Engineer & Entertain

Ideas I grapple with

Archive for the category “Nutrition”

Organic food critic

A recent review of organic food studies found organic food is not more nutritious than conventionally grown food.  The review is performed by Crystal Smith-Spangler, M.D. at Stanford. It was funded by the school and not by any particular food or agricultural council.  Dr. Smith-Spangler performed the study because she is a practicing physician and received questions about organic foods.  It should be noted the review focuses on the nutritional benefit of organic farming and not the agricultural or ecological benefits.

Let me explain this review. No there’s too much, let me sum up.

  • Nutrient wise there is no difference between the organic and conventional foods.
  • Food contamination is no different either i.e. organic beef is just as likely to have E. coli as conventional beef.
  • On a short term assessment, eating organic foods does not affect asthma, eczema, or allergies.
  • There are lower levels of pesticides found in humans who consume organic foods. That said, neither level of pesticide neared the maximum limit.
  • Organic livestock is less likely to have bacteria resistant to 3 or more antibiotics.

Dr. Smith-Spangler’s analysis likely raises more hypotheses than it answers.  Another study should be performed to show long term effects of pesticides in humans.  It is possible the pesticides, organic or conventional, may reside in our body and cause horrible diseases.  It is also possible our amazing bodies excrete the pesticides as quickly as they come in without any detrimental effects.  This is why we have science.  For additional explanation and rational discourse consult Dr. Novella’s post on Science Based Medicine.


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