The recent Stanford report claiming that organic food isn’t any better for you than conventional had organic naysayers jumping for joy and supporters of organic agriculture crying in their certified organic salad. The problem is that this report really missed the organic boat.
The Stanford study claims organic produce is not any better for you than conventionally grown – but only in terms of nutrient profile. It is pretty ridiculous to have to refute such a statement but as a longtime advocate for buying organic, I have never once encouraged people to buy organic because it has more nutrients. Buying organic is more about what you don’t get- like harmful (and some potentially cancer causing) pesticides, herbicides, and hormones.
There were some glaring issues with the report that the media chose to ignore. For starters, as produce ripens, the nutrient content is constantly changing and this was not taken into account. Also, where a fruit or vegetable is grown can make a significant difference in nutrients especially when it comes to soil, geographic location, and amount of sunlight. Therefore, there was no study control at all to establish a threshold.
Why so many people are so quick to hate on organics is beyond me, because this study drove so many of my friends, family, and colleagues to say: “Ha! Organic isn’t better for you!” Seriously? I don’t spend my days throwing stats around about how bad McDonald is for you but the second anyone gets the chance to bash organics all bets are off. That’s sad, because organic actually is better for you as it avoids filling your body with mega doses of man-made chemicals . Check out my 10 Reasons to Eat Organic post for more information on the benefits of organic.
What nobody acknowledged was that the study also said that children who ate organic had way fewer pesticides in their urine than kids who ate conventional, and that is very significant for the future health of our little ones. The study found that organic meat had considerably fewer antibiotic resistant bacteria, another media omission. Also skipped right over was a review of a recent study which found that women who ate organic while pregnant had children with higher IQ’s in elementary school.
If you’ve been on the fence about choosing organic, do not let this study sway you as it does not provide an accurate analysis. Organic food IS better for you because it isn’t adding a side of poison to your carrots or growth hormones to your yogurt. Organic agriculture also makes sure animals are treated humanely, and most importantly preserves the land for future generations. Yes, sometimes organic is more expensive but not in the long run and the price difference is often minimal. It’s funny how people balk at paying 43 cents more for an apple but will drop $5 on a fancy fat filled cupcake or a latte. I say: Buy the highest quality food you can reasonably afford- you owe it to your children and we owe it to the planet.