Benefits of organic food found to be overrated
By Lauran Neergaard ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON — Patient after patient asked: Is eating organic food, which costs more, really better for me?
Unsure, Stanford University doctors dug through reams of research to find out — and concluded there’s little evidence that going organic is much healthier, citing only a few differences involving pesticides and antibiotics.
Eating organic fruits and vegetables can lower exposure to pesticides, including for children — but the amount measured from conventionally grown produce was within safety limits, the researchers reported yesterday.
- Nor did the organic foods prove more nutritious.
“I was absolutely surprised,” said Dr. Dena Bravata, a senior research affiliate at Stanford and long-time internist who began the analysis because so many of her patients asked if they should switch.
“There are many reasons why someone might choose organic foods over conventional foods,” from environmental concerns to taste preferences, Bravata stressed. But “when it comes to individual health, there isn’t much difference.”
Her team did find a notable difference with antibiotic-resistant germs, a public-health concern because they are harder to treat if they cause food poisoning.
Specialists long have said that organic or not, the chances of bacterial contamination of food are the same, and yesterday’s analysis agreed. But when bacteria did lurk in chicken or pork, germs in the nonorganic meats had a 33 percent higher risk of being resistant to multiple antibiotics, the researchers reported in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
That finding comes amid debate over feeding animals antibiotics, not because they’re sick but to fatten them up. Farmers say it’s necessary to meet demand for cheap meat. Public-health advocates say it’s one contributor to the nation’s growing problem with increasingly hard-to-treat germs.
The government has begun steps to curb the nonmedical use of antibiotics on the farm.
Organic foods account for 4.2 percent of retail food sales, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It certifies products as organic if they meet certain requirements, including being produced without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers or routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones.
Consumers can pay a lot more for some organic products, but demand is rising: Organic foods accounted for $31.4 billion in sales last year, according to a recent Obama administration report. That’s up from $3.6 billion in 1997.
The Stanford team combed through thousands of studies* to analyze the 237 that most-rigorously compared organic and conventional foods. Bravata was dismayed that just 17 compared how people fared eating either diet while the rest investigated properties of the foods themselves.
Organic produce had a 30 percent lower risk of containing detectable pesticide levels. In two studies of children, urine testing showed lower pesticide levels in those on organic diets. But Bravata cautioned that both groups harbored very small amounts — and said one study suggested insecticide use in their homes may have been more to blame than their food.
Still, some studies have suggested that even small pesticide exposures might be risky for some children, and the Organic Trade Association said the Stanford work confirms that organics can help consumers lower their exposure.
This pronouncement from a group of doctors from Stanford University has no more weight over this extremely important topic than say, a group of ladies sitting around a bridge table. Perhaps that isn’t really fair as the ladies presumably have had a great deal of experience in buying and preparing the food they have served to their families over their life time and have borne the weight of responsibility to make sure their home fires burn brightly, happily and efficiently and as healthy as possible. Yeah, I’d take their word over the docs – any day. And that’s too bad. . . . . you see, there was a time back in history when medicine was young, from Hippocrates on down, when physicians were indeed the end-all, be-all.
They knew everything there was to know about the body. They knew what health was and were familiar with all the fine points of using from the fields of the land, herbs and potions as nature had bountifully provided, how to fix or correct when any thing went wrong. It was also their domain to instruct and teach their patients in healthful living and eating etc. No one can imagine docs doing that today. Modern medicine still teaches biology and demands the young doctors know and understand the pieces and parts, but the emphasis now is almost exclusively pharmaceutical. A pill for every problem. They have lost the art of seeing what’s wrong and how to best fix anything.
Nutrition has developed into a huge classification with all kinds of specialists, titles and names. It should be respected as it is vital. But it is not part of medical school training. They must get this on their own if they are so inclined. And today, there is a growing number of doctors who realize something more than drugs are needed. I’m not just blowin’ smoke here, go back to the beginning of this article . ” Unsure, Stanford University doctors dug through reams of research to find out — and concluded there’s little evidence ” . . . . one could rest a case on such.
This is hardly research. We don’t have the least clue to those reams of “research.” Monsanto calls its stuff research and science as well. Yet no “scientific evidence” lies anywhere, only their claim of results gets them approval after approval of their efforts from the FDA, which then allows them to manipulate almost everything about our food, from synthetic fertilizers, toxic pesticides and insecticides to the genetically engineered seeds and on to the frankinfoods, etc., etc. Truly intelligent people do not need to be reminded of this, but, a scientific mind is open and unbiased and functioning with bright daylight pervading all for clarity. So to have any relevance at all, one would have to have documented evidence of trials with names, dates and numbers of participants etc., etc.
Further, it is an affront to call these practicing physicians “researchers.” They are practicing physicians with a patient load and probably a very busy schedule. To come out with conclusions such as this does two distinctly negative things. 1) It automatically deflates the reputation of Stanford University. 2) It is akin to shouting FIRE in a crowded theater. This is serious business. You should all be ashamed. When patients ask for your advice from a position of trust, you certainly owe more than you have given.
There is no shortage of information on legitimate trials, there is tons of evidence from all quarters of the world This blog which is dedicated to helping people see what is going on; what the risks are and the weight of every decision we make, is replete with amazing physicians and other scientists. The Blogroll is crowded with organizations and groups whose purpose is to get information out there so that people have a fighting chance and can make informed decisions.
For you people at Stanford, are you even aware that ORGANIC FOOD and farming technique is not new or ruse just to get money out of people? This is how food was always grown up til about 50 years ago. With every decade, modernization and formula for increasing profit have shortchanged humanity more and more. The nutritional density of the so-called ‘conventional farming’ methods is far, far less than 50 years ago. Our soils are being turned into a desert-like quality from the synthetic fertilizers and sterilization it endures. Americans are mal-nourished even as they grow more obese. This is being done to them without their consent This is not right.)