B1 Intermediate US 18910 Folder Collection
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Many people buy organic food, hoping to feel healthier and potentially have a positive impact on the environment.
But our organic food's even better for you and the environment in the first place?
For plans, the term organic basically means something grown without the use of synthetic fertilizer or pesticides.
But this is a little bit misleading.
You see consumers buy organic to avoid pesticides all together.
But the truth is organic farmers can still use pesticides or fungicides to prevent insects from destroying their crops.
They just can't be synthetically made.
There are all over twenty chemicals approved for organic used in the US derived from natural sources like plants.
But studies have shown that some natural pesticides are actually a more serious health and environment risk than man-made ones.
Not to say they are all bad, but simply that "Natural" doesn't mean always better for you or the environment.
On top of this, not all organic foods are even completely organic.
If a label simply says "organic", it only has to contain 95 percent organic ingredients.
The label "made with organic ingredients" on items like bread may only contain 70 percent,
while "containing organic ingredients" may only have 50 percent.
Only when a label says "100 percent organic" does it contain purely organic ingredients.
And for what is worth, the term "free range" only also only requires evidences to the access to the outdoors for a minimum of 5 minutes per day.
Interestingly, a meta-analysis conducts in 2012 found that organic crop yields are 25 percent lower on average than conventional ones,
though differences vary greatly between types of crops.
For example, organic vegetable yields are typically 33 percent lower than conventional ones,
putting a greater strain on the natural environment as more farmland is required.
However, organic like legume yields are only 5 percent lower as they are more efficient at absorbing nitrogen from organic fertilizers.
Of course, many organic farming practices like crop rotations and mixed planting as opposed to using monoculture are better for the soil and environment.
But are they better for you?
After analyzing 237 studies, researchers concluded the organic food and veggies are no more nutritious than conventionally grown food.
However, long-term studies of purely organic diets are difficult as most people eat a mixture of food with non-organic ingredients.
Those on short-term organic diets do show higher levels of carotenoids, polyphenols,
Vitamin C and E, LDL cholesterol, antioxidant activity, immune system markers and even higher semen quality.
But the differences are clinically insignificant.
Children placed on organic diets for ten days have lower levels of organophosphates in their urine,
which in higher concentrations are associated with neurological problems,
but both levels or orders of magnitude lower than the amount needed to cause clinical harm.
And just because something is organic doesn't make it better.
A bag of organic chips, for example, is still deep fried, carbohydrates with very little nutritional value.
Most surprising is that organic food has higher incidence of being dangerous.
Though organic food accounts for only 1 percent of agricultural acreage or space,
they account for 7 percent of recalled food units in 2015.
For example, this year, several flavors of Clif Bars were recalled from stores due to organic sun flower kernels
that were potentially contaminated with listeria-
a bacterium which kills hundreds in the US each year.
Another study found E.coli in 10 percent of organic produce compared to 2 percent in conventional ones.
The truth is, eating organic food can be good for you and in some way better for the environment,
but it's not the be all and end all.
Production methods vary greatly for both organic and conventional foods,
from one farm to another, or from local farms to factory farms.
And it's likely a combination of methods that will lead to the greatest result for your health and the environment.
Organic and conventional food can co-exist and don't have to be at odds with one another.
Anyone who tells you with 100 percent certainty that one way is fully better than the other, is ignoring the science.
When it comes to your own health, it's really a combination of diet, exercise, various other lifestyles of choices, and of course, your genetics.
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Is Organic Food Worse For You?

18910 Folder Collection
Kiara published on November 12, 2016    Kiara translated    reviewed
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