Guess What? Organic Food is Healthier

organic produce is better

If organic farming is the natural way, shouldn’t organic produce just be called “produce” and make the pesticide-laden stuff take the burden of an adjective?

—Ymber Delecto

Did you see the international news yesterday that researchers at Stanford University  published a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine? You can believe that my husband sent me the article first thing in the morning from BBC News, “Organic food ‘not any healthier“. What about NPR’s headline, “Why Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You”?

But… when you read the articles you see that it isn’t actually a new study but review of more than 200 studies; all short-term, none longer than two years, with different variables. More research is needed. 

 

In fact, the abstract says:

“Limitation: Studies were heterogeneous and limited in number, and publication bias may be present.”

 

Who made this international headline news?

The Conclusion is…inconclusive. It says the already published literature hasn’t proven that organic foods are more nutritious than conventional foods but it acknowledges that exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria may be reduced.

 

The news to me was how much safer it is to eat organic by reducing exposure to pesticides and antibiotic resistant bacteria. The study says by 30%, but the numbers are bigger than that (read Thom Philpott’s article)!   Why so misleading?

Let’s take a look at antibiotic use here, 80% of antibiotics sold in this country are used by the meat and poultry industries to precipitate growth of beef, pork and chicken, which is then sold in supermarkets. Because of the overuse of antibiotics in meat, we now have bacterial “superbugs” that are resistant to antibiotics, which can be deadly. By the way, the European Union banned the use of antibiotics in 1999. That’s 13 years difference and our only way of protecting ourselves, here in the United States, is buy buying organic or local.

 

The abstract says it’s self-funded— whatever that means. It seems like another push for the Big Ag industry and a boost for those who are on the fence in California about Prop 37 and labeling GMO’s.

 

I have heard, here or there, that organic food has more vitamins and minerals. But, it isn’t as easy as that.  There are all kinds of factors when it comes to nutrient values of foods, things like growing conditions, soil, fertilizers used and how long it’s stored.

 

Eating organic because of nutrient value isn’t my top reason for choosing organic— although,  organic strawberries and tomatoes do have more antioxidants than conventional ones. Then again, they also lack the heavy pesticide sprays and ethylene.

I prefer organic because conventional food could be: genetically engineered, laden with antibiotics, created with synthetic, chemical pesticides and fertilizers; grown in sewer sludge and then exposed to irradiation to kill off bacteria, viruses and any other icky stuff left over from the sludge it’s grown in; made with artificial dyes and sweeteners, and made with artificial growth hormones.

 

I have said this one before: the environment is better off with organic farming; synthetic chemicals are devastating to our waterways— rivers, lakes and oceans. The birds, the bees, the butterflies and all the other wildlife thank you for using more natural ways.

 

I wish I had just missed the news that day. I am not better informed by hearing a bit of news that says a study looking at 200 other studies that all say that there might not be any difference nutritionally but more research is needed? This is the big headline?

 

Organic food isn’t healthier? That’s a big statement. Healthier is about much more than nutritional values.

 

Sources:

http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1355685

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robyn-o/organic-food-vs-conventio_b_1857802.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/daniellegould/2012/06/26/survey-reveals-growing-consumer-demand-for-antibiotic-free-meat/

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/organic-food-vs-conventional-food/?ref=health

 

Posted on” Frugally Sustainable, Fresh Foods Wednesday, Eat Make Grow, Simple Lives Thursday, Fill Those Jars Friday, Freaky Friday, Natural Living Monday, Homestead Barn Hop, Fat Tuesday, Tuesday Greens, Monday Mania

 

20 thoughts on “Guess What? Organic Food is Healthier

    • Great article, Foy, very inspiring. You’re right, that’s why it’s important to buy as much locally from smaller farms— or grow your own.

  1. These was another similar post about this on our linky this week . . . he suggested that the soil was the same as what was used to grow conventional foods. I also wonder that if this study was only two years in the making how it could truely be ‘organic’. It takes 6-7 years to be fully certified organic. There is no way that the soil was anywhere near properly prepped to be organic. Something smells fishy in this so-called study.

    • Hi Jen,

      I’ll have to check out the other post on your blog hop. This was not a “study” but a report based on a collection of more than 200 studies none of which lasted more than 2 years. There were too many variables for them to make any conclusions. So, instead of it just being submitted to the Annals of Medicine it got blown out of proportion and reported as a major health report. Like I said in my post, nutritional value is only a small part of health. It definitely smells fishy, especially with the timing of it.

  2. Even if there was not a huge difference nutritionally between organic and pesticide ridden veggies, organic is simply better for the earth, and therefore better for us. Is it really any more complicated than that? sheesh.

  3. Hi Lyza,
    I agree with your reasons for eating organic and I feel the same way. Organic foods taste better, are better for the environment, and better for the people who grow the food. That is all I need to know to support it. They can fund whatever studies they want but I will still buy organic. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I’m glad you stopped by my blog so I could find yours. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks, Shelley! You have lots of yummy looking recipes on your blog; I will definitely keep checking it! Yes, organic, whole foods are the only way to go.

  4. Totally agree. Recently I needed a bunch of lemons and the store didn’t have enough organic so I bought 2 that were conventional. I didn’t end up making the recipe soon enough and the organic went bad while the conventional were totally fine. It make me realize how much they were pumped full of god knows what. I’m sticking with organic whenever possible from now on.

    • Hi Kristiina, I know what you mean. We bought the best bread we could find while on holiday at the grocery store and I found it in my refrigerator, weeks later, still good as new. I don’t know what ingredient made it indestructible, but it isn’t what I would buy normally— and it says it’s 100% natural. Nature molds. Thanks for commenting!

    • I know. It’s so manipulated is what the problem is!

      Thanks, I will share some more articles tomorrow, thanks for the email reminder!

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