Why the Stanford University study on Organics is Misleading

A few days ago Stanford University came out with their results of a new study claiming that Organic food is "no more nutritious than non-organic food." Their claim was that most people bought organic because they believed it to be more nutritious (containing more vitamins & minerals than conventional) and in their findings they proved that it is in fact not any more nutritious.

Okay, so we aren't getting any more vitamins and minerals by eating organic instead of non-organic, but they are still not addressing the important issue! The majority of people buying organics do so to limit their exposure to pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics (in dairy & meat) and hormones (also in dairy & meat). All of the these factors are the important reasons to be buying organic, not because it supposedly contains more vitamins than conventional food.

The study didn't even consider these other factors (besides a small mention of pesticides). All I have heard over the past few days now is "Didn't you read that study? Organic isn't any healthier!" but "healthier" is a broad term. In the black & white picture of health when we are simply considering vitamins and minerals, then yes, there is not much of a difference. But in order to be truly healthy we have to look at the bigger picture, which includes being mindful of the toxins our bodies are exposed to.

  • 80% of the antibiotics used in this country are used on our livestock that we eat. We are beginning to see the negative effects of this as more cases of antibiotic resistant "superbugs" are starting to appear. (read more here). This has become such an issue that in March a federal judge ordered that the FDA reconsider antibiotic usage in livestock. There is also a great article discussing this further on PBS and an interesting 2 minute video on CNN concerning antibiotics in our meat. 
  • Conventional meat and dairy products also contain an artificial genetically modified hormone called recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) given to cows so they produce more milk and fatten up (helps fatten us up too!) Evidence has shown that rBGH in our meat and dairy products is readily absorbed through the intestines and can get into the bloodstream and affect our hormones. The hormone is also a potential carcinogen. (read more about rBGH here). 
  • The biggest issue with non-organic produce is pesticides and GMOs. The evidence surrounding pesticide exposure and cancer is astounding. I personally consider it to be common sense that exposing ourselves to toxic chemicals is going to be harmful to our health. Research shows that consuming organic produce reduces exposure to pesticides, here is a great article about it on EWG. Also, consuming organic produce is the only way to ensure that you are not consuming GMOs.

As always, my posts are not meant to scare you, but to simply inform you so you are able to make more informed choices and also to urge you to be more mindful when making your food choices.


Additional Reading: 

Organic Food Vs. Conventional: What the Stanford Study Missed

Stanford’s Report on Organic Food Should Serve as a Serious Wake-Up Call

5 Ways the Stanford Study Sells Organics Short

GMOs, organicCourtney SwanComment