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Genetically modified (artificial) foods or ingredients (GMOs) may be the catalyst to obesity, which could be exacerbating Black women’s health. 

Researchers have debated the safety and health risks GMOs impose, with some arguing GMO foods are safe and others warning about the consumption of them. 

The ones who argue GMO foods pose a safety risk often refer to the GMO study conducted by Hungarian-born British biochemist and nutritionist Árpád János Pusztai for the Rowett Research Institute. That study found that genetically modified potatoes had a negative effect on rats’ stomach lining and immune systems. However, his experiments failed to prove all GMO foods were unsafe to consume for humans. But he said such foods required testing.

Despite the question marks surrounding the safety of GMOs, research shows that they pose health risks.

Appearing on I Never Knew TV in October 2023, author, activist, life coach and entrepreneur Nuri Muhammad discussed Black people’s emotional attachment to Chick-fil-A sandwiches in one part of the interview. He recalled the internet debate surrounding Chick-fil-A vs. Popeyes sandwiches and how crazy the lines were for those items.

“I started doing the research…I said, ‘This ain’t no regular chicken sandwiches,'” he recalled. “So, I went and looked up Popeyes’ chicken sandwich. Come to find out, they have over 40 ingredients in the Popeyes chicken sandwich, 32 of them were man-made chemicals.”

He said Chick-fil-A had over 40 artificial chemicals in their chicken sandwich, which drives many consumers to become addicted to these foods.


Many GMO ingredients are found in fast food (and the entire restaurant industry) because they’re cheaper when feeding the masses. When ingredients show corn, soy, canola, sugar and potatoes, they are almost always GMO derived, which are present in the fast food restaurants’ oil, breading, bread and buns, sausages and salad dressing.

A study on rats showed that genetically modified (GM) crops made one group gain weight while those on the non-GM diet didn’t. 

The research found that nutrient levels dropped when consuming GM crops, leading them to believe the rats overate to maintain their nutrients.

Long-term consumption of processed, unnatural and unhealthy foods could eventually lead to health problems, like obesity. And obesity can lead to a strand of medical issues, from diabetes to heart disease.

Unfortunately, Black women have the highest rates of obesity or being overweight compared to other groups in the United States. According to Minority Health, obesity is linked with the leading causes of death, including deaths from heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer and diabetes. One of the problems with this is the lack of access to healthier options for Black Americans. African American areas have more fast food chains than white neighborhoods.

Another problem is the GMO ingredients fast food chains can use in America. And, unlike America, many countries are putting their citizens’ health first and denying GMOs.

The increased use of GMOs poses more health risks than good, which is why many countries have banned the use of GMOs—countries like France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Poland Demark, Croatia and Italy.

Not only did Italy ban GMOs, but they also booted the use of lab-grown meat and food in November 2023, mainly to protect the livelihoods of Italian workers like farmers, but research showed that cultivated meats were considered ultra-processed foods and associated with higher risks of cancers.

The European Union attempted to get Zambia to hop on the GMO train to combat the 2002 food crisis, but Zambia refused because no one knew the risks, and they couldn’t afford to put their citizens in harm’s way.

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