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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Organic Isn’t Just About Vitamins

Posted By on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 4:08 PM

People are still debating the results of a newly released Stanford University study, which concluded that there is little evidence that organic meat and produce are more nutritious than conventionally grown food.
Here’s the abstract of the study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
But as many observers continue to point out, nutrition as measured in vitamin density isn’t the only, or even the best, reason to eat organic. For some of us, organic is about health broadly defined, which includes the well-being of the environment we live in.
Here’s a column I wrote recently about the work of genius University of Pittsburgh researcher Rick Relyea, who’s spent years studying the health effects that even seemingly minute amounts of pesticides can have on aquatic life.
The study detailed in the column found that exposure to Roundup, the world’s most commonly used pesticide, can actually cause tadpoles to change shape. As fellow vertebrates, that’s something we ought to be concerned about promoting. And of course, one reason conventional food is “cheaper” at the grocery is because the price doesn’t have to cover the damage pesticides and industrial farming practices do to the environment.
Meanwhile, as advocacy organizations like the Environmental Working Group have long stressed, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, organic or not, is better for you than the typical American diet of starches and processed foods. But EWG also argues that pesticide exposure via one’s produce is nothing to sneeze at.
As even the Stanford researchers concludes, “Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

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