There has been a lot of debate recently over the effects of eating organic food. Is it really all that much better for you? Why is it so expensive? Should I even bother? For many, the sudden wave of organic options seems like a passing fad. But to others, organic foods are a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle! Which leaves us wondering about the difference between organic and conventional foods.
Is eating organic really healthier?
The Washington Post published an article last year asking exactly that. Their article was titled, “Is organic better for your health?” but, surprisingly, it yielded very few conclusions. The article would lead you to believe that the main difference between organic food and conventional food is organic farming’s positive environmental impact. The cultivation of organic foods are much kinder to mother nature because organic farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides. Therefore, farmers have to come up with different, more environmentally conscious ways to grow foods. This leads to slightly higher prices, but, according to the USDA…
“These methods integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.”
What does this mean for you and me? The amount of pesticides in conventional groceries are low enough that the government has deemed them safe for consumption. But do we know enough about the effects of pesticides on the human body to be sure of this? One family in Sweden family put themselves to the test to find out!
Typically, their entire family eats conventionally grown groceries, mainly because organic food is more expensive (especially for a family of 5).
The Swedish Enviroment Research Institute [sic], also known as the IVL, had them eat nothing but organic food for two weeks, testing their urine both before and after for pesticides. The results were shocking!
Each family member’s urine was chock-full of pesticides at the beginning of the study. However, after the experiment was over, these levels were severely reduced. The entire family was happy with the whole process, the mother saying that, since she has become aware of the amount of chemicals that left her children, she doesn’t want those chemicals back. The hope for this study was to show everyday people how easily eating organic could help them. We think it’s working.
Although we don’t know the effect of these pesticides on the human body, Jörgen Magner of the IVL points out that “chemicals can be much more harmful when combined together.” The experiment concluded that “choosing organic foods not only reduces the levels of a number of pesticides that we are exposed to through what we eat, but also reduces the risk of a long-term impact and combination effects.”
In short, the jury is still out as to what the chemicals found in conventional foods do, but by eating organic foods, we reduce the risk of finding out that they do something bad to us. Organic foods might not be significantly more nutritious, but they are worth the money if you care about “promoting ecological balance.” Do you really want to be eating pesticides? Or are you OK with sticking around until we find out what they do to our bodies?
How about you?
Do you buy organic?