Meatless Monday Inspiration: Why A Stanford Study Probably Shouldn’t Dictate Your Diet
With all due respect to Stanford, and the exhaustive work that went into its recent review and analysis of hundreds of organic food studies, the conclusion drawn—that organic food is no more nutritious than its counterpart—offers a limited picture.
Since its release last week, there have been tweets, and Op Eds, and a lot of I-told-you-sos implying that supporters of organic have been taken for an (expensive) ride.
In his piece for the New York Times Roger Cohen cheered for the study saying that: “The organic ideology is an elitist, pseudoscientific indulgence shot through with hype.” Not to mince words or anything.
But putting aside rhetoric, let’s look at what the study did and didn’t prove. For more on that study—what it left out and how it might have been misleading, check out this piece over at Prevention.
The Study Determined That Organic Food Is No More Nutritionally Dense Than Non-Organic
It’s long been assumed that the healthier soil used to grow organic food would positively impact the nutritional density of the food itself. Not so, says Stanford. In the case of organic milk though, because cows graze longer, they did find higher levels of omega-3s.
The Study Did Not Look at How Pesticides Might Affect the Body
Needless to say, in these parts we believe pretty strongly that the less chemical-mystery crap we put on and in our bodies, the better. It’s not about pinpointing one culprit, one study, one pesticide that affects us negatively—though this type of evidence is mounting and important—it’s about an overall body burden that starts in the womb and steadily increases with each year. Organic food is one way to avoid more chemicals that we either know enough about to be worried, or too little about to feel safe.
The Study Did Not Look At How Hormones and Antibiotics Given to Animals Might Affect The Body
Our motto is: If you can avoid any hormones that aren’t your own, synthetic or otherwise, as well as the endocrine disruptors found in many pesticides—just do it. Science says that when it comes to these substances, lower levels can actually have a higher impact on the body.
The Study Did Not Look At How Pesticides Affect The Environment or Farm Workers
Which is to say, probably quite badly.
But at the end of the day, as with beauty products, everyone has to make their own educated decision around this stuff, and more information is never a bad thing—even if we might wish the results were otherwise. Of course, if you were eating organic food because you assumed it was more nutritionally dense, you might rethink the choice. But we choose organic—when we can—for a whole host of reasons.
Do you eat organic? What are your reasons, and are they affected by the Stanford study?
Art via the New York Times