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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.

Many people buy organic food, hoping to feel healthier and potentially have a positive impact on the environment.

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B1 US organic organic food percent environment conventional label

Is Organic Food Worse For You?

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    Kiara posted on 2016/10/30
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