As many of you already know, organic foods are all the rage these days. Companies tout their organic products as being nutritionally superior and even safer than inorganic foods in order to gain the business of health conscious consumers. Consequentially, healthful foods have become a trend and people end up feeling pressured by their friends and by clever marketing to sometimes purchase expensive products; all this for the sake of being able to say they live a responsible lifestyle. After carefully examining product labels and emptying their wallets, consumers are left wondering if they had really made the right choice.
To get everyone caught up, I will explain what organic food really is, opposed to how it is sometimes perceived. The common portrayal organic food tends to have is that anything organic is healthier and more nutritious, but there are actually guidelines organic food companies must abide by in order to sell to us. These general guidelines have to do with how the foods were created, raised, and then prepared for our consumption.
- NOT genetically modified
- NO traditional chemical pesticides
- NOT exposed to radiation
- NOT fertilized with sewage sludge
- Industrial solvents are NOT used
- NO chemical additives (preservatives)
- NOT injected with hormones
So first we will begin with the idea that organic food is supposed to be more nutritionally dense. In 2012, what is claimed to be the most comprehensive study to date on organic foods was conducted at Stanford University.
CLICK HERE to read about organic foods vs conventional alternatives.
In the study, researchers analyzed thousands of papers and identified the most relevant 237 documents to use. After comparing the findings of these documents they reached the conclusion that the only nutritional advantage to organic foods was that they contained a significantly higher amount of phosphorus than their inorganic counterparts. However, since most people do not suffer from a phosphorus deficiency, this cannot really be seen as a life changing benefit. Still, we need to address whether these foods are safer than those which traditional pesticide methods have been used.
Although it may not seem like it at first glance, safety has a lot to do with how nutritious food is. Please consider the definition of nutritious and efficient as follows:
nutritious– nourishing; efficient as food.
efficient– (especially of a system or machine) achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.
Therefore, if a food isn’t safe for us and can potentially cause us a significant amount of bodily harm, it can’t really be considered as nutritious. After all, if you compare two apples in which one has more vitamin C than the other but also contains toxic substances that will cause you kidney failure, the other apple with less vitamin C ends up being more nutritious. This is because the apple with more vitamin c ends up causing a negative effect/waste on our bodies, which isn’t very efficient. So are inorganic foods less nutritious because a lack of safety?
To figure this out, we can take into account the welfare of those directly dealing with pesticides as a job.
CLICK HERE to read about pesticide illness.
Now we have to wonder how this translates to what we end up buying at the grocery store when we don’t see that reassuring organic label.
At the end of the day, it is up to us to do our own research. It can be pretty overwhelming since there is so much information out there on this topic and it could take a lifetime of dedicated research to even get close to a conclusion.
My take away is that I have no problem with companies advertising organic products as better as long as their particular products aren’t harmful to the public and follow the required categorical guidelines. I would love to know what you guys think about the organic foods industry, so please let me know!
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