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Healthy LivingOrganic

So, is Organic Really Better for You or Not?

September 4, 2012 | Amy VanHaren

How much better is organic for you?

Unraveling the science in the latest study on organic

There’s more to the story.
A recent report from Stanford University about the nutritional benefits of organic is getting its fair share of attention right now. And the media’s take on the report isn’t quite showing the full picture. Headlines about organic not being worth it have overshadowed some really exciting scientific findings – many of which organic consumers like you knew all along.

What the report really says.
The Stanford report is essentially an analysis of other scientists’ studies about organic production. It covers a broad range of work and makes some pretty sweeping conclusions. Because of this, it sometimes glosses over important findings. But, it also highlights scientific studies that have in fact started to show additional nutritional benefits in organic. More work needs to be done to create the complete story, but these are promising beginnings, including:

• Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in organic milk and chicken
• Lower risk for contamination with antibiotic resistant bacteria in organic pork and poultry
• Less exposure to pesticides in your diet with organically grown foods

What the report doesn’t talk about are studies like the ones now showing that that increased exposure to certain types of pesticides during pregnancy increases babies’ risk for autism, ADHD, asthma and lower IQ*.

All of these facts together are certainly important to us as we decide what to feed our families every day.

We really need more studies.

We've only just begun to learn about the benefits of organic - the science and ways to study these benefits are still in their infancy - so don't write anything off yet. The conclusion of this report should have been that there just isn’t enough good science about organic yet to shape any kind of hard and fast opinions.

Organic is definitely still worth it.
Scientific studies about scientific studies aside, we all know that there are way more reasons than nutrition alone to choose organic, and that those reasons are worth the peace of mind we get when we make organic purchases.

• Organic is better for the environment prohibiting the use of persistent pesticides and genetically engineered crops – and focusing on sustainable land practices like crop rotation and composting
• Humane animal treatment is a cornerstone of organic production that does not allow the use of artificial growth hormones or antibiotics to increase growth or production
• Organic benefits family farmers and farm workers through fair pay and working environments that don’t involve the regular spraying of toxic pesticides
• Organic is a carefully regulated food production system with requirements above and beyond FDA standards

We hope you’ll join us in taking this latest report as another great opportunity to talk about why organic is - and will continue to be - important to you.

What to read more about it? Here are two great expert articles that take you deeper into the report:

Don't give up on organic, our experts urge - Consumer Reports

Devils in the Details: What Was Left Out of the Organic Study - Civil Eats


*Recent studies on the effects of pesticide exposure during pregnancy include:

Bouchard, M.E., et al., “Prenatal Exposure to OP Pesticides and IQ in 7-­‐Year Old Children,” Environmental Health Perspectives, online April 21, 2011

Crews et al., “Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of altered stress responses,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online May 21, 2012)

Engel, S.M., et al., “Prenatal Exposure to OPs, Paraoxonase 1, and Cognitive Development in Children,” Environmental Health Perspectives, online April 21, 2011

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