View Full Version : Scientific proof that 'organic' food is healthier


SB_UK
07-11-14, 03:38 PM
It is the first study to demonstrate clear and wide-ranging differences between organic and conventional fruits, vegetables and cereals.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/11/organic-food-more-antioxidants-study

Common comment in section below -

'well duh!'

addthree
07-11-14, 03:56 PM
Too bad the earth is over populated by humans leaving not enough food to go around without the use of pesticides and GMO's.

SB_UK
07-11-14, 04:06 PM
Too bad the earth is over populated by humans leaving not enough food to go around without the use of pesticides and GMO's.


If the world shifted to vegan we'd be fine.

f everybody ate a meat based diet, the kind that a lot of people in America and Britain eat today – you couldn’t even feed half of the world’s population. Yet if everybody became a vegetarian, you could feed the whole world and more.http://www.teachvegetarian.com/feed-the-world

addthree
07-11-14, 04:30 PM
Why a shift to a vegan diet? We would need even more plant based foods. There is already not enough plant based foods that is why Monsanto exist. How are we going to feed all the starving in places like Somalia? Logically? Your study is bogus. Lots of animal feed is not worthy of human consumption. Remember farmers don't work for free.

MarkAfterDark
07-19-14, 10:34 PM
I've read similar things on whfoods.org, although I am unable to find the article at the moment. The basic concept, though, was that the same phytochemicals which protect plants from disease also protect us from disease. but more importantly, when we introduce pesticides to protect plants, they make fewer of their own natural defenses, hence the level of phytochemicals of conventionally grown produce will be significantly reduced.

MarkAfterDark
07-19-14, 10:43 PM
Too bad the earth is over populated by humans leaving not enough food to go around without the use of pesticides and GMO's.

There is absolutely no credible evidence to support any part of that statement.

Drewbacca
07-20-14, 01:18 AM
There is absolutely no credible evidence to support any part of that statement.

"credible" is highly subjective... there are plenty of credible resources that discuss plant yields with/without genetic modification and pesticide use. It's all quantifiable data if you care to research it, but I have no interest in spelling it out for you.

It's not exactly a wild theory either, Thomas Malthus predicted diminishing returns on resources vs population growth a century ago. Advances in technology have only so far managed to avoid the inevitable.

So, what are those advances? We could make a list and dig up actual numbers (but that's way beyond the scope of this thread and a huge means of wasting time). Besides pesticide use and GMOs, there are irrigation projects, deforestation, and other means of creating higher crop yields by expanding the area on which to grow. I suppose we could also create a demand-economy to mandate what crops can and can not be eaten in order to maximize our use of resources (obviously, the ending of meat-eating would go a long way since the cattle that are eventually butchered are not an efficient use of grain and water resources... but that would mean forcing people to be vegetarians and I'm not a big fan of forcing dietary preferences). Anyways, I digress as this could quickly turn into a political discussion and that's not my intention. I'm just trying to point out that there is a limit to resources, and reallocation of said resources could result in higher yields... but so can the use of non-organic alternatives.

So, I generally agree with addthree. While adding that there are other means of creating enough to go around (but for how long, and at what price?).

So which aspect of addthree's comment do you disagree with? Are you saying that the Earth isn't over-populated? Are you in disagreement that GMO crops yields more crops for the same amount of land and resources?

Mind you, I'm not arguing in favor or against GMO or organics or anything along those lines. I just happen to agree with addthree that yields are higher with modified crops (for better, or for worse). and that demand will eventually exceed supply (unless we continue to find alternative methods of increasing supply and the imagination is the limit, in that case).

Drewbacca
07-20-14, 01:30 AM
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/11/organic-food-more-antioxidants-study

Common comment in section below -

The article doesn't state that organic food is "healthier." It states that organic food has higher anti-oxidant levels. I don't think we should be conflating the vague term "healthy" with any findings based on the study mentioned in the linked article. Taking vitamins, for example is "healthy" but the body maxes out at some point and additional vitamin intake is not "healthier" by any degree, we just (to be blunt) poop the excess out. What level of anti-oxidant is desirable? At what point is additional intake redundant?

"Lower levels of metals and pesticides" is another concern addressed by the author of the article (not to be confused with the authors of any studies linked therein, of course). Some metals are healthy... so there's that. It's case by case. The discussion shouldn't be whether everyone should be eating GMO or organic as if the two are two opposing forces, it really varies by each individual fruit/vegetable on a case by case basis. Of course organic has lower levels of pesticides, that sort of goes without saying. That's akin to saying that fat-free milk as less fat than regular milk! So, yeah, there's the "duh" moment.

MarkAfterDark
07-22-14, 09:07 PM
The article doesn't state that organic food is "healthier." It states that organic food has higher anti-oxidant levels. I don't think we should be conflating the vague term "healthy" with any findings based on the study mentioned in the linked article. Taking vitamins, for example is "healthy" but the body maxes out at some point and additional vitamin intake is not "healthier" by any degree, we just (to be blunt) poop the excess out. What level of anti-oxidant is desirable? At what point is additional intake redundant?

Oxidative stress is something we pick up constantly from the air we breath, water contaminants, poor food choices and many other factors. Therefore, it is not possible to determine a quantity of antioxidants.

Phytonutrients extend beyond just antioxidants. Mushrooms, for example, contain a phytoestrogen which can significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer. Cruciferous vegetables contain phytonutrients which can both reduce cholesterol and assist with the body's natural detox system. resveratrol, contained in wine and grapes (especially concord grapes) is an antioxidant, but it also activates genes that promote good health. The catechins in green tea can protect cells at the genetic level.

Last summer, I did an experiment. It was to be my last year working at Home Depot. I had been using a nutribullet for a few months when I read about sunburn and natural ways to prevent it.

So unlike the previous summer, I did not apply sunscreen (I don't advise you try this, but I wanted to see if this was true) I was a regular cashier in the garden department - outside all weekend long.

So I made a V8-like drink with kale, diced organic tomatoes, a teaspoon of tomato paste, a clove of garlic, some onion, mushroom, black pepper, and a packet of green tea. I also drank as much iced green tea as I could bring to work with me.

The result? When the teachers came back to work at my full-time job, one asked if I had been out in the sun at all? No color on my legs (despite wearing shorts) but my arms had a little color. I did not burn despite being outside during the worst part of the day.

So what I'm going to leave you with as an answer to your question "What level is desirable?" is "Just a little bit more." Seriously, there is no tolerable upper limit set for most phytochemicals, so eat. Dr. Joel Fuhrman uses a formula that states your heath=nutrient density/calories consumed.

"Lower levels of metals and pesticides" is another concern addressed by the author of the article (not to be confused with the authors of any studies linked therein, of course). Some metals are healthy... so there's that. It's case by case. The discussion shouldn't be whether everyone should be eating GMO or organic as if the two are two opposing forces, it really varies by each individual fruit/vegetable on a case by case basis. Of course organic has lower levels of pesticides, that sort of goes without saying. That's akin to saying that fat-free milk as less fat than regular milk! So, yeah, there's the "duh" moment.
I'm pretty sure the author was speaking of heavy metals like lead, mercury and arsenic.

Also, you might be interested in the EWG's annual dirty dozen list of the worst contaminated foods.
http://www.ewg.org/foodnews

MarkAfterDark
07-22-14, 10:17 PM
we have enough resources on this planet to feed, clothe and house everybody..nearly 1/2 of the worlds population lives on less than $2.50 a day...
You know, my grandfather had a plan to live on $1.00 a day. Even in 1935, that was not a lot to live on. He was just that cheep.

There are people that you could take away everything they have and drop them into the middle of a jungle and in five years time, they'll be wealthy again. I am not one of those, but I will do what is needed to survive and perhaps a little more.

try selling an organic chicken that costs £7-8 to nearly half the population....
really in this society its not food that makes you healthier its $$$$$$A lot of those people raise their own chickens and do so organically, if only because they can't afford commercial pesticides.

Further, if you look at some of the most primitive cultures where people grow and eat their own food, you will find that they don't have the diseases that plague the developed world.

Drewbacca
07-22-14, 11:40 PM
I'm pretty sure the author was speaking of heavy metals like lead, mercury and arsenic.

Also, you might be interested in the EWG's annual dirty dozen list of the worst contaminated foods.
http://www.ewg.org/foodnews

Yeah, I'm not writing off that some treated foods aren't a risk. I like the *smart* lists out there that say which "organic" foods are good options and which are a waste of money (organic in quotes due to market manipulation of products that don't actually fit the title). As a consumer, it's all about making good decisions for my diet and anyone who dines with me.

My only real critique of the original article is that it's vague and generalized. Most anti-GMO anti-pesticide stuff tends to be sensationalized and over the top. Is the reduction of some of the nutrients a possible concern? Sure... but it also depends on your diet. We aren't sailors on a ship for years on end with limited access to food variety, we have a lot of options. Want more antioxidants, eat/drink the foods that have higher levels of them... it's a conscious choice. If eating organic is part of that choice, great. That doesn't necessitate that a diet that is higher in GMOs is any less healthy though, it's just less in anti-oxidants. Make it up elsewhere.

If GMOs on the whole have lower levels of things we need and higher levels of things we don't then that is a trade off that the individual consumer needs to confront (I'm all for labeling). Still, my position is to judge it on a case-by-case basis which is impossible from the article in the OP (but maybe possible by reading the actual paper that was being referenced). Judge each product on its own merit, not based on generalities.

Targeted research is helpful. Vague and general research that simply reviews other papers and then lumps all inorganic foods under the sun together is not very helpful.

It's also not really a organic vs inorganic debate in my opinion. It's as much about breeding (even if done in a "natural" way). We breed in the desirable qualities. Genetics is full of tradeoffs. Make a larger fruit that has a better shelf life and you may lose some of the nutrients or taste in the process. Perhaps the lower anti-oxidant levels are simply a reflection of that. I'm fairly certain that a study about unmodified fruit in its native habitat (not the large and good looking items that make it to the grocery store) would most likely find that they have a lot of beneficial properties.

We can focus our attention on organic foods for giving a desirable quality. On the other hand, we could also breed those qualities back in (or genetically modify them back in). It's not surprising that the product developers (i.e. farmers and ultimately seed manufacturers) would produce a low anti-oxidant fruit if a high anti-oxidant fruit wasn't something that they were breeding for. That's an easy thing to change (I imagine). It's not like organic is inherently better in such a way that the modified options couldn't be engineered to have the same traits.

Or maybe not? There might be a process at work that goes beyond the genetics. In the same way that exposure to illness develops our human immune system, perhaps the perfect engineered crop is the product of an over-protective parent and less likely to develop into a hearty fruit. That doesn't seem to be a direction that the article or the paper it references explored. It would make a nice case in favor of more organic production if evidence for such heartiness were proven.

So to summarize, I guess I take two issues:
1. too general, I want specifics... which plants have more dangerous metals? Let's not get caught up in the highly principled positions that are either in favor of or against organics/gmos
2. perhaps non-organic have these qualities for a reason completely unrelated to the fact that they are not-organic i.e. they were bred for certain qualities which simply don't line up with the qualities that the authors of the referenced paper were looking for... it could even amount to cherry-picking (no pun intended) but I'd have to read the original paper before making any such claim.

I wonder if there is a paper out there making the alternative argument, that modified foods have x,y, and z that organic foods lack. I'd love to see an objective paper that compares the benefits as well as the tradeoffs on all fronts (nutritionally and economically, primarily, but there are likely other factors that could be compared).

SB_UK
07-23-14, 07:54 AM
Oxidative stress is something we pick up constantly from the air we breath, water contaminants, poor food choices and many other factors. Therefore, it is not possible to determine a quantity of antioxidants.

Phytonutrients extend beyond just antioxidants. Mushrooms, for example, contain a phytoestrogen which can significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer. Cruciferous vegetables contain phytonutrients which can both reduce cholesterol and assist with the body's natural detox system. resveratrol, contained in wine and grapes (especially concord grapes) is an antioxidant, but it also activates genes that promote good health. The catechins in green tea can protect cells at the genetic level.

Last summer, I did an experiment. It was to be my last year working at Home Depot. I had been using a nutribullet for a few months when I read about sunburn and natural ways to prevent it.

So unlike the previous summer, I did not apply sunscreen (I don't advise you try this, but I wanted to see if this was true) I was a regular cashier in the garden department - outside all weekend long.

So I made a V8-like drink with kale, diced organic tomatoes, a teaspoon of tomato paste, a clove of garlic, some onion, mushroom, black pepper, and a packet of green tea. I also drank as much iced green tea as I could bring to work with me.

The result? When the teachers came back to work at my full-time job, one asked if I had been out in the sun at all? No color on my legs (despite wearing shorts) but my arms had a little color. I did not burn despite being outside during the worst part of the day.

So what I'm going to leave you with as an answer to your question "What level is desirable?" is "Just a little bit more." Seriously, there is no tolerable upper limit set for most phytochemicals, so eat. Dr. Joel Fuhrman uses a formula that states your heath=nutrient density/calories consumed.


I'm pretty sure the author was speaking of heavy metals like lead, mercury and arsenic.

Also, you might be interested in the EWG's annual dirty dozen list of the worst contaminated foods.
http://www.ewg.org/foodnews

Only thing I'd add is that we also have the capacity to make anti-oxidants and the way we live our life alters our own leves of production.

But otherwise - to minimise exposure to env factors which result in oxidative stress, to optimise anti-oxidant consumption

- if push came to shove - I'd put our own production levels as key - but of course it all depends on exposure ie exposure to heavy levels of pollution - food consumed / internal biosynthetic pathways are going to be overwhelmed.

As compared with glucose metabolism, central ketone metabolism generates lower levels of oxidative stress (Prins, 2008) and has been shown to produce greater cellular energy output and antioxidant capacity, the latter by increasing glutathione peroxidase in hippocampal cells (Veech et al., 2001; Ziegler et al.. 2003). In addition, the presence of cerebral ketones is associated with decreased apoptosis and inflammation (Gasior et al., 2006; Malouf et al., 2009), which along with oxidative stress, have been identified as fundamental factors contributing to neurodegeneration (Cotman, 2000)."
http://www.lucastafur.com/2011/04/beta-hydroxybutyrate-does-make-you_26.html

-*-

So I'd suggest clean industry (no pollution, pesticides etc), clean farming producing high anti-oxidant level natural foods to people locally and not eating much (central ketone production)

ie 3 simple sustainable practices - all of which characterized human life over history -Now, experts are warning that those kinds of preventable health conditions could make the current generation the first to live shorter lives (http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2012/05/largely-preventable-health-conditions-hamper-u-s/) than their parents. - and all of which have been flouted by the desire to be thoroughly (frightfully!) modern Millies.

SB_UK
07-23-14, 03:57 PM
organic vegan
versus
factory animal

Polar opposites
- where (as ever) in our society

- we're characterized by an overwhelming bias towards the lower (primitive) option.

(http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/23/-sp-revealed-dirty-secret-uk-poultry-industry-chicken-campylobacter)Revealed: the dirty secret of the UK’s poultry industry (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/23/-sp-revealed-dirty-secret-uk-poultry-industry-chicken-campylobacter)

Well, I'll have chicken because it's so much more healthy than red meat.

How much of what people think is complete nonsense ?

We're in need of working out what is and what is not true.

What're we going to find ?
Eating not much but when we do - of proper food (predominantly organic vegan) in a low stress (happy) moral (money-free) environment results in maintaining health
- with plenty of time moving under the sun.

So - the problems with factory farming are eliminated.
Problems with environmental pollutants are removed.
Problems with processed food removed.

Abi
07-23-14, 04:02 PM
Thread temporarily closed for staff review

sarek
07-25-14, 04:43 AM
Mod note:

Thread now reopened with the caveat that political and/or off topic content will not be allowed.

Now returning you to your regular scheduled program.

SB_UK
07-25-14, 10:21 AM
We just keep on creating problems for ourselves.

Nitrates and nitrites are chemicals used in fertilizershttp://www.epa.gov/teach/chem_summ/Nitrates_summary.pdf

This new understanding, published in the Feb. 8 issue of Science ... ... found that potentially harmful bacteria in the intestine called Enterobacteriaceae use nitrate.
http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/7462

“blue baby syndrome” (methemoglobinemia) seen most often in infants exposed to nitrate from drinking water used to make formula Fertilizer run off and contamination of the water table ?
Sounds similar to eg toxic anti-cancer drugs passing out in the urine and contaminating the water supply.
Or how about toxic heavy metals from chemical industries being dumped into the water supply ?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fertilizer-runoff-overwhelms-streams/
page 7 http://docs.nrdc.org/health/files/hea_10012001a.pdf
http://weblife.org/humanure/chapter5_10.html - heavy metals aren't coming out of our guts - they're coming out of industry.

You can't use genetic/chemical plants to churn out new life / fertilizer / pesticide

- use plant breeding, natural recycling, natural methods of pest control

-- whenever we try and do something in the physical world we end up making a hash of things because we didn't understand the system well enough in the first place to attempt modification.

We're fine as Gods of information, programming and art
- but we're not at liberty to fiddle with the material world
- if only cos we're not too sure what the consequences'll be.

This applies to GM, pharmaceuticals, the chemical industry, nuclear industry, petrochemical industry etc etc etc

Amtram
07-25-14, 12:22 PM
http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/06/17/consumers-willing-to-pay-premium-for-organics-but-benefits-mostly-psychological/

http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/07/15/study-claiming-organic-food-more-nutritious-deeply-flawed-say-independent-scientists/

SB_UK
07-25-14, 01:29 PM
It’s an amazing coincidence how the results of sponsored studies almost invariably favor the sponsor’s interests. http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/07/15/study-claiming-organic-food-more-nutritious-deeply-flawed-say-independent-scientists/

So what's the truth ?

http://web.mit.edu/12.000/www/m2016/finalwebsite/solutions/phosphorus.html

At current consumption levels, we will run out of known phosphorus reserves in around 80 years, but consumption will not stay at current levels. Nearly 90% of phosphorus is used in the global food supply chain, most of it in crop fertilizers. If no action is taken to quell fertilizer use, demand is likely to increase exponentially.
Humans are great at making fertilizer - all they need to do is recruit scientists into a private corporation funded project and buckets of manure - enough to drown the population of enquiring minds in confusion no less
- is generated.

-*-

So - maybe non-organic is good maybe it's bad

- but non-organic isn't sustainable and so we have to find another way.

COMPOSTING TOILETS !!!

Certainly proving whether artificial pesticide/fertilizer is good or bad is going to be very hard when extremely rich corporations with the power to win over children by giving away free sponsored hats and pens at our local open farm day

is going to be difficult.