By now, most of you have seen the recent headline “Is Organic Food worth it”? If not, here is the argument from Medical News Today:
Overall, organic foods are not nutritionally superior to conventional foods, neither are they safer regarding bacterial contamination, researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine reported in Annals of Internal Medicine. The scientists emphasized that they did not find any significant evidence pointing to nutritional benefits linked to the consumption of organic foods. They did, however, find “weak evidence” of higher phenol levels in organic produce.
OK. Well, let’s put some things into perspective. First, organic food doesn’t really claim to be more nutritious. Sure, there are some studies that go back and forth discussing antioxidant content, but that’s not really the main premise behind buying organic food. At least, it shouldn’t be.
Organic food may not be more nutritious, but it’s definitely healthier. Conventional produce is exposed to pesticides, something that’s not done with organic produce. While the study did claim that levels of pesticides on conventional produce were below EPA guidelines, there are numerous studies that question if the guidelines are low enough.
The biggest benefit (in my book) to purchasing organic food is the environmental payoff. Conventional farming, especially as we do it in America with large monoculture crop areas, depletes the soil of necessary nutrients that make the land healthy and sustainable. Not to mention the chemical run off as a by-product of pesticide use. I believe that choosing healthy foods means including agriculture and the environment in the discussion. There is also the issue of GMO’s, which are not found in organic products.
Organic food can be more expensive, I myself don’t eat 100% organic but try to weigh the costs when selecting my food. I discuss this more in my “Dirty Dozen vs. Clean 15” article. For me, I try to purchase most of my food through a CSA or farmers markets. Even if it’s not organic, I know I am helping to support the local economy and directly paying the farmers.
What are your thoughts on this discussion?