Organic Food “Not Any Healthier”
It’s no surprise that the organic food industry is no longer a niche market. But, it may come as a surprise that a recent study at Stanford University shows that organic food may not be any healthier than conventional food.
The Standford study looked at a multitude of different studies. Some studied people to see if they were less allergy prone or less likely to contract food borne illness if eating organic. They also looked at studies that measured the pesticide, nutirent, fungus, and bacteria levels in organic and non-organic foods. And so on. The result – no conclusive evidence that organic food was any healthier. Although reports did show 30% lower pesticides levels in organic.
That can bring environmental benefits, such as more diverse insect life in the field or less fertilizer runoff into neighboring streams. But such methods also cost money. That’s part of what you are buying when you buy organic. NPR
However, the studies done on people were from a very unregulated small group over the course of less than 2 years.
It’s important to note, though, that such studies have a really hard time uncovering subtle effects of our environment, or what we eat, on our health. Too many other powerful influences get in the way. Also, these studies only followed people for a very short time — about two years or less. That’s hardly enough time to document any particular health benefit. NPR
The studies also don’t account for variables, and these variables are high. You are dealing with multiple farms, with multiple practices that vary from organic to organic farmer. So it is vary hard to regulate any study. Not to mention they didn’t measure any effects that conventional produce had on the earth or environment. Just watch any documentary about food to see how we are quickly depleting our soil’s nutrients.
So, can an organically grown tomato (for example) picked unripe and trucked in from California be anymore nutrient dense than a conventionally grown tomato picked unripe and trucked in from California? I would say, probably not a lot of difference. The main issue for me is both the ripeness and the travel time. How can a tomato picked green ever have time to develop and gain nutrients off the vine? It can’t. Then it travels hundreds of miles to sit on the shelf for a few weeks. It may have lower pesticide levels, but perhaps not more nutrients.
This is why I buy local. My food has ripened on the vine, gathered the nutrients from soil that has been taken care of. Soil that has been rotated and naturally fertilized to contain very high levels of nutrients. Then brought from a family farm to a farmers market and sold the day or next day it was harvested. Then into my kitchen where I consume it within a week. Now, please tell me that doesn’t have a higher level of nutrients and is not healthier for me and the planet than store supplied organic or conventional foods. Let’s see a study on that.