I'm sure by now, everyone has heard of the Stanford Study... No? Kind-of? Unsure of what it means? Well, here's a recap and what it really means buying organic foods and my household.
Earlier this month, nutritionists and researchers at Stanford University released a study of other studies, if you will, that compared organic versus conventional food. The researchers sifted through thousands of papers and identified 240+ of the most relevant studies to analyze. Those included 17 studies (some of which were clinical trials) of populations consuming organic and conventional diets, and 223studies that compared either the nutrient levels or the bacterial, fungal or pesticide contamination of various products (fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, milk, poultry, & eggs) grown organically and conventionally. However, there were no long-term studies of health outcomes of people consuming organic versus conventionally produced food; the duration of the studies involving human subjects ranged from two days to two years. There has been no significant research on children or pregnant women.
“There isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you’re an adult and making a decision based solely on your health,” said Dena Bravata, MD, MS, senior affiliate with Stanford’s Center for Health Policy, and the senior author of a paper comparing the nutrition of organic and non-organic foods, published in the Sept. 4 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. A team led by Bravata, and Crystal Smith-Spangler, MD, MS, an instructor in the school’s Division of General Medical Disciplines and a physician-investigator at VA Palo Alto Health Care System, did the most comprehensive analysis to date of existing studies comparing organic and conventional foods. They did not find strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious or carry fewer health risks than conventional alternatives, though consumption of organic foods can reduce the risk of pesticide exposure.
To buy or not to buy:
If your budget allows, I say "yes, buy Organic!" And here are my 2 main reasons...
- There is no long term research or results on the effects of genetically modified foods (GMOs), pesticides, non-human hormones, animal antibiotics, or bacteria on the human body... So, what happens on year 3, or 10, or 40?
- What's the effect on children, babies, the elderly, pregnant women, or on people with pre-existing health conditions?
We all know that a strawberry is a strawberry, an apple is an apple, and a zucchini is a zucchini. An organic strawberry doesn't give anyone super powers, and has the same amount of vitamins & nutrients as it's non-organic counterpart. However, if organic foods limit your exposure to pesticides and non-human hormones/antibiotics, which humans are not supposed to consume anyway, then good! Organic food also forces you to consume truly conventional, natural food not made in some laboratory, like GMOs. Buying organic also reduces the amount of chemicals dumped and sprayed into the environment, bonus. We don't know why cancer, behavioral problems, and food allergies are on the rise... But buying organic does help. If your budget doesn't allow for the price of organic, then be smart with you and your family's food choices. Buy whole foods, clean produce throughly (with a wash or vinegar/water), limit artificial sweeteners and processed foods, know what's in your food (ingredients), and stay away from Genetically Modified Foods.