Apparently, according to researchers at Standford University, organic food is not that much better than non-organic food – if at all. A team led by Dena Bravata, a senior affiliate with Stanford’s Center for Health Policy, and Crystal Smith-Spangler, MD, MS, an instructor in the school’s Division of General Medical Disciplines and a physician-investigator at VA Palo Alto Health Care System choose over 200 studies done on organic and non-organic food and analyzed them. They wanted to see if in fact organic food is healthier and more nutritious than non-organic food.
What did they find?
After analyzing the data, the researchers found little significant difference in health benefits between organic and conventional foods.
And ofcourse I naturally wondered – what range of time are we discussing here? The researchers covered this in their paper quite clearly.
There were no long-term studies of health outcomes of people consuming organic versus conventionally produced food; the duration of the studies involving human subjects ranged from two days to two years. (source here)
Interesting, so we’re talking about the health and nutritious benefits that don’t go past 2 year? Long term benefits? Unknown as far as they are concerned because unless it’s been studied, it’s not true organic foods are more beneficial to humans in the long run. Reminds me of how herbal remedies are also not given full credit, since there aren’t studies for every one of them. Personally, I count the thousands of years of herbal medicine as “proof” as well as my own and many others personal experience. I’d rather take my herbal syrup any day over a chemical filled Tylenol (see side affects of Tylenol as an example here) that has been approved by the FDA. But, I digress.
The analysis did find the organic foods have less pesticides than non-organic foods.
Two studies of children consuming organic and conventional diets did find lower levels of pesticide residues in the urine of children on organic diets, though the significance of these findings on child health is unclear. Additionally, organic chicken and pork appeared to reduce exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but the clinical significance of this is also unclear. (source here)
Pesticides – extremely dangerous.
Pesticides though again approved by the FDA are to be taken seriously. They affect our nervous system, may be carcinogenic, irritate the skin, affect our hormones, and more. Sources here, here and here to begin.
The researchers said that regardless there are many other reasons to eat organic – taste, texture, farming practices and less pesticides.
But, the press didn’t get that memo.
Headlines include –
“Organic food is no better for you than traditionally grown food but it may taste better, researchers have said.”
“Organic, Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be”
“Organic food may not be worth the money”
It seems that many in the press missed some important details in what the researchers reported and also seemed to downplay.
There was also no difference in protein or fat content between organic and conventional milk, though evidence from a limited number of studies suggested that organic milk may contain significantly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Being that omega-3s are essential to human health and can’t be produced by our bodies, I would say this is pretty important information.
And that farming practices has a huge affect on our planet and our food.
As for what the findings mean for consumers, the researchers said their aim is to educate people, not to discourage them from making organic purchases. “If you look beyond health effects, there are plenty of other reasons to buy organic instead of conventional,” noted Bravata. She listed taste preferences and concerns about the effects of conventional farming practices on the environment and animal welfare as some of the reasons people choose organic products
To be honest the research confirmed the reasons why I eat organic. And ALL covered in their research.
Organic foods have less pesticides, more phosphorus, more Omega 3s, have less antibiotic-resistance bacteria, taste better, are more ethical. And to add to that, organic foods contain no GMOs.
Eat well, eat local, eat with intention.