able to charge more for these soybeans, since they have less saturated fat.

So how will this affect the average person? Not much, really. The American Heart Association recommends less than 16 grams of saturated fat on a 2000 calorie diet. The average American consumes half again that.

A large order of fries at most fast food restaurants contains three or four grams of saturated fat; Vistive Gold soybean oil will reduce that amount to 1.5-2 grams. Most of the saturated fat we eat each day is in dairy products – the milk on your cereal in the morning (5 grams) or the cheese on the cheeseburger that you ordered with those fries – and meat, such as the hamburger in the cheeseburger (6-11 grams). Clearly, the way to reduce saturated fat is to reduce consumption of animal products.

So, besides the increase in price for this β€œhealthier” partially hydrogenated soybean oil, barely a dent will be made in the average consumer’s saturated fat intake and there will be fewer omega-3s.

Image Credit:Β  Creative Commons photo by jasonnippolito

6 comments
  1. Scott Willbanks

    “Less saturated fats = more expensive… sigh, continually frustrating to see healthy foods cost more money.”

    I think you missed the point. They are making the plants not produce the very good fats (omega 3s) because they are able to do so through genetic modification and doing so allows them to claim “less fat!” and charge more, pretending it is “healthier because less fat” when actually it is LESS healthy because “no omega 3”.

    1. Heather Carr

      Scott,

      Omega 3s are polyunsaturated fats, so Monsanto is being honest when they say they’ve reduced saturated fat in the soybean. It’s just that there’s not much saturated fat in a soybean to begin with.

      Genes are complicated and what likely happened (although I’m not positive) is that the omega 3 fatty acid production is tied to the some of the same genes that produce saturated fats. So probably, the only way to reduce bad fat is to remove good fat.

      Interestingly, Monsanto also has a soybean with increased omega 3s in it. I wonder if it also has increased saturated fats.

  2. twunky

    Another Monsanto Story.

    Monsanto has taken control of our food industry with these GMO’s. Most people have heard of them, but dont believe the government (FDA & other agencies) would let “these stories” ever go on that we hear about Monsanto. That is the reaction I get from family and friends.

    Monsanto is what BP is to the oil industry. They are so large and they regulated themselves for so long, the general public/population trust them and their stories. The worst part is that they are altering genes in our plants. These plant reproduce and cross breed with other native plant. The environmental impact is 100% unknown and the overall health on our bodies are also 100% unknown in the long run. But we continue to let them do business.

    GMO’s = more pesticide/herbicide use with unknown end results.

    Oh…my….Im not going to get into all the details. Do the research yourself (be careful what your read… take into account Monsanto is a multi-billion dollar company and their PR (Public Relations) department is very good at cover-ups and stories that flect them in a positive light)

    So I guess that we know SOOOO much about the earth and OUR bodies, that we now have the technology to modify food. I DONT THINK SO. We dont know how these foods effect our bodies at ALL after years and years of continuous, everyday use.

  3. Dan

    The product has less palmitic acid (16:0) saturated fat. This stuff is bad and is linked to heart disease. What food companies have done, because hydrogenation results and trans fats and they are now illegal, is substitute palm oil. So they have traded one devil for another. They had to do this b/c higher saturated fat levels = higher stability at high temperatures. So if you lower the sat fat, you lessen the stability and thus use of the oil. What to do? it turns out if you mimic the oil profile of canola or olive oil (low sat, high monounsaturated and low polyunsaturated, particularly 18:3 or the omega-3 you’re all referring to) you get low sat, high stability and never have to hydrogenate (and create unnatural trans fats). So if this oil in Vistive Gold is bad, then so is canola and so is olive oil b/c the oil profiles are the same. Also, the omega-3 you mention is alpha-linolenic acid which is of little value in the human body b/c it must be converted to longer chain fatty acids (such as SDA DHA or EPA that found in fish oils) and we’re terrible at it (conversion rate of 20:1). hope that clears some things up.

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