ï¿¼Itâs the first day of spring, which means something important: summer will be here before you know it! And if thatâs where your mind is, you might be thinking about fresh food, better nutrition, and improved health compared to where you are today. If thatâs the case, I have something else important to tell you…and itâs about organic food, or organic produce in particular.
“Organic Produce:” Donât Be Fooled by the Name
When we think of âhealth food,â itâs very easy to think âorganic.â The two terms have become nearly synonymous over the years, and thereâs been plenty of material promoting such an idea. Organically farmed produce is believed to be healthier and more ethical than conventionally farmed foods because of fewer pesticides, lower greenhouse-gas emissions, higher biodiversity, better soil quality, greater transparency, and better working conditions for farmers.
Study Finds Organic Food Isnât Healthier
However, a recent paper written by University of British Columbia researchers is challenging the idea that organic produce is the âHoly Grail of Healthâ that many are convinced it is. While conceding that itâs better for soil, biodiversity, and perhaps working conditions, the paper reports that thereâs little evidence organic produce is healthier.
Organic Food Is Worse for the Environment?
Furthermore, due to lower crop yields, organic farms actually produce more greenhouse-gas emissions per unit area of land than conventional farms, according to lead author Verena Seufert. Citing the finding that organic farms produce 19% to 25% less food per unit area of land, Seufert notes that this also results in pricier food. This impacts who has access to it.
Organic vs. Conventional Foods: Is There a Difference At All?
Seufert also notes that itâs uncertain whether the minute nutritional differences between organic and conventional produce have any significant impact on health. And while pesticides may seem scary, there is actually no definitive scientific data on their health impacts on consumers. Sure, spraying a highly concentrated pesticide down your throat may make you ill, but experiencing any side effects from biting into an apple is highly unlikely. This is especially true if you take the time to wash it off in cold water for about 30 seconds before eating it.
If youâve got a limited budget for groceries and canât afford organic, donât worry: youâre not putting your health at significant risk. In fact, if this latest information is correct, you may even be doing the world a bit of a favor by skipping organic foods.
Sources for Todayâs Article:
Seufert, V., Ramankutty, N., and Meyerhofer, T., âWhat is this thing called organic? â How organic farming is codified in regulations,â Food Policy; 68: 10-20; doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2016.12.009.
Hui, A., âOrganic food ânot automatically better,â study finds,â The Globe and Mail, March 10, 2017; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/organic-food-not-automatically-better-study-finds/article34266772/, last accessed March 14, 2017.