October 20, 2014

New Junk Science Study Dismisses Nutritional Value of Organic Foods

pin it button New Junk Science Study Dismisses Nutritional Value of Organic Foods

images 300x161 New Junk Science Study Dismisses Nutritional Value of Organic Foods

by Alliance for Natural Health

You’d think Stanford would be above such sloppy research. You’d be wrong.

Stanford University researchers conducted a meta-analysis (a selection and summary) of seventeen studies in humans and 230 field studies of nutrient and contaminant levels in unprocessed foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, eggs, chicken, pork, and meat).

The study, published yesterday in The Annals of Internal Medicine, concluded that “the published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

The media, of course, pounced on the first part of the conclusion and reported it with their usual ferocity, but in many instances completely ignored the second part. In fact, their headlines would lead you to believe there is no benefit to organic foods at all: “Stanford Scientists Cast Doubts on Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce” (New York Times); “Organic Food is Not Healthier than Conventional Produce” (Huffington Post); “Study Questions How Much Better Organic Food Is” (Houston Chronicle); “Organic, Conventional Foods Similar in Nutrition, Safety, Study Finds” (Washington Post). Even Stanford’s ownpress release says, “Little Evidence of Health Benefits of Organic Food, Stanford Study Finds.”

What the study actually said was that they didn’t find “significant” or “robust” differences in nutritional content between organic and conventional foods, though they found that organic food had 30% less pesticide residue. Even though the pesticide levels fall within the safety guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency, it should be noted that the health effects of the pesticides are cumulative, and that what we would consider safe might not align with the EPA! For example, as we noted two weeks ago, herbicide residue on GMO crops may be causing fertility problems. Organophosphate exposure can lead to pre-term births, and both ADHD and lower IQs in children, according to several studies from leading universities.

The Stanford study also noted that the risk for ingesting antibiotic-resistant bacteria was 33% higher in conventional than in organic chicken and pork. Remember our piece on “superbugs”? USDA routinely justifies irradiating or sterilizing food because of such food safety concerns, as we noted last week—and this study essentially proves that organics do not need to be sterilized because they are in fact so much safer.

The meta-analysis also found that organic produce contains higher levels of phosphorus, and that organic chicken contains higher levels of vaccenic acid and more organic phenols, which have antioxidant and anti-cancer effects. A few studies suggested that organic milk may contain significantly higher levels of omega-3s fatty acids.

What the Stanford study didn’t mention is that by definition, organic foods cannot contain GMOs, so they are far healthier than conventional foods. Even though the biotech industry keeps saying GMO is “safe” and equal to non-GMO crops, there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Organic farming is also healthier for the environment because it does not employ large-scale factory farming conditions (not to mention being more humane toward the animals being raised for meat).

Charles Benbrook, PhD, a professor of agriculture at Washington State University and former chief scientist at The Organic Center who reviewed the Stanford study and most of the underlying literature, found the study misleading. He noted that several well-designed US studies show that organic crops have higher concentrations of antioxidants and vitamins than conventional crops. For crops like apples, strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, milk, carrots, and grains, organic produce has 10 to 30 percent higher levels of several nutrients, including vitamin C, antioxidants and phenolic acids in most studies.

As the Environmental Working Group notes, the Stanford study also contradicts the findings of what many consider the most definitive analysis in the scientific literature of the nutrient content of organic versus conventional food. In that 2011 study, a team led by Dr. Kirsten Brandt of the Human Nutrition Research Center of Newcastle University in the UK analyzed most of the same research and concluded that organic crops had approximately 12 to 16 percent more nutrients than conventional crops.

Critics were quick to point out flaws in the Stanford study’s methodology as well.

First, meta-analysis (that is, examining a large number of studies for commonalities) does not allow for the nuances and range of each of the studies—such as differences in testing methods, geography, and farming methods. There are a wide variety of different organic farming practices, and any given sample of food will reflect the soil in which it is grown. Chinese soil, for example, is notoriously deficient in selenium, and this carries through to the food. This makes it very hard to generalize based on an overview of a wide variety of studies.

Second, when researchers select studies for meta-analysis, they are free to cherry-pick whichever ones they like—and leave out any that might not support their conclusions. For example, a 2010 study by scientists at Washington State University found that organic strawberries contained more vitamin C than conventional ones. Dr. Crystal Smith-Spangler, a member of the Stanford team, said that this strawberry study was erroneously left out of the analysis, but that she doubted it would have changed the conclusions when combined with thirty-one other studies that also measured vitamin C!

What this comment completely omitted is that the chemicals used to treat non-organic strawberries are considered to be among the most dangerous. So arguing about the exact amount of vitamin C in the fruit ignores the main point that conventional strawberries are especially to be avoided because of contamination by a recognized poison.

Third, there was no long-term study of the health effects on humans of consuming organic foods versus conventional foods. The duration of the human studies ranged from two days to two years. Most of the health effects will take a lot longer than that to show up.

So once again we have the media trumpeting the most shocking tidbit as if it were representative of the entire study, and leaving out the most important findings—that organic foods are far safer in terms of pesticide content, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and GMOs. The media also didn’t bother doing a critical analysis of the study’s methodology and rarely even offered a fair presentation of what the study’s critics had to say.

ANH-USA will be contacting each media outlet and asking for a correction to be published. We won’t hold our breath. As our readers know, Big Food Companies, like Big Pharma companies, are Big Advertisers, and the conventional media seems to tailor its stories accordingly.

Read the full article and comment here: http://www.anh-usa.org/new-junk-science-study-dismisses-nutritional-value-of-organic-foods/

 


0 commentsback to post

Other articlesgo to homepage

Repairing your Microbiome: Making Kefir at Home

Repairing your Microbiome: Making Kefir at Home

Pin It

Cultured dairy is a traditional food in many cultures. When refrigeration isn’t available fresh milk can only keep for a couple of days before it spontaneously cultures, as in sour or clabbered milk. Adding a starter culture – be it from a previous batch or other source – has long been the method of creating consistent flavors and textures in ones cultured milk.

Milk kefir is one of these cultures. Thought to originate in the Caucuses Mountains, this culture is added to fresh milk and allowed to culture for 12-24 hours, sometimes even longer, and results in a tangy, flavorful milk with the consistency of a pourable yogurt.

Milk kefir has many health benefits, and can be made at home.

How to Make a Gluten Free Cheesecake

How to Make a Gluten Free Cheesecake

Pin It

Cheesecakes are a classic dessert, with many different flavor variations and types. For those on a gluten free diet, finding a 100% gluten free cheesecake recipe that doesn’t skimp on flavor or texture, and still blows you away, can be a bit of a challenge. Many popular cheesecakes like the New York style use a bit of flour in the filling, and the classic graham crust is hard to replace. Even though gluten free grahams are available to purchase, they are loaded with highly processed ingredients and are better off not being touched. Meanwhile, the alternative, making them yourself, is extremely time consuming.

There is however, a very easy solution: make a shortbread crust and nix the gluten flours. Shortbread crusts are light, buttery, very quick and easy to make, and compliment any flavor of cheesecake. Here’s how you make one.

Simple Fermented Carrot Sticks and the Two Types of Fermented Vegetables

Simple Fermented Carrot Sticks and the Two Types of Fermented Vegetables

Pin It

Most of us are familiar with sauerkraut, kimchi, and cucumber pickles as forms of fermented vegetables. Or we are, at the very least familiar with the store-bought vinegar-brined modern day versions of what once were lactic acid fermented vegetables.

But you can ferment just about any vegetable, turning it into a lively probiotic-rich snack, condiment, or enzymatic addition to your meals. Here is a simple recipe you can make at home for fermented carrot sticks.

How to Use Raw Honey in Place of Sugar in Baking

How to Use Raw Honey in Place of Sugar in Baking

Pin It

Raw honey is one of the healthiest sweeteners readily available for use in baking. Honey is a much better choice than processed sugar. Granulated sugar made from cane sugar is actually a natural product. However, most types of granulated sugars in the market go through a refining process which strips out most of the natural nutrients.

In addition, granulated sugar from sugar beets is more than likely from a GMO source. If you do use granulated sugar in your recipes, make sure it is organic cane sugar as close to its original source as possible, which is usually very dark and dry.

You’re better off using raw honey, which is a whole food that in its natural state needs no further refining. And its healthier too! The information here will show you how to replace sugar in your baked goods with raw honey.

How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut

How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut

Pin It

There are many ways to preserve food these days. Freezing is popular for its convenience. Canning is gaining resurgence, and rightfully so, for its place in a local and sustainable food economy. Drying fruits and vegetables continues to be a simple way to put food up, especially in hotter, drier climates.

And then there is lactic acid fermentation, also known as lacto-fermentation. If you’ve ever had unpasteurized sauerkraut or true sour pickles, then you’ve eaten fermented vegetables. These are hard to come by, though, in their true raw form so it is helpful if you know how to make them at home.

This article will show just how easy it is make your own raw sauerkraut at home with only 2 ingredients.

read more


Get the news right in your inbox!