Well, according to the most recent news off the block from Stanford, apparently not much. This summary of the research, from a NY Times blog, explains,
"A new study by Stanford researchers has added fuel to a debate about the differences between organic and conventionally grown foods. The Stanford report, an analysis of 237 studies of organic produce, meats and dairy foods, concluded that organic foods are no more nutritious than their conventional counterparts."When I first heard the report, I initially thought, "Okay, well then I guess I shouldn't feel so bad when I do eat conventional produce, which is probably 40-50% of the time" (based on what I buy according to EWG's Dirty Dozen list). But the more I got to thinking about it, the more irked I was. I don't believe the study was funded by outside sources, so hopefully there are no conflicts of interest, but here is why buying organic, when available and possible, is worth your while:
- There's no "safe level" of pesticides for our bodies, regardless of what the FDA says. Yes, our bodies were created in an amazing way to weed out nasty things and release toxins, but the environment, processed foods, needless drugs and antibiotics often take their toll on our bodies, making it harder and harder for organs such as our livers to do their jobs. Choosing organic means one less toxic thing we put into our bodies and one less thing our bodies have to wrestle with, and many have reported whether it's anecdotal or scientifically documented, improvements in health upon switching to organic.
- Choosing organic means you're not supporting GMO or genetically modified foods. These are foods, which as the name suggests, are genetically changed so that the foods are bigger, different colors, or so that apples won't turn brown when cut open. GMO is a really hot topic right now, and if you want to learn more about it, see here: Millions Against Monsanto
- Choosing organic can often mean you're supporting a smaller-scale family farm or at least a farm committed to not contributing to the toxic effect we all feel from pesticides and nasty chemicals in our land, water, and food. I'm not a farmer, but the fewer chemicals we have around us, the better.
- Pesticides are connected to ADHD and other diseases. It is especially important for a pregnant or nursing mother to remove as many pesticides from her diet and choose organic when she can. Occasionally, I feel silly for trying to ensure that most if not all of Gabe and Mia's fruits & veggies are organic (again, according to EWG list), but when I realize all the other things they're up against in this world, it's just one other protection I can offer.
There are surely more reasons than just these four, but they are the first that came to mind.
For now, I'm going to continue to buy organic when I can, based on availability and finances. It might not always be possible, and the Dirty Dozen list changes yearly, so things will always be in flux, but I don't think this new Stanford finding will change much of what I do.
What about you? Do you buy organic? Conventional? How has this new Stanford report affected your thinking about buying organic?