This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A recent study by Stanford University created all kinds of waves when it revealed organic foods don't have more nutrients and vitamins than conventional foods.
According to the research, which was actually a review of 240 studies, there was no 'strong' evidence that supported the idea that organic foods are significantly healthier. It also noted that while food produced organically are 30 percent less likely to contain trace levels of pesticides, the researchers said it was uncommon for food in the U.S. to have unsafe levels.
So does this study mean we should forget about buying organic? No way, not a chance, not even close in my opinion.
What the study didn't discuss enough was what organic food doesn't have that consumers should be concerned about ingesting.
First of all, I'm in the camp that there are no such things as safe pesticides and chemicals on food. When it comes to studying pesticides and herbicides and their effects on people, the chemicals often are studied alone, as one entity. However, many fruits and vegetables aren't just sprayed with one type of pesticide but several ones.
For instance, according to the Environmental Working Group, which every year rates which fruits and vegetables have the highest amount of pesticides, some common food products were found to have more than 40 pesticide residues on them. Celery, which was second only to apples in pesticide content, tested positive for 57 different pesticides. Lettuce samples had 78 different pesticides, blueberries had 42 different kinds, and grapes had 64 different chemicals.
How in the world can ingesting foods with that much pesticide residue not be a concern to consumers? What kind of chemical reactions are all these various formulas creating in our bodies?
Aside from the pesticide risks, there are other reasons to buy organic. Organic foods cannot be genetically modified so by choosing organic foods, you are assuring yourself of avoiding genetically modified products, which are controversial due to the lack of research proving these altered foods are safe for human consumption.
While the fight against genetically modified foods only now is gaining mainstream attention here in the U.S., it's enough of a concern worldwide that many countries including 174 regions in Europe are banning these altered foods.
But take away all the minute studies of nutrients and pesticides and consider what nutrition really means to you. For me, personally, it isn't just about protein and carbs or mineral levels, but nutrition as a whol for the whole.
We can argue how healthy or unhealthy pesticides and chemicals are for us to ingest, but there's no arguing the impact they have on the environment. Pesticides and herbicides are designed to kill. Often they kill indiscriminately and cause great harm to the environment.
I'm not okay with that , so by spending a few extra dollars for organic items, I get some satisfaction in believing I'm putting my dollars behind a product that was raised in a more earth-friendly environment.
I don't need any study telling me I am doing the right thing to feed my soul.
Lya Wodraska is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. E-mail her at Lwodraska@sltrib.com.