Well, they’re at it again — every few months it seems a new raft of articles comes out demonizing organic food and implying those who choose it over “conventional” foods are some sort of delusional health nuts.
This time around, the focus is on a just-published review study (analysis of previous studies) out of Stanford U., and it’s the same old story — organic foods are no more nutritious than conventional foods, because they do not contain significantly higher levels of vitamins and minerals.
First of all, I do not accept this as fact. After all, previous reviews such as this one published in 2008, say otherwise. After looking at 97 different studies and 11 key nutrients including vitamins A, C, E, potassium and phosphorus, these researchers found organic foods to be “more nutrient dense” in 61% of the cases, versus 37% for conventional foods. In 2% of the cases there was found to be no significant difference in nutritional content.
But this time around some of the media, namely NPR, are going one step further in their wanton extrapolation of the data. It’s not enough for them to say organics are no more nutritious — oh no. These yellow journalists — Allison Aubrey and Dan Charles — are running the headline: Why Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You.
The operative word of course being “healthier.”
Here’s the conclusion of the study in question, quoted verbatim from the abstract:
“The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”
Now you tell me. If you are presented with two foods, nutritionally identical, one containing substantial amounts of POISON and antibiotic-resistant bacteria — and the other containing much less or zero POISON and antibiotic-resistant bacteria — would you say one is “healthier” than the other?
I would. And I am: Cleaner food is healthier food, period.
By the way, here’s the other little shiatsu massage these Stanford researchers put on their results: They reason that, because conventional foods contain “safe” levels of poison (according to the FDA, EPA, etc.) — and organic foods also fall in the safe category — that the two are no different.
Now, I’m trying hard to restrain myself from delving into the politics of all this … but please be aware, while the conventional food industry (aka, Big Agra), may not have directly funded this recent hogwash — I mean study — you can bet the farm on the fact that their legions of PR stooges are responsible for the associated publicity splash. It would be naive to think that hundreds or perhaps thousands of news outlets around the world would simultaneously pick up this story — which, if reported accurately and honestly, is not all that sensational. After all, I’d venture to say that a vast majority of those who buy organic — myself included — do so not because of what’s in the organic food but because of what’s NOT in there.
Giving credit where credit is due — The Atlantic is one mainstream media source that gets it mostly right in their article on the subject.
And one more thing! You may notice that this latest study — and the many articles about it — make no mention of GMOs, which are not only engineered to withstand massive doses of herbicides and pesticides (or produce them in the plant itself), but also have many well-documented, inherent health risks.
So don’t be duped by all this organic bashing. The fact is that more and more savvy consumers are choosing organic foods, and a tipping point is drawing ever-nearer in which many conventional producers will be forced to change their business model. The gravy train of cheap, processed garbage may never stop for Big Agra, but it’s slowing down …
And make no mistake — less gravy is always going to be healthier for you.