One of our happier childhood memories is drinking root beer. Sometimes it was poured over ice cream and it became a “root beer float.”
On warm summer days, we’d walk to the corner variety store to stock up on root beer-flavored candies.
There is no denying that root beer was a delicious treat. But our childhood memories are from a much simpler era. We didn’t have to worry about our food and drink being made with genetically modified ingredients.
Now, with most soda and candy, unless it specifically says it contains no high-fructose corn syrup, you can rest assured it probably does. If it does, this syrup was likely made from genetically modified corn. Nearly all of the US corn crop is genetically modified. That means it’s been engineered to live through copious applications of Roundup, an herbicide produced by Monsanto.
America’s sugar beet crop is also increasingly genetically modified.
The solution? If you want to drink a healthier root beer, or suck on a root beer candy, you’ll need to find organic brands?
USDA Certified Organic Root Beer
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Root beer is a distinctly American drink. The colonists started brewing it in the 17th century, using roots from the sassafras tree. Sometimes the bark was stripped and used as well, or in place of the roots. This is what gives it the taste we know as root beer.
There was no set and standard recipe, except for using sassafras. Some brewers added cinnamon, licorice, anise and other spices. There are as many variations on root beer as there are brewers.
At one time, the drink was marketed as a tonic or a cure all. Through the years, the recipe began to change into what we know today. In 1960, sassafras was banned by the FDA because of concerns linking safrole, and extract of sassafras, to liver cancer in laboratory rats. So artificial flavorings are now used instead.
Today, root beer is found throughout the United States and there are hundreds and hundreds of different brands. One of the most famous is A&W Root Beer, started by two California entrepreneurs in the early 1900’s. The name A&W are the first letter of their last names.
Where To Find Organic Root Beer Soda
The men also founded A&W Restaurants, which has become an American classic. Root beer, made from a closely guarded formula, is served in mugs that are keep in a freezer. (Information on an A&W website says the root beer is sweetened with cane sugar.) A few restaurants in the chain still have the nostalgic “carhops” that take orders and serve food to patrons in their cars.
Those were much simpler times. We could drive to A&W and enjoy root beer, without having to worry about ingesting GMO’s. Now, in order to do that, you need to make sure your root beer is USDA-certified organic, or at least has a NON-GMO Project label. You may not be able to find organic root beer locally. (It’s not sold in my local grocery store.) But you can find it online.
Why You Need To Drink Organic Root Beer
Avoiding genetically modified foods goes much beyond the question of aesthetics. There is growing concern these engineered ingredients can harm our health.
Genetically modified corn is a potential carcinogen, as it was shown to increase the rate of cancer in rats. Swedish scientists have pegged GMOs in the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Also, high fructose corn syrup, even if its not genetically modified, is linked to elevated blood sugar and liver damage. I don’t buy anything that contains this unhealthy ingredient.
So you want to enjoy your root beer, without having to worry about GMOs, or high fructose corn syrup, buy only the organic version.
USDA Certified Organic Root Beer