Standing in the grocery store with an overflowing cart and kids restless to leave, making the tradeoff for conventional foods that are readily available and a lot less expensive sometimes seems like the right call instead of hunting around for their more expensive organic counterpart. However, after reading this study, you might change your mind. We did.
Here’s the scoop. A family of five in Sweden participated in an experiment where they ate conventional foods for 21 days and upon completion, submitted a urine sample. Analysts found a number of insecticides, fungicides and plant growth regulators. Then, the family switched to an organics only diet for two weeks. The results were dramatic. The pesticide in the family members’ bodies dropped in ways that were observable after a single day. And by the end of the two weeks, there was very little evidence of the pesticides and other compounds in their urine samples.
Research shows that organic food is more nutrient dense than their counterparts (especially in antioxidants). However, the bigger reason go organic is the significant reduction in pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Some research in this article suggests that eating organic may lead to a 20% reduction in mortality due to lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Here is a rundown of chemicals on our conventional foods that will make you thing twice…
Many farmers use hormones to increase production of milk or build bulk for meat in their cows. These hormones are synthetic versions of estrogen and testosterone, primarily rBGH or recombinant bovine growth hormone. Studies show that the chance of breast cancer increases with even a slight increase in exposure to estrogen over a lifetime.
Pesticides are considered safe by the EPA as long as they are at a specific minimum level of exposure. Organic fruits and vegetables are held to a much higher standard. In order for product to be considered “organic”, insect repellants and soil enrichments must conform to much narrower guidelines.
Many farmers give antibiotics to cows in order for them to gain weight. In so doing, the cows and their offspring are more likely to be antibiotic-resistant. This puts us at increased risk of salmonella and other dangerous bacteria. Antibiotics also kill the good bacteria in our gut and can cause a host of physical and neurological problems. Additionally, we can become resistant to antibiotics after prolonged exposure, which is a problem if we are sick and really need them.
For us, we’ve decided that the expense and the inconvenience are worth the price for our health. We’re not perfect, just more informed, and try our best to eat organic. If you’re interested in learning more about the dangers of chemicals in conventional food and the benefits of eating organic, the Environmental Working Group website is a great place to start.