Benefits of Organic Food – Inconvenient Truth

What are the benefits of eating organic food? A lot of people say organic food is less polluted than conventional food and thus better for your health. Some say it is more nutritious, better tasting and in general safer.

In this article we will dig deeper into these claims and see where the benefit of organic food really lies.

 

Organic Food Has Fewer Chemicals


As a conscious consumer, what I expect of organics is a very limited use of chemicals. Actually, I’d rather have no chemicals at all, thank you. I read about the chemical revolution and health issues, how chemicals are all over my food and consequently in my body.

And I freak out. I only have one body and I want to treat it right.

So I opt-in for organics.

The scientific journal Nature Plants claim that organic produces “foods that contain less (or no) pesticide residues, compared with conventional farming.” When you dig deeper and go to couple of scientific websites, that’s not what they say.


Testing organic and conventional produce for pesticides, 40 different synthetic pesticide residues
were detected on organic produce, at levels similar to conventional food samples.
In both cases the amounts are too small to be a health concern.

 

USDA scientists collected just over 10,000 samples of 15 crops taken from ordinary retail food channels.

40% of the organic samples had detectable chemicals. This is lower than for conventional food.

23% percent of the detections were persistent environmental contaminants (which have been banned for decades)These contaminants are very hard to get rid of once in environment and they are of old, pre-EPA times, when there were no regulations yet, old sins. There is nothing organic of conventional farming can do about those long-lived, persistent organochlorine or organophosphate insecticides or their metabolites (e.g. DDT, monocrotophos…)These chemicals are found in both organic and conventional samples at levels in the low part per billion range (ppb).*

Benefits o Organic Food

 

At the end of the day, 17% of organic samples is polluted by today’s farming. These 17% is for inorganic or synthetic chemicals only. Organic farming mostly uses organic chemicals which are much harder to detect and testUnfortunately, I couldn’t find the number for organic chemicals found on produce – I will keep digging and make an update once I find it. Never the less, the percentage would be much higher than 17% if we knew of organic chemicals as well.

*Note: part per million is level that might affect human. ppb is 1000-times lower than ppm, thus not dangerous.

 

Why such a high percentage of contamination?

One explanation could be spray drift or cross-contamination in harvesting bins. Another could be drift of airborne chemicals in the environment. The third could be breaking the principle of organic farming.

 

Organic Food is More Nutritious and Tastes Better


I dug and dug to get worthy information on better nutrition in case of organics. But I couldn’t find any.

There is a difference between nutritional levels of soil grown produce and produce grown in Hydroponics but this is not what we’re interested in right now.

In fact, research show that both, organic and conventional produce, have similar nutritional values. Both are high in vitamins, mineral etc. What you should pay attention to is how fresh to produce is.

Good example is Vitamin C. We did a laboratory testing of Vitamin C concentration in yellow capsicum when I was in high schoolWe tested 50 randomly picked capsicums from refrigerated storage unit on the farm and 50 freshly pickedOur experiment showed that the concentration of Vitamin C in refrigerated capsicums was 5 – 8 times lower that in freshly picked capsicums.

Vitamin C in Capsicum

Organic and conventional produce, have similar nutritional values.
​​Fresh produce is more nutritious than stored, refrigerated produce.

 

What About Meat?


Antibiotics have been an important asset in agriculture for several decades. Animals can get sick, just like people, and when it happens we should treat them. But these drugs have been used as supplements to promote animal growth, a practice that can contribute to the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections, which kill 23,000 people annually. (Source: Cameron English​)

I my opinion, this is where organic farming comes to value.

Humane treatment of animals, space to graze and live, no growth hormones.

Do you remember “Mad Cow” disease? Do you know why it happened?

It happened because of what conventional, big scale farmers were feeding their cows with.

Do you know what they were feeding they with? Bone meal, yes.

Do you know what bone meal is? Really is?

 

Conventional Beef

 

I know. We had a field work while I was studying at the University. In fact, we had many different field assessments where we had to go to poultry processing mill, waste treatment plant and it was never pretty. But this one took the biscuit.

To put it in neutral language and still get the message across – on that particular field day we went to a facility where any sort of animal carcasses were taken in. Road kills, natural death, euthanized pets (yes, dogs from veterinary clinics as well).. Any sort of animal carcass.

The carcasses were de-skined, de-boned and put in a large grinder, followed by furnace, followed by high pressure compactor.

After this process what comes out is “bone meal”, the product is ready for pick up. Who picks it up? Big scale beef farmers. It is a dietary supplement for beef although it has absolutely no nutritional value. It is animal ash eaten by animals eaten by us. 

And this is how “Mad Cow” disease happened.

I am not saying every animal farming is like this. It is not. Also, because they banned this feeding practice.

There are many conventional farmers that treat their animals right and the meat is just as great as organic.

 

 

Organic Yay, Organic Nay?


There is no meaningful distinction between organic and conventional foods that the USDA tested.

 

Both are quite safe and you should not hesitate to buy and consume these foods that are well documented to promote health.

What you should be weary of is big scale farming in general. Their business model is concentrated on low input, high profits and not much else.

The best thing you can do, if possible, is to find a farmer directly and buy from him. This way you will know where your food is coming from, how it’s been grown, and how the animals were fed and treated and slaughtered.

Did you know that only 15% of the price goes to the farmer when buying in supermarkets?

Buying directly from a farmer is best for him as well. Most of the small scale farms struggles financially. They want to expand but 15% is just not enough. You can make much difference.

Find a local farmer you can trust and build a relationship,

get safe food and help improve his practices.

It’s a win-win.

 

If you don’t have the time or neighbourhood to find such farmer, don’t worry. There is a solution.

16 thoughts on “Benefits of Organic Food – Inconvenient Truth”

  1. I love that this article really goes into depth with real information about Organic foods. I’ve been researching certified organic foods for years, as my friend owns a farm in California and she thinks that organic is just a label that corporations hide behind to be trendy. Thank you so much for this article.

    Reply
    • Hi Rob, in many cases it is a trendy thing – I was just reading an ingredient label this afternoon when shopping. It was written “Organic” in big letters of the front of the label and “contains organic ingredients” at the back of the label. When you actually read the label you found out the organic ingredient was Cocoa, which was less then 5% of a product.

      Say hi to your Californian friend for me!

      Best,

      Katja

      Reply
  2. “I have one body and I want to treat it right!”

    What great words!

    I loved and was horrified at the same time with your post.

    Loved it because it tells the truth about what is going on with our food

    Horrified because you told the truth about what is going on with our food.

    I never really new what ‘bone meal’ was, but now I know it’s disgusting.

    I have a plot of land in the province and your post has made me want to go and plant all my food in it…

    And say goodbye to most non-organic meat products.

    Thank you for a great insight into our food.

    I already knew we were being force fed rubbish, but I had no idea to the extent.

    Diet change time!

    Tim

    Reply
    • Hi Tim, please don’t misunderstand the message. Every produce, no matter farming principles is good produce, vegetable. Organic is still better in certain ways than conventional…just not as wonderfully great as it is marketed. But both are healthy, safe and beneficial to your health.

      The “rubbish being fed” is processed, packed food found in supermarkets. You can easily recognise highly processed product – just read the ingredient label, you will not understand 2/3 of it. These foods have no real nutritional value to your body and as you eat it you really starve your body of nutrients it needs – which are found in veggies and real foods.

      To keep it simple, be horrified of processed foods and thankful of farming produce.

      Best,

      Katja

      Reply
      • Hello Katja,

        Thank you for your fast reply.

        Yes, I totally agree with you, it is the rubbish that I have to keep away from.

        I am based in the Philippines and we are experiencing a shortage of vegetables this year and prices are shooting up.

        Sadly this makes the processed and fast food even more attractive to consumers. It’s cheaper to eat unhealthy than to eat healthy food.

        I look forward to reading more of your posts.

        Tim

        Reply
  3. Startling statistic indeed! I live in a rural area and the price we pay for organic produce is exorbitant, to think that some/most of it is in fact still harbouring chemicals is very disappointing.

    Whilst there may not be any scientific proof that organic meat or veggies actually tastes better, I really do think it does. Maybe it’s a placebo effect, and I just convince myself it’s tastier to justify the amount we pay! 

    Whilst we can’t get local organic veggies our meat is sourced locally and purchased through a small local butcher. It works for us and does give me a feeling of having made a difference to know where the animal came from and that they have had a great life. 

    Thanks for a great blog and for the eye opening facts, definitely food for thought.

    Reply
    • Hi Heidi, finding a farmer or butcher you can trust is the best way to go. Not all organic farms use the same practices and the same goes for conventional ones. I actually don’t buy organics but have a long lasting relationship with a local farmer that I know how he treats soil, plants and animals.

      If you prefer the taste of organic produce, that’s great, you found something you like and what’s more, it’s good for you. Stick to it.

      Best,

      Katja

      Reply
  4. Dear Katya,

    Thanks for the helpful and informative post. Yes indeed I come across a lot of articles stating to go for organic food and many Youtubers talking about it and many Doctors too advise the same. I was afraid and I was looking for more information on this subject, your post helped me.

    Thanks for sharing the stats and great insights on both organic and conventional grown foods.

    Bone meal is a new information which I never read before and I felt bad. Thanks for sharing it.

    Finding a local farmer and buying from him is a great advice. I am going to try that for sure.

    Wishing you great Success!

    Paul

    Reply
    • Thank you Paul, it means a lot to be able to provide the info you were looking for.

      Don’t worry about the “bone meal” because it’s been banned for feeding purposes.

      Find a good farmer, eat lots of veggies and keep away from processed food.

      All the best,

      Katja

      Reply
  5. Katya,

    To be honest I wonder about any organic food that they try to sell in a store, the only ones I feel are genuine organic are the ones that come straight from the farm.  And even then you need to know the people running the farm to know what chemicals they use to treat the fields or the crops.  When it comes to meats then I prefer to purchase the beef right from the farm knowing what a farmer feeds his cattle and how he treats them is the only way to know for sure that you are getting quality meat for a much better price than at a grocery store or supermarket.  More people need to get back to basics in life and planting a garden teaching their children how to raise food is one good way to start.  

    Thanks for the article,

    Susan

    Reply
    • I could not agree more, Susan. You said it all.

      Going back to basics is the healthiest, cheapest and easiest way to stay healthy, manage your weight or improve relationship with food.

      Thank you,

      Katja

      Reply
  6. Great post and good info. 

    My wife and I decided to step over to organic food, and we didn’t regret it for now. 

    It is safer, healthier, less hormones(here in Europe), so that means less problems for later. 

    The only downsize, if you can call it like that, is that it is a bit more expensive. 

    But it is worth the price.

    Really try organic food people! 

    Reply
    • Hi Emmanuel, it’ never wrong to switch to organic if you can. Lots of people find organic food better in one or other way..specially people with food allergies.

      It’s true it cost more but at the end of your day, your life it is your health and that is priceless.

      Best,

      Katja

      Reply
      • Yes Kayla,

        In the end, if we have to spend that “saved” money on doctors and health we didn’t save at all.
        I learned to take a lot of supplements from a very wise reflexolagist and friend. So I consume supplements for my bones, ligaments, vitamins, Ca, bladder, memory, etc. I have decided to go Organic, but am surprised to see they also have contaminents according to your article. This regime has kept me very healthy. Plus reducing my showers because I read the oils on our skin protect us from disease. Also, I keep away from flu shots. Thanking God for my good health at 83 yrs. young.

        Reply
  7. Hi, that’s an interesting interpretation of “facts”. You know, I don’t believe everything that is written.

    We grow organic food at home our self and when I compare one of my cucumbers for example with one I buy in the market it is a big difference. I can actually taste the chemicals in the product I bought on the market.

    I don’t know how dangerous these chemicals are and how good it is controlled how much and when they are applied but what I know, as you say, you can call yourself lucky if you know a farmer producing organic and one you can trust.

    Reply
    • Hi Stefan, I know what you mean by the difference in taste. The food you grow yourself will always be better than the one bought in supermarket: yours is straight from the garden and on the plate, you will probably hand weed everything and avoid using any chemicals, etc. 

      It’s interesting that chemical taste happened also when you bought it at the market and not supermarket. The important thing is that you find what works best for you, your body and stick to it.

      Keep growing your food,

      Katja

      Reply

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