Growing up as a sloven computer nerd, I cared not for my health. It turns out that my health is actually pretty important. That's why I make a conscious effort to eat healthier. This means that I spend more on food buying organic fruits and vegetables. If a recent study is to be believed, I was just wasting money.
Researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine recently published a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine that sought to determine if the health benefits of organic produce actually live up to the claims of being better for you. Consumers definitely think so with the organic produce economy growing from a $3.6 billion business in 1997 to a $24.4 billion business today. Are these foods really better for you though?
The study had researchers going through all the existing studies that compared the health benefits of organic to conventional diets. Unfortunately, there have been no long term studies conducted to determine if organic foods lead to longer lives. The longest study took place over two years.
The researchers came to a conclusion, after comparing countless studies, that there is no significant difference between organic and conventional produce. Interestingly enough, they did find that organic produce contains higher levels of phosphorous than its peers. Organic foods also contained lower levels of pesticides so the risk of chemical-induced sickness is much lower, but conventional produce is usually just as safe.
You may think that somebody at Stanford has something against the organic produce economy. That is not the case as the researchers encourage people to buy organic for more reasons beyond health. They list taste preferences or concern over the impact of traditional farming as reasons to buy organic.
Regardless of your diet, organic or conventional, it's important that you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. All the organic meat in the world isn't going to save you from an early grave. A balanced diet consisting of meats, fruits, vegetables and dairy products are the real life save.