I'd like to hear more about your own feelings regarding the "Nutritional quality of organic foods: A systemic review" article. The article was a systematic review of over 50 scientific, peer reviewed papers, but was dismissed fairly casually in your article, relying instead on Paula Crossfield's opinion - not sure what her scientific credentials are.
As someone who practices science I'm sure you know that the report being "tied to special interests of agribusiness, the dairy industry, Sarah Lee Corporation, and one of UK's biggest grocery chains" (even if true) does not negate the science on its face. All of the above agreeing on the germ theory of disease would not invalidate its acceptance. Ms. Crossfield merely implies guilt by association without providing an example of how the results of the study were manipulated in their favor.
I have no bias one way or the other on organic food, I am just looking for the truth and I find it frustrating when sources I look to for that truth provide conflicting evidence.
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You have a great question about the review article that you mentioned "Nutritional quality of organic foods: A systemic review." Here's my thoughts on this article.
While it did assess 11 different total nutrients in organic vs. conventional foods it was lacking in its assessment of antioxidants between the groups. It did review the phenolic compounds (phenolic acids, flavanoids, etc.) which was good but there are many other antioxidants that are important to our overall health especially ones like carotenoids or tocopherols to name a few. I think the main reason the study didn't included these was that it included a lot of older data from studies before 1990 when analytical methods weren't quite up to today's standards. The study even mentioned that it did not grade the quality of analytical methods used. The research in the last 15-20 years has much more sophisticated analytical methods to determine the nutrient density of more of these micronutrient substances contained in foods.
One other small point was that the study included 4 "basket surveys" as they termed them in their 55 total studies reviewed. Basket surveys are assessments of the nutrient density of foods that have made it all the way to the retail level. There are so many uncontrollable variables when using foods that have made it this far in the distribution phase such as travel time and conditions, storage & handling procedures, etc. that it is difficult to determine if this data is reliable or not. When the foods are assessed right after or as close to harvesting time as possible then much more reliable data can be obtained in this manner.
I think the bigger message that should be emphasized though regardless of whether organic foods are or are not more or less nutrient dense than conventional foods is that the types of foods you eat have a much, much bigger affect on your overall health than whether you eat organic or not. Plant-based foods (fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts/seeds) should make up 90% or more of your overall diet if you are looking to achieve optimal health and avoid chronic diseases.
I hope that helps. Thanks for your question. And thanks for taking the time to read my article.
My wife and I eat an organic vegan diet mainly because pesticides are toxic to ecosystems and harm birds, fish, insects, and life-forms. As vegans, or people who care about others, how can we pay for conventional poison-sprayed stuff? In our view, organic (and better still, veganic) is essential to a compassionate lifestyle. We don't eat organic for our health, but for the health of others.
I hope we'll get over our self-preoccupation in this culture!
Does organic food mean also no GMO?
You can find the official USDA definition of organic food here - http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/ofp/ofp.shtml
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