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Is Organic Produce Worth It?

This is an ongoing debate in our household. I’ll buy organic food if it’s close to the same cost as the pesticide produce, but I just can’t stomach paying a lot more for something of dubious value. I know pesticides aren’t good for me, but I’m not sure if the difference between the two is significant.

However, I know for dang sure that STRESS has all sorts of negative health effects, and paying an arm and a leg for a sack of apples and bananas that will be gone in two days DEFINITELY stresses me out.

So of course I was interested when I saw this headline a few days ago:

“Stanford Scientists Cast Doubt on Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce.”

I thought this study might have some new information I could use when talking to hardcore organic folks,  but I was disappointed. The scientists conducted a meta-analysis (an analysis of tons of original studies) of 237 different studies in order to draw some broader conclusions, and here’s basically what they found:

  • Organic produce was, on average, no more nutritious than conventionally grown.
  • Organic produce was not less likely to be contaminated with E Coli.
  • Conventional produce had higher levels of pesticide residue (but well below levels set by the EPA (but who trusts the EPA anyway? :) )
  • Organic chicken and pork was less likely to be contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria

And I’m disappointed because:

  1. Organic produce doesn’t have more nutrition!  Who cares? That’s not why most people by organic produce.  If you’re eating enough fruits and veggies to worry about getting poisoned from the pesticides, I think you’re doing ok in the nutrient department. The ONLY reason I buy organic produce is because of the pesticides used on conventionally grown kind, and Allison hits me with the guilt trip if I don’t buy it for the kids. I was hoping to see some new information on this front.
  2. This study actually CONFIRMS why most people buy organic produce, and what seems to be common sense: conventional produce has “poison” and organic doesn’t.

There’s not really anything here to shake either side of the debate, unless if you’re thinking an organic apple is supercharged with nutrients not found in the bargain version.

This food writer said it well:

“Saying organics aren’t worth it because they don’t have more vitamins is like saying lifting weights doesn’t give you better skin.”

Usually it’s the all-natural types writing the sensational headlines, but this one is pretty bad. “Casts doubt on the advantages of organic?” Maybe. But not on the one advantage everyone cares about.



2 Responses to “Is Organic Produce Worth It?”

  1. Alicia Dallas

    This is constantly an inner debate in my head and yes it causes so much stress at the grocery store. Every time I leave the grocery store I am exhausted, overwhelmed and even a little depressed. I want to give my family the best, especially my daughter, but what is the best? Is it better to take on a part-time job to eat all organic or is it better to be able to be home with my kiddo and eat what we can organic while trusting that the rest is in God’s hands? That sounds dramatic but that’s what I’m constantly thinking and there’s truth behind it. We already eat the more expensive non-processed foods, and then add in organic and the cost sky rockets. Right now I mostly choose the produce with the “poison” paying half the price and praying that it’s all going to be okay. ::sigh::

    • richieatnaturallymydear

      I have an inner debate too, but it’s usually more about how mad is Allison going to be that I didn’t buy the organic apples like she asked, and will it be worth saving 60 cents a pound on the apples.:) For now, we buy organic when it’s on sale or reasonably close to the same price as the conventionally grown. Also, we try to be aware of which fruits and veggies are most susceptible to contaminants, and focus on those. I don’t think you should feel too bad though, because most kids aren’t even eating fruits and vegetables in a quantity where this would even be a concern. So many of the health issues we see aren’t because of the bad stuff on produce–it’s because of diet that is just terrible to begin with. I know that’s obvious, but as parents I think we tend to pick on our small failings even when we’re moving in the right directions. Allison does a phenomenal job with our kids, especially with keeping their health in mind, and yet she struggles with the same things. I think it’s great that you have nutrition as a focus, and I’m sure you’re doing a great job just like she is. :)


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