Organic Food-Why It IS Better
Organic products are no longer restricted to one very small, highly priced section of the supermarket, frequented primarily by vegans, new-age types and so-called health-nuts, as the media would often have us believe.
The organic food industry has bloomed in recent years, with growing public understanding of the benefits of healthy living.
This increased demand has helped bring prices down from impractically expensive, to just a little above the cost of non-organic (conventional) items. In fact, an increasing variety of organic products can now be bought at an equal or even cheaper price than their conventional counterparts. With increasing demand, this trend is set to continue.
Organic or Conventional? That is the Question
Today, in this article, we are not going to focus on the often-cited financial issues regarding organic produce. Today, is about clearing up some popular, yet false, myths concerning whether or not organic food is actually healthier than conventional produce.
To many who have studied this subject in any depth, it may seem like a redundant question, a bit of a no-brainer really. What is better?
Option 1: Conventional foods laced with anything from hormones and pharmaceuticals, to pesticides and other toxic chemicals, proven by science to play a part in many chronic diseases, which are increasingly rife among the population today.
Some conventional foods are also genetically modified (GM), which again has proven to be a hotbed for causing or at least contributing to various diseases. Conventional food manufacturers are more likely to be in it for the money and are far less bothered about the harm their products and production practices have on the planet and its people. These are foods whose production cannot be sustained without massive long-term environmental and human health costs.
Option 2: Organic food, which is grown in natural, chemical free environments as nature intended. This food is more nutritious, more absorbable (due to the lack of artificial substances), less harmful, and is generally produced in more ethical and sustainable ways. It is good for the earth and the eco-system as a whole, and far more beneficial to human health.
Hmm, tough choice…not!
But didn’t a study say…
Ah yes, the famous report, which came to a conclusion that seemed ready-made for the controversy-hungry media to latch onto: ‘Studies Prove Organic Food Is No Healthier than Conventional Food’.
What the Report Actually Showed
Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the report stated, “There is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically, over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.”
I do not want to lend a sense of importance to this report by calling it a scientific study, because it is so woefully flawed, that anyone who does even a little digging into its roots will find that it stands up about as well as a straw house in a wind tunnel.
Hold on to your intellects my friends, here’s just a little bit of detail.
The researchers, in their infinite ‘wisdom’, took 55 previous studies from a group totalling over 160 studies. In order to be selected, these 55 studies had to meet certain FSA (Food Standards Agency) criteria. Then the 55 studies, which analysed the nutritional content of organic Vs conventional foods, were compared, to see which type of food was nutritionally superior.
From the 55 studies analysed, the researchers concluded that organic food was in fact no more nutritionally potent than conventional foods.
However, and this is a BIG however…..the cracks (or gaping chasms) in this report, begin to emerge when you take all of the original 160 plus studies into account. When you do that, organic food actually comes out on top!
Some studies actually showed organic food was substantially more nutritious, with, for example, up to 20% greater vitamin content in some cases, when compared to conventional foods.
In simple terms, this well publicised report ignored all existing studies that showed organic food to be higher in nutritional vale than conventional food.
As with many of these so-called ‘scientific’ reports, we have to take a broad, balanced view of how such reports are carried out, how they are funded and if there may have been an ulterior motive or vested financial interest behind it.
For example, there have been reports in the past, conducted by scientists whose funding comes from pharmaceutical companies. Such companies want to discredit natural foods/medicines, because they would stand to lose out financially, if such natural remedies became popular. Therefore they have a conclusion in mind before they set their study out, and gear their methods towards the outcome they want.
The key is to look into the root of any report or study you see emblazoned across the tabloids and launched across the news channels with great zeal and conviction by reporters who really should learn to do their research more effectively.
The Report Missed the Main Advantage of Organic Food!
The main reason most people initially turn to organic food, is that they want to avoid pesticide residues and genetically modified ‘Frankenstein Foods’. Yet the much-touted report conveniently ignored these major factors when weighing up the health benefits!
The chemical, pesticide and GM issue alone is reason enough to avoid conventional produce like the plague.
‘Ah but what’s a tiny little bit of chemicals gonna do.’
A heck of a lot actually!
It’s not always just a tiny amount either. Many conventional foods are covered with chemicals on the outside and full of them on the inside too, because they’ve been grown using chemical fertilizers and other ‘goodies’. So washing your food does not get rid of them.
The cumulative effect of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers and other members of such an illustrious family tree of health destroyers, has been proven to contribute to all manner of chronic disease from asthma, and cancer, to Alzheimer’s, infertility, birth defects, and nerve damage. Do some research and check out the facts for yourself: http://www.beyondpesticides.org/index.html
Any investigation aiming to objectively and honestly weigh up organic food and conventional food would have to take the pesticide issue into account, yet the aforementioned report did none of that.
The report’s authors even admitted to this fact and said that they had not considered the issue of toxins and pesticides “because it was beyond the scope” of their review. That pretty much says it all about the scope of their report.
We have established that organic foods are, in most cases, nutritionally superior and the biggest benefit is that they contain little or none of the harmful chemicals present in conventional foods. Nor do organic foods cause as much damage to the environment or destroy the delicate balance of the eco systems in which they are cultivated, to the extent that conventional foods do. There is far more than simply the nutrient content to be taken into consideration.
There are, as mentioned, a whole heap of other factors, and overriding influences on every study, survey and report that comes out. Thus, you should never take one overblown media headline as gospel truth. If you hadn’t learned that already.
The mainstream media thrives on sensation and argument and isn’t known for consistent honesty or accuracy. So next time you read or hear a bold headline about food or medicine, get to the root of the matter and do not take it at face value.
Yes, organic food is healthier, and now that you are armed with a little more knowledge on the matter, so that the next time your friendly neighbourhood smart ass scoffs at you and says you’re wasting your time buying organic, keep your wits about you and either choose to ignore them, or kindly tell them the truth.
Organic products are MUCH healthier. Fact.
One thing to bear in mind is that whilst organic produce is healthier than conventional items. That does not mean that any product with the organic label should be purchased without reading the ingredients list first. Organic simply means the lack of pesticides and GM ingredients. If for example, you buy a product with a large amount of organic sugar, whilst this is better than conventional sugar, it is still sugar nonetheless and not the best choice, whether organic or not. So maintain your judgement even when purchasing organic food. Read those ingredients!
Regardless of what specific types foods you choose, do your best to buy organic as much as you can and you will make a massive step in the right direction, for both your health and the health of our much embattled planet.
Now get out there and do your own research. Don’t just accept the truth, prove it, know it, live it and make it yours.
Many thanks for reading.
Have an awesome day,
References and Resources:
http://www.jonbarron.org/blog/2009/08/study_says_organic_no_better.html Study Says Organic No Better- Dr Jon Barron
Pesticides may be a leading cause of major diseases. Jonathan Benson