Thursday, July 30, 2009

Organic food found to be no healthier

I saw this article about organic food being no healthier than ordinary food. It doesn't surprise me. It often felt to me like the whole "eating organic" thing is more about feeling in control, or perhaps superior to others than it is about health. What do you think?

57 Comments:

Blogger pdwalker said...

I think the whole "organic food" movement was about eating food that had not been sprayed with pesticides (e.g. poisons)

6:25 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger sykes.1 said...

Organic farming results in larger negative environmental impacts than does conventional farming, largely because the reduced yields of organic farms result in larger land requirements. Third world farming in largely organic, and it is hugely destructive of the environment.

6:39 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Obi-Wandreas, The Funky Viking said...

There are a few organic things we buy.

For example, the cornmeal in the organic section at Wegmans is the only medium grind we can find. It just plain tastes better than what we find in the baking aisle. We also buy Stonyfield Farms organic yogurt, because it's just yogurt and fruit without any sweeteners, or syrup or any of that crap.

There are many who do it as a way of life. We, however, just go for a few items that taste better. The fact that they are "organic" (which annoys me in general, since all food is organic, as opposed to, say, silicon based) plays little to no part in our decisions.

6:49 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger JP said...

I've also read of accounts where people got sick from organic food because they were contaminated by pests of some sort. So in some cases, organic can be worse.

7:17 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Debbie said...

I am annoyed (not difficult to do mind you) by the overuse of the label "organic". I do indulge in the occasional purchase of produce that is labeled organic but processed foods that are labeled "organic" don't seem to me to be any better for you. They are still highly processed. They just cost more and make you feel superior to the person buying the store brand.

7:20 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Bob Belvedere said...

I think this whole organic food movement came out of the Baby Boomish desire to 'return to nature' or 'go natural', which was part of their rebellion against the Establishment. This has, of course, evolved over time to where it is now one of the ways certain people can prove that they are 'right-thinking'--it is one of the badges of honor to be earned on the Left. The traditional means of earning honor are not open to them [serving in the military, etc] so they have developed alternatives [as humans always do]. And 'going organic', recycling, not using the AC, etc. have become the way for them to shore up [and one-up their fellow Boomers] their bona fides.

8:18 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

"I think the whole "organic food" movement was about eating food that had not been sprayed with pesticides"

Thats what it started out to be..actually not sprayed with chemicals, whether fertilizer or psticides, which is why there's a better chance of getting ecoli from organic foods that use manure as a fertilizer. There have been recent claims that organic food was more nutritious, which was obviously hogwash and part of the "frankenfood" scare tactics ofd the neo-luddites. Obvious to anyone who has studied horticulture, that is.

8:21 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

I go to Whole Foods on occasion because they have some interesting choices missing at other chains. And their fruit and veg typically rocks.

One time when I went, I noticed all the long faces. It was like shopping at the sad train in the movie Manhattan. My daughter and I counted the happy faces in 30 minutes of shopping and came up with four, but she and I counted for two.

Our question, if this is so good for you, why is everyone so glum? Please repeat the "experiment" at your local weed and feed.

Trey

8:24 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter B. said...

I believe tonight's episode of Penn & Teller's "Bulls***" (on Showtime) is about this very issue.

9:04 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger BobH said...

In the absence of good repeatable data about anything, including whether organic foods are healthier than ordinary foods, how is one supposed to make decisions? Feeling in control of your physical environment, whether you are or not, and feeling superior to others, when you're a member of a social species, are probably as good reasons as any.

9:15 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Thor's Dad said...

I shop at Whole Foods just to annoy the Liberal/Hippie crowd that make up its customer base. The parking lot is full of Priuses (or however you make that plural)which is a good indicator of the elitists who frequent its ailses. Just imagine the nausea they feel reading my Conservative oriented bumperstickers in close proximity to my Yale vanity plates. I park close to the store so they can't miss them. I often see them walk by - read - shake their heads - and turn green.

Plus WF does have the best produce in town or at least at a store that's convenient to me.

9:30 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Falze said...

Re: JP above - both of the big spinach recalls recently were traced to organic growers

2006, E. coli - 3 dead, hundreds ill - Natural Selection Foods "Supplier of packaged organic salads and produce to retailers"

2007, this time salmonella, but it was likely caught before sickening anyone - Metz Fresh - they packaged both regular and organic spinach and were a member of an organic growers group

-

"A University of Minnesota study published in the Journal of Food Protection in 2004 concluded that organic produce was six times more likely to be contaminated with E. coli."

-

As a bonus, it's much more expensive, though.

9:32 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Dave Cornutt said...

The organic food growers and marketers have done something smart, though. They're targeting a high-end customer that the big grocery stores haven't figured out how to reach. There's a Fresh Market here, and my unscientific survey has revealed that most of the customers don't care a whit about the quasi-moral aspects of the organic thing -- they just shop there because it's better quality stuff. They actually leave the tomatoes on the vine until they're ripe, instead of picking them three weeks early and gas-ripening them.

10:01 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger MJ said...

Organic food appeals to two groups. (1) Those who buy organic as a class marker. These commonly refer to environmental benefits or recite a fear of chemicals. (2) Those who buy organic because they taste better. You can nomally identify these because they only buy the subset of foods where organic makes a difference.

11:00 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

it`s about marketing. there is a perception by some that organic is somehow better.

i notice that the produce is generally smaller and less colourful than the regular fruit and veg.

i like trey`s observation about the sad faces though.

maybe the sadness is brought on by reading all the doom and gloom in the enviro publications.

my girlfriend many years ago worked in a health food store. they made natural(which has been re-badged organic.)peanut butter and all the grey people would shuffle in once a week to get thier stuff.

i was standing watching a little stringy-haired woman and her beady-eyed kids watching the peanut butter being extruded from the machine and i asked her a question.

"what is the largest consumer of goats milk" i asked.

she grunted something or other, and i said "baby goats".

she failed to see the humour.

my girlfriend made me leave the store......

i have to say that the organinc oats taste better, but think it has to do with the fact that it`s not cut with oat flour, and in the shop where i get it, it costs about the same as the other brands.

my ex only eats organic and doesn`t eat meat.

interestingly her meat issue was one of the simple fact that her father and uncle couldn`t effectively kill the goat one morning on the farm when she was a child, and she had to watch the poor thing run around with it`s throat half cut with two idiots chasing it with a knife.

i think that would put me off meat too.

i also think that vegitarian is latin for shitty hunter.

11:37 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Thor's Dad --

Priuii

11:43 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Sandeep said...

I am afraid you might not have read the said article carefully - it only makes a claim "on the basis of nutritional superiority.". But that is not the reason for which organic products claim to be healthy - they claim to be healthy on the basis of *absence of chemicals*, not "presence of nutrients".

11:44 AM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Falze said...

No, actually *you* have not read it carefully - the article claims: "Organic food has no nutritional or health benefits over ordinary food, according to a major study published Wednesday."

Again, that would be "or health benefits".

12:09 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

It's about feeling superior to othter. Since I am superior to others, I don't need to partake in the pretense of superiority.

The definition of "organic" goes to far in my experience. A farmer in my area grows tomatos organically just for the seeds. He then sells the seeds to California farmers in order for them to grow organic tomatos. The seeds have to be "organic" for the next generation of tomatos to be organic. A little far fetched to me.

A lot of organic stuff probably tastes better because it is fresher and processed differently. The best corn meal I can get if from the Cable Mill in Cades Cove of the Smokey Mountain National Park. I don't think the corn is organic but it is stone ground right there in a 100+ year old water powered mill. If you come at the right time, you can stand and watch them grind it.

12:20 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I'm so superior I don't even care if I spell "other" correctly.

12:20 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Thor's Dad said...

I do have one question - since supposedly the health benefit of organic is the lack of toxins from pesticides - has anyone actually studied this to find out what residual amounts of whatever toxins continue to reside in or on non-organic food stuffs? "Natural/organic" fertilizers and pesticide are not immune from transmitting such toxins.

Also can anyone verify for me that frozen veggies and fruits retain more of their nutrients than supposedly 'fresh' produce which is shipped from long distances and the onset of decay hastens the degeneration of said nutrients? I've heard this from various sources but I can't remember where. Sorry I'm a little off topic. But if we're talking maximum nutrition....

1:41 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Dr. Helen, et al.
RE: Going 'Organic'

Not sure about this report. For the same reason as (1) I'm suspicious of reports conducted by people/organizations with a vested interest and (2) personal experience.

For the latter....

....I'm pretty much organically oriented in my personal gardening efforts. And I have to admit that the herbs and veggies I grow taste better than most every-goram-thing I get a the local corporate grocery.

Can't explain the 'why', but it is, in my honestly held opinion, factual.

Maybe some people should try such thinks and give US their reports.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out.....]

3:03 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

I think that much of this is the chemical phobia that uninformed people have. In a post above, a person decries chemicals while praising nutrients. Which are after all, chemicals.

Trey

3:29 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Doom said...

Being a bit of a foodie, and having lived on the stuff a bit when with my last gal, I think the stuff is everything proponents say it isn't. They suggest it is healthier, better for the environment, makes for better farmers and farming practices, and such.

As some of your commenters have noted, it leads to larger farms yielding less product. It also causes nearby farms to use more pesticides (here in the states) due to contamination issues. And often, organic farmers are finally allowed to use just as bad or worse chemicals to control severe pests (which invade often due to trying to use nothing but extra crop as a "shield"). Beyond that, a professor (at Berkley no less) realized that most of the "residue" on normal crops will most likely be on "organic" crops as well. That residue is most likely a native aspect of most produce.

For my part, it is simple. I am in food for taste. If the organic produce and the non-organic produce cost the same or very close, I pick whichever is freshest. Freshness determines nutritive and taste values more than any other single variant. However, I lean toward non-organic, all else being equal. I believe organic farming, on any scale, is detrimental to the overall health of produce production in that it will retard truly good farming practices and, if implemented too widely, will leave us without good produce in the winter months (since it is quite often and by necessity locally grown, or more so). Oh, the other problem with organic, that I see, is that they often use seed that has not been tried in the mass market. The potential for allergic reaction is increased in the broader markets.

But usually, it is simply too expensive! And pshah on organic meat and milk. Have you looked at the ridicules prices on those? I'll stick to local non-organic.

There is a big thing, too, in that community, about being superior people for eating superior food. I see it, in the most part, as the new king's clothing. The notion is foolish. Farmer's markets are good enough, though I avoid organic there too, for price reasons and just for the principle of the snobbish thing too.

3:30 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: TMink, et al.
RE: I Think....

I think that much of this is the chemical phobia that uninformed people have. -- TMink

...NOT!

Why do I think such?

Well....

....in the FIRST PLACE, my observation that food I grow in my own garden tastes better than that provided by our dearly beloved corporate food-distribution entities.

....in the SECOND PLACE, something to do with some experiences during a stay at our rich Uncle Sam's 'spa', i.e., the US Army Ranger Course.

At that little detour, I discovered that the body recognizes VERY WELL what it needs and adjusts your senses to increase your ability to—setting aside your pc-prejudices—GET 'IT'.

Case in point.....

....I could NOT 'taste' salt UNTIL I poured enough of the packet onto my 'meal'—think C-Ration—to actually 'taste' it.

I do believe it took an entire packet....the amount of sweat pouring out of my body between meals....such as they were.

Case in Point #2:

Whenever I'm 'ill' of a certain form, I always crave fresh squeezed lime juice....in Tonic Water.

In the end....

....I've no 'aversion' to "chemicals". Rather, MY body knows what it needs. And it ain't always what is 'prescribed' by someone with an advanced 'degree'.

Hope that helps....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[A doctor's reputation is determined by the number of famous people who have died under his care.]

3:40 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: All
RE: Personal Testing

I challenge EVERYONE HERE to try raising their own herbs and veggies.

Compare them against what you get in the corporate stores for flavor and sustainability.

Let's see who actually 'wins'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out....but only for those who are willing to accept it.....]

3:43 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Chuck, the best food is stuff we grow or kill. We agree about that. But I stand by my statement that many people who prefer organic foods are afraid of chemicals.

I accept that you are not.

Sadly, I do not have a garden this year, but I envy you yours!

Trey

4:01 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Evan said...

Does this study include "organic" or grass-fed free-range meat and poultry?

Thoughts?

4:07 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Thor's Dad said...

I wonder if some of this 'taste issue' has to do with the fact that foods being shipped long distances aren't completely ripe when harvested. I have had organic and non-organic taste equally bad when this is the case. I'm not jumping on the buy local bandwagon but it does seem reasonable that when picked closer to home and when fairly ripe veggies and fruits do have a better flavor. Although my WF's was selling peaches from a local orchard which have been as hard as rocks for the last two days.

4:31 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Thor, I know shipping has something to do with more local fruit and veg. It is near impossible to buy a tomato that tastes better than cardboard but it is ridiculously easy to grow a bunch of them.

In that case, it is genetics and shipping. The commercial tomatoes are bred to ship well, so they are sturdy but lack taste. Try some heirloom tomatoes some time, they were bred for taste and are killer.

Trey

4:46 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger geekWithA.45 said...

Organic farming methods are generally less productive and more labor intensive than modern farming methods.

As a consequence, organic foods are more expensive.

Considering the law of supply and demand, organic foods would not be viable in the marketplace competing against modern farmed foods unless demand was artificially stimulated. The basic advertising method of stimulating demand is to convince people either of the superiority of the product, or the inferiority/danger of the competition. (Example: Edison's technically inferior DC electical system vs Tesla's AC system. Edison went around the country executing horses with AC electricity to convince the public of the dangers...)

If you take a look at organic foods advertising, you can see that they take both approaches, which are further enhanced and cross supported by "reference" materials.

The support of these "nonadvertising" sources of information serve the same purpose as the MSM's endorsement of Obama; creating a perceived environment of supporting legitimacy.

As we say around my house, "Remember, if the label says organic, it means something probably pooped on it." ;)

Objectively, we also note that organic foods are usually more blemished, store poorly, and spoil early, which was the original motivation for us to question its value.

5:16 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Michael Maier said...

I cannot bother to read so many goofy comments.

Eating organic isn't necessarily about anything. But I have less headaches, better skin and better digestive health by ridding my shelves of many common highly-processed foods.

Let me ask: how is the "organic buyers are bitter lib-tards" attitude any more constructive than the goofy liberal BS? It's hardly like most shoppers in Wal-Mart are beaming with grins. I know because I shop there too, as well as Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Fresh Market. The TJs crew and crowd are very friendly.

Some of us simply don't like the idea of so many chemicals being put in and on our food. (Not to mention the "frankenfoods". I'll trust God's plants, thanks. Man ain't nearly as smart as he loves to think.)

I cannot afford to eat only organic foods, but I probably would if I could. I would also grow much more of my own produce if I had more usable sun-lit areas in my yard simply because my tomatoes kick the arse of anything I've ever bought in a store.

Thinking that the cumulative effects of pesticides and the such are negligible is just head-in-the-sand silly.

But I would actually advise against you nay-sayers even trying those places. You might learn how much better food tastes without HFCS, highly-processed salt and sugar and partially-hydrogenated oils. Then you'll get testy when you have to spend more on better food and be even more bitter than you are now.

Big Ag is big business. They cut corners to maximize profits just like anyone else. And they sure don't care about your failing health due to their chemical-laden products.

6:34 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Pete the Streak said...

MM: Unfortunately for me, I bothered to read yours.

8:28 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

"Some of us simply don't like the idea of so many chemicals being put in and on our food."

See what I mean Chuck?

Trey

9:14 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger Indigo Red said...

I am anything but an organic nut (hahaha, I kill me!!!). However, the literature review in question relied too heavily on pre-2000 studies and many of those were from the 1950s. Those pre-2000 studies were conducted with less technologically sensitive equipment and a profound lack of nutritional understanding. Many of the nutrients we take for granted today were unknown before, oh say, 1980.

An article critical of the review is at http://tinyurl.com/nmr3se . The debate is hardly over. And personally nothing produced by non-organic means compares with veges fresh from an organic garden. I don't really care whether or not they're better for me. They taste better.

11:55 PM, July 30, 2009  
Blogger ballyfager said...

Organic foods are a crock of shit.

Anthropogenic global warming is a crock of shit.

Wegman's puts Whole Foods in the corner.

There, that's enough opinions for one morning.

6:32 AM, July 31, 2009  
Blogger Miles said...

What's was the criteria used to determine "more healthy?" I think someone else said this before, but doesn't organic food simply mean "chemical free?" So one could get e coli. That can be treated. How about a nice dose of cancer after years of exposure to chemicals?

8:12 AM, July 31, 2009  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

Not to mention the "frankenfoods". I'll trust God's plants, thanks. Man ain't nearly as smart as he loves to think.)

Then you better quit eating vegetables and fruits altogether as they have been genetically manipulated away from "Gods plants" for thousands of years. "Frankenfood" is a junk science scare tactic cloaked in a superiority complex.

8:24 AM, July 31, 2009  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

I wonder if some of this 'taste issue' has to do with the fact that foods being shipped long distances aren't completely ripe when harvested.

It has everything to do with it.

8:42 AM, July 31, 2009  
Blogger Dave Cornutt said...

Trey, to add to what you said: Heirloom tomatoes are difficult for existing machinery to pick. They usually have to be picked by hand. Those crimson rocks that are passed off as tomatoes are bred to be hard because they don't get crushed by the machinery.

And as far as "organic": Yes, I've grown tomatoes too. And yes, they absolutely taste better than anything in the store. And you know what? When the worms started to get after then in July, I darn well did spray them with carboryl.

10:33 AM, July 31, 2009  
Blogger Michael Maier said...

"Then you better quit eating vegetables and fruits altogether as they have been genetically manipulated away from "Gods plants" for thousands of years. "Frankenfood" is a junk science scare tactic cloaked in a superiority complex."

Spare me. Cross-breeding is hardly the same.

4:30 PM, July 31, 2009  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

But I would actually advise against you nay-sayers even trying those places. You might learn how much better food tastes without HFCS, highly-processed salt and sugar and partially-hydrogenated oils. Then you'll get testy when you have to spend more on better food and be even more bitter than you are now.

This attitude of superiority goes hand in hand with the organic types. They think because folks distrust the hype surrounding organic foods that they don't prefer eating fresh foods at all.

Note to holier than thou neo-hippy granola types: Highly processed foods ARE NOT what we are talking about here. This is about organic vs non organic fresh fruits and vegetables. ANY vine ripened tomato is going to taste much better than a fruit picked 3 weeks earlier and shipped hundreds of miles to the market. Which is one of the few things that organic foods can usually tout; being locally produced thus enabling longer ripening times on the plant.

4:31 PM, July 31, 2009  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

Actually cross breeding is very much the same; your are mixing the genetics of the plants in order to produce a variant that contains what the breeder wants, which is often what will make money on the market. Gene splicing is more precise than the hit and miss with cross breeding. The science does not support your paranoid position.

4:34 PM, July 31, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Dave, I did not know that. Thanks for the info.

And I was the same with my heirlooms, those damn bugs were not getting my treasure! Better living through chemicals!

Trey

7:51 PM, July 31, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: geekWithA.45
RE: Effectiveness

Organic farming methods are generally less productive and more labor intensive than modern farming methods. -- geekWithA.45

That may well be true, in certain aspects. However, as I stated earlier, the food I grow myself seems to taste better than the 'stuff' I get from the local franchise grocery.

What's my 'point'?

Quality!

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Strong tastes develop strong character.]

9:06 PM, July 31, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: TMink
RE: Actually....

"Some of us simply don't like the idea of so many chemicals being put in and on our food."

See what I mean Chuck?
-- TMink

Not too great a fan of that myself.

One has to be careful these days. Especially with the sorts of 'chemicals' doctors want to put into you.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[If laughter is the best medicine, shouldn't we be regulating it?]

9:11 PM, July 31, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Now Chuck, make up your mind man! You tell me you are not afraid of chemicals, then you second someone who is. Pick a side and stay there for awhile. 8)

Trey

12:19 AM, August 01, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: TMink
RE: Well.....

=Now Chuck, make up your mind man! You tell me you are not afraid of chemicals, then you second someone who is. -- TMink

....I guess it has to do with something out of Ecclesiastes....

For everything, there is a Season.

After all, salt is a chemical. Compost is a mess of chemicals.

I put salt on my food. But I, generally, don't put compost on it.

Same applies to bug spray. There's a time and place for it. Generally....not on food in the kitchen.

I'll add an acid to soil that is too alkaline for growing tasty tomatoes. Otherwise, they tend to be too sweet instead of the perky nature I prefer.

What I've noticed about 'chemicals'—especially for medicine—is that the more complicated they get, i.e., man-made varieties, the more likely they are to do you harm.

Later,

Chuck(le)
[Barium: what you do with dead chemists.]

3:10 AM, August 01, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Chuck, I completely agree with you about more complex chemicals being more suspect. And we agree about prefering to limit the use of pesticides in our gardens.

What were we disagreeing about anyway????

Take care bro.
Trey

8:25 AM, August 01, 2009  
Blogger Kevin M said...

The Organic Food religion is just one more way for hippies to manifest their contempt for agribusiness and the myth of bovine growth hormone everywhere you turn your head. It's a form of global warming hysteria that you can put into your mouth.

Look at the explosion of "green" products. All the hippies can now go shopping and "feel good" about buying "green" stuff. Imagine that. People actually feel that they are doing the planet a kindness by...SHOPPING!

Hippies: Tunneling at rocket speed to the core of Planet Stupid.

8:35 AM, August 02, 2009  
Blogger CubicZirconiaJim said...

too many humans choking out other life forms. Monsanto, with the supreme's blessing, 'patenting' foods that are staples worldwide. Farmers are converted to sharecroppers who must toe the Monsanto line. Not allowed to save seeds. It's the Microsoft of Farming. Industrial food production is poison and, yes, organic/local is more expensive on some level. So is heart disease and diabetes. You decide. Latte drinking liberals have not cornered the market on smugness by any stretch of the imagination.

10:43 PM, August 04, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

For her Ph.D., my daughter is studying bio chemistry, bio engineering, bio technology. Plants, not animals. She is "modifying" grains and other edibles to increase yield, nutritional content and other things and plant types.

"Organically" grown foods cannot support the amount of people already on the planet. There is not enough arable land. Never mind tomorrow. It's not "better" food, does not contain more nutrition. On average, it's more expensive, and smaller (in size, crop yield) I am not an avid gardener. But I prefer miracle grow over making compost.

When the English first hit Jamestown, the corn the Indi....er....native Americans were growing was the size of the little baby corn you find at salad bars.

10:57 PM, August 09, 2009  
Blogger SavvyD said...

I don't like eating pesticides much. I'd rather wash bugs away. Thanks!

The real questions:
Who funded the study?
What were their methods?

3:39 AM, August 10, 2009  
Blogger Wayne said...

Chuck Pelto - There are a few simple reasons foods grown by your own hand is more tasty than foods grown by a commercial farm.

1) Foods grown on commercial farms are picked less than ripe and treated to look ripe, so they last longer on the shelves in the store.

2) Foods grown by farmers are carefully fed and watered for maximum yield. This has a side effect of diluting the natural flavors. This is because, when food and water are scarce, the plant packs its nutrients into the smaller yield it produces. I once grew Jalapenos in a very hot and dry summer, and they turned out as hot as the cayennes I could buy at the store. Flavors are intensified the same way if you make the plant struggle somewhat instead of making it too easy.

4:42 PM, August 10, 2009  
Blogger David V.S. said...

A number of "estrogenic pesticides" approved for non-organic produce have caused gender-bending in male laboratory animals.

Thus pediatricians recommend male infants and toddlers (0 to 2 years old) be given organic produce when it is available. Perhaps this advice will recede when those pesticides have been in use long enough for any long-term effects to be seen.

Jars of baby food are ridiculously expensive. Organic produce and an infant's food mill is less expensive.

Otherwise the other gist of prior commentators is correct. (Dr. Helen, you do search PubMed, right?)

(a) if you are female or older than two, conventional produce is as safe to eat

(b) organic farming is kinder to the environment but needs more land per product -- we may never know which effect is overall dominant for the U.S., and the answer probably varies by region

(c) it is much more sensible to funnel effort and finances into supporting local farmers than brand name organics

5:58 PM, August 10, 2009  
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1:40 AM, August 11, 2009  
Blogger David V.S. said...

If you search PubMed, you find one scientifically proven benefit for organic foods.

A few of the pesticides allowed in traditional farming are "estrogen-like" and have caused enough gender-bending in other animals to justify avoiding exposing boys younger than 2 years old to them.

But otherwise (if you are female or older than 2) the above comments are correct: organic farming has not been proven more nutritious or less damaging.

12:18 AM, August 13, 2009  

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