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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wait, Should We Be Eating Organic Food or Not?

Posted By on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Does the organic seal automatically make them worth $3.99 a pound? - IMAGE VIA
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  • Does the organic seal automatically make them worth $3.99 a pound?

Researchers at Stanford University published a study earlier this week that knocked proponents of organic food on their collective ear. Turns out that organic food, while far more expensive than conventionally-produced food, isn't any healthier.

But now that the foodies have had a chance to read the Stanford study, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, they've started to squawk that the study itself was flawed and we should all be eating organic all the time, dammit!

So what to do? Do we remain in debt to Whole Foods for the rest of our lives, or can we venture out into the brave new world of pesticides?

A team of Stanford researchers spent four years poring over 240 scientific studies. 223 of the studies were devoted to contaminant levels in food, while the remaining 17 examined the effects of said food on humans. Though only three of the studies concerned what the scientists called "clinical outcomes," there appeared to be no significant health differences between people who ate organic food and people who didn't.

Two studies reported significantly lower urinary pesticide levels among children consuming organic versus conventional diets, but studies of biomarker and nutrient levels in serum, urine, breast milk, and semen in adults did not identify clinically meaningful differences.

The researchers found only a few other major variables. Non-organic food contains higher levels of phosphorus, but not enough to be "clinically significant." Organic milk contains many more omega-3 fatty acids. And although there is pesticide residue in non-organic foods -- as organic proponents have been telling us for years -- they're way below the maximum levels dictated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Which leads to one logical conclusion: We've been had.

Unless, of course, the Stanford research is crap.

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