A recent study from Stanford University has created uproar over organic foods, claiming organic food was not more nutritious than conventional food.   The review, which looked at 240 studies from around the world on the health effects of eating organic and the comparative levels of nutrients and contaminants, made headlines because it supposedly struck a blow against the perception that cheaper, conventional grown produce – which usually involves both pesticides and chemical fertilizers – is bad for you. While determining whether organic foods are better than conventional foods has been highly debatable, the USDA makes no claims that organic foods are safer or more nutritious than conventional foods.   In regards to one’s health there isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, the real issue and reason why most people  buy organic foods is the exposure to pesticides, restriction of food additives and buying organic helps the environment. The article failed to mention these factors as well as GMO’s, high fructose corn syrup, mercury in food supply and countless others.  As a result of this fatally flawed study 2,900 have signed a petition at change.org calling for the paper to be withdrawn.

Based on the extreme uproar the study has caused it makes me wonder how important buying organic really is and whether buying organic is better.

To better understand the differences between organic and conventional see the detailed chart.

Conventional Organic
Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth. Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
Spray synthetic insecticides to reduce pests and disease. Spray pesticides from natural sources; use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
Use synthetic herbicides to manage weeds. Use environmentally-generated plant-killing compounds; rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.
Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth. Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing — to help minimize disease.


Whether you decide to go totally organic or opt to mix conventional and organic foods, here are some simple tips you can follow to reduce risk of pesticides when buying produce suggested by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Select a variety of foods from a variety of sources. This will give you a better mix of nutrients and reduce your likelihood of exposure to a single pesticide.
  • Buy fruits and vegetables in season when possible. To get the freshest produce, ask your grocer what day new produce arrives. Or check your local farmers market.
  • Read food labels carefully. Just because a product says it's organic or contains organic ingredients doesn't necessarily mean it's a healthier alternative. Some organic products may still be high in sugar, salt, fat or calories.
  • Wash and scrub fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water. Washing helps remove dirt, bacteria and traces of chemicals from the surface of fruits and vegetables.

Photo credit: Steph1201