The organic food debate

There was recently an article in the news with the astonishing information that organic food is no more nutritious than other food. Sorry, did I say ‘astonishing’? I meant predictable. Come on, how is that news? Did anyone really buy organic food because they thought it was more nutritious? Then again, since even a senior research affiliate at Stanford was “absolutely surprised” that organic foods wasn’t more nutritious, perhaps it does qualify as news…

So, why do we spend extra money on buying organic food? I’m sure that, like me, you have many other things on which you could happily spend that extra money. The whole point of organic food is that it’s more environmentally sustainable. Organic food is about how the soil is managed, and exposure to pesticides.

The headlines are about a Stanford University meta-analysis, which asked if there is evidence of a clinically significant impact or improvement in
health. What they found was that organic food has less pesticide residue, higher levels of anti-oxidants, and fewer antibiotic-resistant microbes in organic meat. So, the nutritional value might not be higher, but these other things are also pretty important to me.

When it comes to buying organic food, everyone has to make up their own mind (except perhaps my husband, who has his mind made up for him…). But it would help to ask the right questions before making up one’s mind. Perhaps someone can explain that to the esteemed Stanford University team?!

Photo credit: Tomatoes, The Rock Star Of Vegetables

If you want to read more about the arguments for and against organic food, there’s a great article on Grist.

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