The Benefits of Organic vs Conventional Food
The debate between organic and conventionally produced food continues, and a new infographic (below) produced by well.org gives more statistics to consider. The creators focused on the unhealthiest conventional foods, what meat looks like from both a grain-fed and a grass-fed cow, and the nutrient differences between organically and conventionally grown products.
Researchers have conducted many studies on whether organic foods are more nutritious than conventionally grown foods, and the results are varied, depending on what study you go by. This infographic states that they have one quarter more nutrients than nonorganic. One of the most well-known and frequently cited study, done by Stanford University scientists, looked at over forty years of data comparing the two types of food, and concluded that organic foods are no more nutritious nor more likely to be contaminated. However, critics of that research say organic is still superior, as it excludes antibiotics and artificial growth hormones, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and dyes, pesticides, and sewage sludge from being present.
An interesting thing to note is the three countries that eat the most organic foods. Per capita, they are Denmark, Switzerland and Austria. According to the CIA World Factbook, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria are all in the top 25 percent ranking of countries with the highest life expectancies, with all three ahead of the United States. In a 2012 study by Bloomberg, Switzerland ranked as the fourth healthiest country in the world. These could be coincidences, of course, but lend more credence to the benefits of buying organic.
Perhaps the most surprising section of the infographic is when it states what are the best foods to buy organic. Beef and milk make the list, as the controversy over antibiotics and artificial growth hormones like rBGH being added to them are well known. But did you realize that conventionally produced celery, popcorn and tomato sauce contain very high amounts of chemicals and pesticides? Or that, just as important as the quality of food you buy, is the type of cookware you prepare it with? The makers of the graphic recommend you buy “organic cookware,” meaning avoid plastic, aluminum, and Teflon “nonstick” coated cookware in the kitchen. Instead, sites like organicgardening.com say you can safely use cast iron, stainless steel, glass and stoneware cooking pots and pans for all your culinary needs.
It’s important to do your research when choosing whether or not to buy organic. There are many factors involved in choosing produce and meats, and different products have different risks and possible health benefits associated with buying it organic or conventionally grown.
by Sarah Shultz for Diets in Review