“You should only buy organic.” “If it’s not organic, then it’s bad for you.” Chances are, you’ve already heard these—from social media, television, friends, and family. More and more people are starting to subscribe to this lifestyle in a quest for better health, whether it’s an individual or an entire household. But is it always good? Now that you’re in the stage of your life when you’re forming habits, it’s important to know the real deal.
The great debate
Let’s get our facts straight. Going organic has a lot of benefits. Organic food is considered safer because they are free from synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, genetically-modified ingredients and irradiation, which may have adverse effects on our health. Consuming organic food limits our exposure to chemical residue that may increase the risk of cancer according to the National Cancer Institute. Livestock raised in organic farms are not fed antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic methods of farming also have less impact on the environment and require less resources. Many small local farmers—who are often marginalized—still rely on traditional way of growing crops, hence, buying organic also means supporting their livelihood.
A lot of times, the debates revolves on nutritional value. While public perception paints organic as the “healthier” choice, several studies show that there is no compelling evidence to show a difference in nutrition. Stanford University evaluated 237 studies comparing the nutritional values of organic and non-organic foods as well as their health outcomes. Aside from slightly higher phosphorous levels in organic foods and higher omega-3 fatty acid content in organic milk and chicken, the assessment shows no real advantage over the other. “There isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you’re an adult and making a decision based solely on your health,” says Dr. Dena Bravata says in Annals of Internal Medicine.