The big “news” as we all returned to work and school last week after the long Labor Day weekend was that “organic” foods might be no better for us than conventionally grown foods. Here’s a link to just one of those stories from the New York Times.
Excuse me? Are these folks on drugs?! (Well, perhaps, more drugs, specifically antibiotics, if they’re not eating organically grown meats and dairy).
The study was done by Stanford researchers who wanted to avoid the appearance of all bias so they did not take any money from any source. Rather what they did was study other studies. Right there I have a problem with that. I can’t know the exact methodology of their work, but of course they didn’t replicate the studies–they just read and analyzed them. That’s a problem for me.
And from that analysis, they decided that there was no real benefit to healthy adults in eating organically grown fruits and vegetables or organically raised meats and dairy. Children, who accumulate higher levels of pesticides in their bodies, might benefit from eating organically because they do not already have a pesticide load in their bodies.
So because the adults are already poisoned, don’t bother–that’s the message? Even if I’ve already accumulated a fairly high dose of pesticides over my lifetime from stuff that’s happened “before we knew better” does that mean I should continue to do it?
We’ve known for years that smoking is toxic and that the accumulated effects of smoking are bad. I was shut up in a car with 2 parents who smoked for all of my formative years. So I’m doomed and might as well smoke myself, right? That seems to me to be the logic of this study–that because I’m already poisoned, there’s no point in trying to save myself now.
This flies in the face of all the health news out there! We all know that quitting smoking, whenever someone does it, is better than not quitting. It is better to begin an exercise program, no matter how sedentary one has been during one’s life, than never to exercise at all (provided one’s doctor agrees with that assessment). It is better to drink in moderation–or in some studies, not to drink at all if one has a specified set of health issues–than to over-indulge. But if one is a drinker, quitting is better than continuing to overindulge for a lifetime.
So why NOT eat organic food? There appear to be no downsides and no health risks–at least none that don’t exist with conventionally grown food as well. The only possible risk is to the wallet, and organic food is becoming more affordable every day, particularly if you grow some of it yourself.
The greatest danger in a “study” like this is that it will set the thinking back monumentally–and we cannot afford that!