Does Eating Organic Food Make A Difference?

28 Apr

Eating organic food is a very hot topic.  It seems like everyone is talking about it, and everyone has a strong opinion one way or the other.  Some swear by it and say you are poisoning yourself if you do not eat organic foods.  Others say eating organic is nothing more than a waste of money.  Is there really a benefit to eating organic food over non-organic food in regards to actual pesticide levels in the body?

A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives analyzed the dietary exposure of nearly 4,500 people from six cities across the United States to organophosphates (OPs), the most common insecticides used on conventionally grown produce in the country.  OPs are linked to a number of detrimental health effects, particularly among agricultural workers who are regularly exposed to this class of chemicals.  The results of the study showed that among individuals eating similar amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who reported eating organic produce had significantly lower OP pesticide exposures than those consuming conventionally grown produce.  In addition, consuming conventionally grown foods typically treated with greater amounts of pesticides during production (such as apples, nectarines, and peaches) was associated with significantly higher levels of exposure.

Lead author Dr. Cynthia Curl adds, “For most Americans, diet is the primary source of OP pesticide exposure… The study suggests that by eating organically grown versions of those foods highest in pesticide residues, we can make a measurable difference in the levels of pesticides in our bodies.” 

According to this research, it seems like eating organic fruits and vegetables is not a waste of money.  As always, more research needs to be done to determine how much OP exposure may be bad for you and if there are ways to mitigate exposure if you do purchase non-organic produce. But, when in doubt, organic might be the way to go, at least when it comes to apples, nectarines, and peaches.

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