Is Organic Food A Scam Or A Real Health Benefit? |

Added August 3, 2009, Under: Nutrition


This week has seen a lot of media coverage on the recent reports saying that there is no added nutritional benefit from organic food.  According to a US News & World Report, a review of more than 150 studies has found there is no significant health benefit from eating organic food.

A new report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that British researchers comment that the nutrient levels in organic foods were the same as in foods grown conventionally including in vitamin C, calcium and iron.  The same was true for studies looking at meat, dairy and eggs.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine looked at all the evidence on nutrition and health benefits from the past 50 years.  Among the 55 of 162 studies that were included in the final analysis, there were a small number of differences in nutrition between organic and conventionally produced food but not large enough to be of any public health relevance, said study leader Dr. Alan Dangour.

It was only during the 20th century that synthetic chemicals were introduced to the food supply.  Before that, every food source would have been considered organic.  The modern organic food production today is a heavily regulated industry with most western countries including the US requiring special permits to market food as organic and these permits can even allow some chemicals and pesticides to be used so the standards for qualifying as “organic” can vary from place to place.

Those in favor of organic food say that potential contamination by pesticides used in conventionally farmed food should factor into the public’s decision about whether or not to eat organically.

An interesting slant on the organic question

One argument being put forward in debates is the water content of organic fruit and vegetables.  This can be as high as 50 to 60%.  How is the organic food buying public to know what the source of this water is.  It is highly unlikely to be organic.  But even if it is, it could come from streams and rivers that are polluted.  If it comes from a treated water source, then it would contain chemicals and would not be organic.

When times are difficult

Even if the food buying public would like to choose organic food over conventional food, the current global recession has meant a tightening of food budgets so that the choice of buying the more expensive organic food is for many no longer an option.  The massive growth rate of organic food since the 1990s is therefore likely to ease off or even decrease in 2009.  There are many reasons why people choose to eat organic and these include animal welfare and environmental concerns.

Many who now have to choose over being able to afford organic and free range will perhaps go for free range eggs and meat because of the more humane conditions that free range animals and poultry live under as opposed to their battery reared counterparts.

My personal choice

In my own case, I have a limited food budget but I will always buy free range eggs and chickens and organic milk. They taste better and it eases my conscience.   I will pay  out extra for organic fruit and vegetables. if unavailable, I buy as fresh as possible and carefully wash anything that is eaten with its skin such as apples, potatoes and carrots.  I am fortunate that we are able to grow most of our own fruit and vegetables and they are of course grown organically.

At the end of the day, if you can possibly grow some of your own fruit and vegetables, then that is the perfect answer.

It is fresh, it is instant and it tastes the best

Even if you do not have the space to grow fruit and vegetables, everyone can manage to grow fresh herbs.

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