Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Organic foods offers no additional health benefits:

I don’t know about you, but personally I am tired of having all of these people tell me what is healthy or not healthy for me, and what I should or should not eat. Currently, most of the pressure is coming from the organic foods industry. With the huge success of Whole Foods, and farmers markets springing up everywhere I was thinking whether or not there really was a significant health benefit to consuming organic foods. This led me on a search to find empirical evidence to justify one side or the other.

We all know what constitutes organic from non-organic: non GMO, organic fertilizer, no antibiotics, et cetera. But does any of that really affect the amount of health benefiting nutrients within the produce? According to a researcher of the subject Pia Knuthsen of the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark, “organically grown foods do not have higher levels of healthful antioxidants and related substances known to fight cancer, heart disease and dementia.” This was the result of a two year experiment where they specifically targeted organic fertilizer (manure) and non-organic fertilizers on various vegetables. Clearly the organic fertilizers are not responsible for this health craze.

What about pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones in our foods, you ask? Well Carl Bartecchi, a medicinal specialist states in regards to this topic “there is no evidence for greater safety of organic foods.” In fact there has been more research on the effect of non-organic substances proving that they are benign to the foods, whereas the organic counterparts could very well have problems of their own.

In a last ditch effort some people say to eat organic foods because they taste better. Well taste is a subjective sense where not everybody has the same tastes and preferences. I feel that it is an unjustifiable advertisement to say that organically grown foods are “tastier”.

In all, the health aspect of organic foods to me seems like a way to mark up the price of a good without justification. Simply being able to place a USDA organic sticker on your product entitles you to make it more expensive, and for what reason. Somewhere along the line the word organic was associated with healthier and I know that I am not going to fall into a fad for the wrong reasons.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's important to pursue this line of questioning. However, the studies and experts you cite here aren't very good evidence against organic food. The first study only focuses on antioxidants - certainly not the only thing that matters in terms of the nutritional content of food. And who is Carl Bartecci?

    One thing you haven't mentioned here are the public health consequences of using pesticides and herbicides on a large scale, which I think is really the most important reason for advocating organic agriculture.