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Organic Foods: Safer & Nutritious? | Organiq

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By Author: ORGANIC FOOD
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The health benefits of organic foods are unclear.
Purpose:
To review evidence comparing the health effects of organic and conventional foods.
Study Selection:
English-language reports of comparisons of organically and conventionally grown food or of populations consuming these foods.
What does it mean for food to be organic?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines organic as crops that are produced on farms that have not used most synthetic pesticides herbicides or fertilizer for three years before harvesting the food. There needs to be a significant buffer zone to decrease contamination from adjacent farm lands. Farms also have to be free from any genetic engineering, ionizing radiation or sewage sludge (yuck). And as it relates to livestock, animals must be fed organic feed, live on organic land and be raised without routine antibiotics or hormones.
Free range doesn't mean organic; it just means animals weren't kept in such small enclosures. Also, the "natural" label on food means there's no artificial flavoring or color ingredients, but that doesn't mean it's organic or free of ...
... pesticides.
On average, organic foods cost 50% more than their conventionally produced counterparts. This is largely because farmers have to pay close attention to their cultivation practices. Pests, weeds and diseases must be managed by physical, mechanical and biological controls instead of pesticides. When it comes to meat and dairy products, animals that are not raised organic are often given growth hormones that increase milk production and steroids that help promote growth, yielding more meat. Increased meat and milk production means farmers don't have to charge as much because they have more to sell.
Overall, is it better to eat organic?
Organic diets we know lead to less pesticide and antibiotic exposure, but nutritionally, they are about the same. In addition, there's no evidence of clinically relevant differences between organic and conventional milk. There isn't a concrete study that proves organic foods lead to healthier children. But eating organic is an advantage since we know pesticides can lead to neurodevelopmental issues and are strongly associated with cancer.
Is organic food more nutritious than regular food?
Organic foods are not healthier, per se, in terms of nutrients. You are still getting the same benefits in conventionally grown foods as you are in organic foods.
Conclusion:
The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
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