(Another) article about organics vs that recent study.
Are Organics A Waste Of Money?
The skinny on a controversial new study
By Leah Zerbe
Is organic better? Many consumers swear by it but a team of Stanford researchers made headlines recently with their finding that, after looking at data from 250 studies, there wasn’t a big difference in nutrient levels of organic and conventional food. The media jumped on it, flooding the news with headlines like, Organic Food Is Just A Crock and Organic Foods No Better For You.
But the research, published in the journal the Annals of Internal Medicine, is facing strong criticism from experts who say studies that fail to look at the big picture end up confusing people—rather than helping them make healthy choices.
“Nutrition studies miss the point,” says Charlotte Vallaeys, director of farm and food policy for The Cornucopia Institute, an organic watchdog group. “Consumers should not lose sight of the important impacts of organic agriculture, which produces foods without the use of toxic pesticides that have been linked to an array of health problems, including ADHD in children and cancer.”
Here’s what the study did find to support the argument for eating organic:
It can reduce infections. Choosing organic meat, particularly organic pork and chicken, reduces your risk of coming in contact with potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant super-germs by more than 30%.
Organics reduce your exposure to pesticides. Organic produce was shown to have a 30% lower risk of contamination with pesticides than conventional produce. “A growing body of evidence suggests that dietary exposures to pesticides, particularly neurotoxic insecticides, causes lasting damage to developing fetuses and young children,” says Sonya Lunder, a senior research analyst at Environmental Working Group, an environmental and human health watchdog group.
Organic milk is a smart choice. Organic milk contained more heart- and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Produce that’s organically grown is healthier. Organic produce boosted higher levels of cancer-preventing micronutrients known as plant phenols.
And here’s what the study missed:
GMO threats: The study didn’t include potential health impacts of eating genetically engineered material commonly found in nonorganic food, particularly processed foods. The jury’s still out on the safety of GMOs in the food supply due to a lack of long-term studies, but preliminary research suggests it could be linked to a whole host of health concerns, such as digestive diseases and food allergies.
The true cost of conventional agriculture: US farmers spray so many pesticides—particularly glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup—that it’s now evaporating and raining back down on us. Glyphosate is implicated in hormone disruption, infertility, and cell damage. Scientists don’t know yet how such widespread exposure is affecting humans, or what the ultimate environmental and human health toll will be.
Processed food threats: Organic processed foods are free of questionable artificial sweeteners, food dyes, and chemical preservatives that have been linked to everything from ADHD, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome to brain cell damage, autism, and obesity.
Bottom line: Don’t let catchy headlines fool you into forgoing organics. See the Top 10 Reasons To Go Organic and What To Buy Organic—And What To Skip.