IS ORGANIC FOOD BETTER FOR YOU?
I will, undoubtedly, get some hate mail from this article.
Don’t shoot the messenger.
There are many other reasons why people buy organic. This article only addresses the most common reasons people say they buy organic foods.
The organic food industry has exploded over the last few years. Proponents of organic foods often claim that they believe organic foods are safer and more nutritious. Often you’ll hear statements such as “natural has to be better than artificial” or “I prefer pesticide-free food”. Sometimes you hear “It’s just better” without knowing the reason why.
I’m not knocking organic food and, for the most part, support the fact that natural is better. But too many people are using what might be called a “faith-based” approach. They often pay twice as much for their food simply because the label says “Organic”.
Base your decision on reality not on faith. Do you think the food industry never tries to mislead you? Think again. Organic food is a multi-billion industry. I simply want you to buy organic based on the facts-not what you think to be true.
What is natural is not always better
More natural doesn’t always mean safer in terms of human health. The molecular structure and dose determines whether a substance is is safe, Not whether it is synthetic or natural. Many of the most toxic substances in the world are natural.
They include ricin, abrin, strychnine and botulinum. Almost every plant and microbe carries a variety of more or less toxic chemicals. These are usually produced as a defense mechanism against predators. Some have no obvious purpose but are simply metabolic end products.
According to surveys, the most common reason for buying organic (70% of those surveyed) was that they wanted to avoid pesticides. Most are surprised to learn that organic farming does permit the use of pesticides. Organic farming uses Retenone (a potent neurotoxin), Pyrethrin, hypochlorite,copper sulfate, boric acid, lime sulfur and elemental sulfur.
A review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated no difference between organic and conventional livestock products. Conventional plant products had a significantly higher content of nitrogen and organically produced products had a higher content of phosphorus and titratable acidity. There was no difference in the two for the other 8 nutrients tested.
Current evidence does not support the claims that organic food is safer or more nutritious than conventional food.
The basis of the article comes from information provided by Jamie Hale’s book “In Evidence We Trust” including the following references:
Bahlai, C.A., McCreary, C.M., Schaafsma, A.W., & Hallett, R.H. (2010). Choosing organic pesticides over synthetic pesticides may not effectively mitigate environmental risk in soybeans. PloS One, 5(6),e11250.
Betarbet, R., Sherer, T.B, MacKenzie, G., Osuna, M.G., Panov, A.V. & Greenamyre, J.T. (2000). Chronic Systemic Pesticide Exposure Reproduces Features of Parkinson Disease. Nature Neuroscience, 3, 1301-1306.
Dangour, A., Allen, E., Lock, K., & Uauy, R. (2010). Nutritional composition & health benefits of organic foods — using systematic reviews to question the available evidence. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 131( 4), 478-480.
Dangour, A., Dodhia, S., Hayter, A., Allen, E., Lock, K., & Uauy, R. (2009). Nutritional Quality of Organic Foods: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Clinincal Nutrition, 90,680-685.
Paull, J. (2010 ). From France to the World: The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). Journal of Social Research & Policy, 1(2), 93-102.
Silver, L.M. (2006). Challenging Nature. New York, NY: Harper Collins
Silver, L.M. (2006). The Environments Best Friend GM or Organic? Update Magazine. May / June.
Topliss, J.G., Clark, A.M., Ernst, E., Hufford, C.D., Johnston, G.A.R., Rimoldi, J.M., Weimann, B.J. (2002). Natural and synthetic substances related to human health (IUPAC Technical Report). Pure and Applied Chemistry, 74(10), 1957-1985.
Winter, C.K., & Davis, S.F.(2006). Organic Foods. Journal of Food Science, 71(9), R117-R124.