Organic Food is Better according to a new study
Doggy Bag Message First
Organic food is seemingly more nutritious; contain more protective antioxidants, contain 4 times less pesticides and lower amounts of unhealthy metals like cadmium. There’s a vast range now available, from organic fruit and vegetables to organic drinking chocolate. While not everything that’s labeled organic is healthy or local, buying organic produce, especially the dirty dozen is worth the extra buck. Like I tell my patients; don’t be skimpy with your food. The rise in popularity of organic food is a sign of society becoming much more health and safety conscious. Another sign of this the high regard holding a food safety certificate is held in.
• A meta-analyses based on 343 peer-reviewed publications were carried out
• A meaningful differences in antioxidant content between organic and non-organic crops/crop-based foods.
• Types of antioxidants to be higher in organic foods were; phenolic acids, flavanones, stilbenes, flavones, flavonols and anthocyanins.
• Pesticide was found to be four times higher in conventional crops, which also contained significantly higher concentrations of the toxic metal Cadmium (Cd). (Bara?ski et al. 2014)
How Organic Foods are Labeled
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are responsible with enforcing the rules and guidelines instituted by the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990. The OFPA established specific minimum standards for foods sold as organic.
U.S. certified organic products carry a round, green and white, USDA Certified seal. To be able to carry the USDA Certified seal on their goods, farmers and importers must submit to rigorous standards;
• They cannot use synthetic substances in the production of their crops unless those substances have been evaluated, approved and added to the list of National Organic Program Standards (NOPS).
• They can’t plant organic crops on land that has been treated with substances banned by NOPS within three years prior to converting to organic production practices.
• Livestock must be fed exclusively organic grains.
• It is not genetic engineering (No GMO) or irradiated.
There is a higher cost for organic food production, however. Organically-produced food can cost anywhere from 10 to 30% more than conventionally mass-produced food. The extra price is passed on to you and I of course – and that’s why some choose not to consume organic foods.
Does organic labeling mean it’s 100% “organic”?
The USDA has established three basic organic standards: 100 Percent Organic (made using all organic materials and practices); USDA Organic (made with 95 percent organic materials); and Made with Organic Ingredients (Products in this last category contain 70 percent organic ingredients or more. Although they can claim organic status, goods carrying this designation cannot display the official organic seal.)
My Take On This
The dietary key to long-term health is; minimization of exposure to toxic substances like dietary Cadmium (Cd) and pesticides, consuming an abundance of balanced nutrients from primarily plant foods, limiting or eliminating simple, refined carbohydrates and sugar, and taking selected dietary supplements like vitamin D3, quality fish oils and perhaps probiotics. Many of the antioxidants highlighted on this recent study have previously been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers, in dietary intervention and epidemiological studies.
Cadmium has shown to be harmful mostly in men and not as much in women. One study noticed a reduction in lung capacity in men but not in women with high Cd levels. A link with high Cd levels and prostate cancer has been published but no such association with female cancers.
Don’t be fooled though; NOT everything organic is good for you. An organic cookie is still a cookie – maybe with less pesticides and unwanted metals but it’s far from a health food.
Also, many organic foods in make it to your local market from other countries, i.e. apples from New Zealand, grapes from Mexico, etc. Local and organic food is always best. Local, non-organic is often also better than overseas organic foods. Local foods are often produced with organic farming practices but they do to financial and philosophical reasons they apply for USDA oversight.
Local Harvest is an excellent website on local farms and farmers markets.
Also Also (not a typo, not this time) livestock raised on organic food are labeled organic. In other words, you will often see ‘organic beef ‘ or ‘organic milk’ at your local market because those animals were fed organic grains and corn. Organic animal products are NOT necessarily good for you just because it’s organic. Cow’s suppose to eat grass, not grains.
Only animal products that are grass-fed and organic are good for you as long it’s cooked in low temperature (not grilled or charred) .
How about the cost factor of eating organically?
Don’t skimp on good food. Ever. Your job is to protect yourself and your family and consuming quality food is a big part of that mission. But I get it. Sometimes things get a little tight. Here’s what you do:
Buy and eat the dirty dozen organically. They include:
• Sweet Bell Peppers
• Grapes (Imported)
Eat all other fruits and are lower in pesticides and DO NOT need to be organic. Lastly, frozen organic fruits and vegetables are an excellent choice and often an inexpensive option. I buy mine from bulk retail stores like Costco and BJ’s. But again, eat local first if you can, even if you have to spend a couple of extra bucks.
Bara?ski M1, Srednicka-Tober D1, et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. Br J Nutr. 2014 Jun 26:1-18.