Organic Vs. Conventional

Sep 10, 2012 | Nutrition

A study came out recently comparing organic foods to current conventional foods. The media has chosen to put the focus on the findings that both had similar levels of nutrients found in the tested food. While this is an important finding in the comparison of the two, there were other findings in the study as well as other reasons for choosing organic over conventional.

The study also found that organic produce had 30% less pesticide residue than the conventional produce. While most media reports glanced over this information, if they even mentioned it, it is an important finding. Pesticide is poison. While it may not have as potent an impact on you as the insects it was meant for it will still work the same way in your body. Primarily this is by inhibiting the neural impulse sent to the muscle to create a contraction. For smaller pests this pretty much immediately results in the heart stopping or the lungs no longer functioning. For animals the size of humans the impact is less immediate but still hazardous, and can lead to many health issues including cancer. Your body in its wisdom works to detoxify itself and get the poison out. This process takes energy and nutrients, therefore wasting a good majority of the nutrients found in the food you just ate instead of being able to go towards giving you more energy.

The study additionally found that organic chicken and pork was 33% less likely to have antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. This is an important concept as well since more and more hospitals are being faced with patients with these types of bacterial infections that take more intense treatment and recovery time usually including an extended hospital stay.  Other studies have also found the organic and free range animal products have better levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for your cholesterol.

I have some other food for thought on this topic: the majority of your conventionally raised foods are either themselves Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or are a part of their diet. A GMO is a life form whose DNA has been changed in a laboratory to become something similar to the original but genetically different. These modifications are typically to be resistant to pesticides or herbicides, but more are being developed to produce either their own pesticides or to cause upset to the insect feeding on it. The primary concern with GMO products is that they were introduced into the market without testing how prolonged consumption would affect someone. So we literally don’t know the consequences of this yet. Primarily GMOs are plant products, but these grains and soy beans are fed to conventional livestock. To be deemed USDA organic, no GMOs are in the product. However, research is currently being done on GMO fish species.

In addition to the previous concerns of GMOs, you should also know and understand that these organisms are patented and under direct control of the company owning the patent. Farmers are not allowed to keep the seed from their crops to plant the next year. They have to turn it in to the owning company just to have to buy it back from them the next year. Also farmers are at risk of being sued for patent infringement if their nonGMO crop gets cross pollinated with a GMO crop. This is yet another reason I support organic foods. It’s the only way to know that I am actually supporting the farmer growing it rather than a big business that owns the patent. What you support and what you put into your body is your own decision to make.