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-   -   Organic foods (http://www.muscleandbrawn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14036)

musclenoob 06-14-2013 07:59 PM

Organic foods
 
How many of you on here eat organic foods? Do you really think that it is better for you, or why do you do it? Are there pros and cons to it?

5kgLifter 06-15-2013 01:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by musclenoob (Post 374924)
How many of you on here eat organic foods? Do you really think that it is better for you, or why do you do it? Are there pros and cons to it?

The question of organic foods is a complex one...to what degree are they "organic"? Certainly not to the degree that most would consider to fall in the range of organic by their definition.

Having had the chance to learn a little about what constitutes organic "in terms of the law" it isn't by any means what organic should be or what we perceive it to be. To my knowledge, organic producers are currently being told they should make it more organic, and strangely, they're objecting to it...if it's already organic, why does it need to be made more organic? It should already be organic...someone will state that it can't be 100% organic, which is fine to say, but the point is people have been led to believe that the term organic means exactly that and are now finding out that it never meant that to start with.

Then, there's the added complication of people (manufacturers) that use foods within their product...they can claim theirs is organic, even if the foods they use within it are not from organic sources (I know this for a fact, since I got this from a person that uses other ingredients/suppliers of goods within his range, yet is still entitled to sell it under the banner of "organic").



Foods grown without lots of pesticides and cattle reared with minimal antibiotics and so forth will always be better for us...but the term organic, to some degree, is a scam.

LindenGarcia18 06-15-2013 03:43 PM

Quote:

Foods grown without lots of pesticides and cattle reared with minimal antibiotics and so forth will always be better for us...but the term organic, to some degree, is a scam.
This.


People on here who know me, Know I don't trust these big companys (can't see how anyone would knowing what they put in our food)

I personally grow all my own Fruit and vegetables.
I have an allotment, where I grow the stuff.

Most I can grow, and other fruits we can't grow here in the UK, I get fresh from the Canary Islands.
We have friends who moved here from the Canary islands like us, who import fruit and vegetables here into the country and sell them as organic.
We know they're organic too, because we know the family that grows them back in the islands.

So, basically, I'm lucky enough to get pretty much any fruit or vegetable I want, fresh and organic.


Growing your own stuff is always better, no doubt.

They taste better, and they're better for you.

leefarley 06-15-2013 04:06 PM

organic foods are expensive to buy.

Tannhauser 06-15-2013 05:12 PM

In trying to discover whether organic food is better, I think the first thing to recognise is that only careful and systematic research can answer this.

Some people believe that natural = good, so anything that has been treated with 'chemicals' must necessarily be worse. But this is based more on emotion and cultural values than evidence. For example, it might make no more sense to worry about pesticides than to worry because water has been chemically treated to kill bacteria, and runs through copper pipes. We just can't tell without decent evidence.

Decent evidence has to be more than anecdotal. It's no good saying, 'John felt much better when he started eating organic carrots.' Evidence has to come from research that eliminates problems such as placebo effects, demand characteristics, reconstructive memory, uncontrolled variables and so on. So: high quality research from people who know what they're doing.

And 'a study found that...' is little help either. A key feature of knowledge is replication. Science operates on a balance of evidence, and that takes a lot of studies, carried out by a lot of people, over a period of time.

So what have the reviews of research got to say about organic food? There have been a number of meta-analyses over the years. To my knowledge, they all say the same thing: there's very little evidence that organic food is any healthier.

For example, there was a big one last year:

Quote:

After analyzing the data, the researchers found little significant difference in health benefits between organic and conventional foods. No consistent differences were seen in the vitamin content of organic products, and only one nutrient — phosphorus — was significantly higher in organic versus conventionally grown produce (and the researchers note that because few people have phosphorous deficiency, this has little clinical significance). There was also no difference in protein or fat content between organic and conventional milk, though evidence from a limited number of studies suggested that organic milk may contain significantly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

The researchers were also unable to identify specific fruits and vegetables for which organic appeared the consistently healthier choice, despite running what Bravata called “tons of analyses.”

“Some believe that organic food is always healthier and more nutritious,” said Smith-Spangler, who is also an instructor of medicine at the School of Medicine. “We were a little surprised that we didn’t find that.”
Pesticide levels are lower in people who eat organic food, but there's no evidence as yet that this has any significance. It's worth bearing in mind that a lot of people worried about 'chemicals' in food are exposing themselves to a huge array of 'chemicals' - and in massively higher concentrations - when they wash their hair and deodourise.

Here's the link for the report on the meta-analysis: Little evidence of health benefits from organic foods, Stanford study finds - Office of Communications & Public Affairs - Stanford University School of Medicine

Tannhauser 06-15-2013 05:19 PM

Just to add: I think there are some very good reasons for choosing organic food: it may reduce food miles, it's likely to be grown by small operations rather than massive monoculture farms, it reduces environmental damage through pesticides (e.g. eutrophication), it reduces the monopoly of big producers and keeps specialist food operations going, and so on. There are often animal welfare benefits compared to more intensive farming/

But it's more expensive, it's not any better for you, and I'd like to see someone prove it tastes any better in a blind taste test.

5kgLifter 06-15-2013 05:26 PM

We had some organic bananas, once, they were selling at the same price but they didn't taste any different.


Come to think of it though, why were they labelled "organic"? Less preservatives maybe? Intriguing, thinking back.

LindenGarcia18 06-16-2013 04:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 5kgLifter (Post 375217)
We had some organic bananas, once, they were selling at the same price but they didn't taste any different.


Come to think of it though, why were they labelled "organic"? Less preservatives maybe? Intriguing, thinking back.




Thats probably because they scammed you like you mentioned before.


I can assure you the bananas we get from the islands taste allot better than what you'd buy in the supermarket.

The supermarkets obviously cash in on the whole "organic" thing, when in actual fact what they're selling isn't organic at all.

LindenGarcia18 06-16-2013 04:49 AM

Quote:

But it's more expensive, it's not any better for you
Thats hardly the case. Anything you grow yourself is going to be better for you becasue it doesn't have all the chemicals on it that supermarket food has.


Quote:

and I'd like to see someone prove it tastes any better in a blind taste test.
I can tell you now that I'd never go back to eating supermarket fruit. The stuff we get tastes so much better.

Tannhauser 06-16-2013 06:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LindenGarcia18 (Post 375332)
Thats hardly the case. Anything you grow yourself is going to be better for you becasue it doesn't have all the chemicals on it that supermarket food has.

But Linden, I thought you were all about facts. :)

To unpick a number of assumptions in the argument.

a) home grown food has fewer 'chemicals' on it. But what do you mean by chemicals? Food is made from chemicals. Plants are made from chemicals. Everything is made from chemicals, including all Tannhausers and LindenGarcias. If you mean chemicals produced industrially, then you've still got an issue. What's the difference between a phosphate ion absorbed from a plant from earth, manure or industrially produced fertiliser? The answer is none at all: a phosphate ion is a phosphate ion, no matter where it comes from.

b) But OK, let's say we're talking about powerful industrially produced pesticides. It's true that your allotment food is probably going to have fewer of those. However, depending on where your allotment is, you might need to balance this against heavy metal contaminants in your food. Unless you're out in the middle of the country, your food is subject to environmental pollutants from traffic etc, which are bio-accumulated in plants. My guess is that anyone who has got a town allotment is upping their intake of cadmium, lead, etc. Even if this doesn't apply to you personally, I bet it applies to a lot of 'organic food' grown in towns.

c) And even if there are potentially harmful pesticides on supermarket food, you have to consider dosage before you can declare that these are no good for you. As I pointed out in my earlier post, we're all exposed to all sorts of industrially extracted 'chemicals' every day:

fluorides in toothpaste
chlorine compounds and aluminium sulphate used to treat water
deodorants, skin cleaning products and hair products (bunging 'natural' on the label doesn't change the composition)
copper from pipes
etc, etc, etc

Industrial chemicals are a fact of life. What matters is their toxicity at low doses, and what the long-term effects of these are. At the moment, there's little indication that the dosages the average person faces has got any clinical significance. There's a paranoia about substances that, in the scheme of things, probably contribute a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction to health and life-expectancy.

To boldly declare that home grown food is going to be better because supermarket food has 'chemicals' on it is going well beyond the available evidence, and as such it's misleading.


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