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The Truth, Shall Set You Free.

To Eat or NOT to Eat...Organic is the question!

 

 

As the debate continues to rage on regarding the health benefits of a diet consisting of organic food, some of us are like children, standing in the middle of the cornfield scratching our heads.  While I have not explored this issue to extremes, I have certainly seen the ever-expanding organic sections in my local grocery store.  These supposed, better for you items generally hail on the top shelf, with top shelf prices and fancy signs made to stimulate your intellect of “good for you stuff.”  “Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.” (http://www.organic.org/home/faq)  Even the USDA has jumped on the organic bandwagon by regulating those farmers who bring their wares to our stores and restaurants with a fancy seal of approval.  Ok, straight from our government, with their seal of approval, it must be better for us.  Right?  Obvious more nutritious than that dangerous, cancer causing food we have consumed for decades.  

The United States Department of Agriculture states on their website, “Organic farming systems rely on ecologically based practices such as cultural and biological pest management, exclusion of all synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones in crop and livestock production.”  (http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=ORGANIC_CERTIFICATIO)  This certainly gives me the impression that eating organic is better.  After all who wants synthetic chemicals in our bodies?  “Ecologically based practices”, now who doesn’t want to save our planet?  “The National Organic Program, has several agreements in place with other countries to facilitate trade of U.S. organic products while also ensuring a consistent supply of organic products for U.S. markets.”  So if our government needs to ensure that we as consumers are supplied with organic products from other countries (in case we run out), then this must be serious issue in regards to our health.  

As much as I trust our government to guide my healthful food choices I have to question their involvement in the organic market.  I mean, for goodness sakes we have been growing and consuming our food, straight from the ground from the beginning of time...organic.  But the USDA website in a roundabout way, suggests that organic food with the USDA seal of approval is somehow better for you.  “Look at the label. If you see the USDA organic seal, the product is certified organic and has 95 percent or more organic content.”  (http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOPConsumers)  The site also goes into detail about the care and treatment of the critters that people are going to eat.  So that chicken that got to roam free on the range will certainly hold more health benefits than his cousin down the street that is stuffed into a cage for the 3 months of his life.  

 

The problem with these certifications and assertions made by this government agency is that all they are really trying to do is to regulate those unscrupulous farmers from making a buck off the word “organic” if their product is not truly “organic”.  That USDA organic seal does not make the food anymore or less healthful to us.  As a matter of fact I could not find one credible source that makes the claim that an organic product has any greater nutritional value than those that do not claim the organic moniker.  Nutrition for nutrition they are the same.  “...no evidence of a health benefit attached to organic foods.”  

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/09/04/is-organic-food-better

So if that truly is the case, then why?  Why go to the expense, risk more rapid spoilage to sell a more expensive product if the health benefits do not outweigh the costs?  David L. Katz writer for health.usnews.com seems to believe that there is some evidence to suggest that, at least in some organic foods, there is a higher nutrition rate.  He states in his Sept. 4th, 2012 editorial, Is Organic Food Better, “There was some evidence of higher antioxidant levels in organic produce, and higher omega-3 levels in organic poultry and dairy.”   But goes on to say that there were no clear health benefits.  I am by no means a certified nutritionist but it seems logical to me that if there were higher levels of those amazing antioxidants everyone raves about these days then one could conclude that is BETTER!  And how about those omega-3 levels?  Heck I don’t know what they are or what they do, but I do know however that it is one of the ingredients in my multi-vitamin.  Must be good for you...and higher doses must be even better.

Katz goes on to state this in his ambiguous blog, “But as noted above, failure to find a health benefit may be more about absence of such evidence, than true evidence for the absence of such an influence.”  Ok, so what does that even mean?  Is it a riddle?  Perhaps a code meant only for the organic groupies to understand?  Katz asks us to use our imagination a few times in regards to pesticides linked to cancer and other maladies, and then poses another riddle for us to ponder; “So, a considerable health benefit of eating organic remains possible—but consigned to the world of statistical invisibility.”  I was never very good at riddles.  And let’s also consider the statement I made earlier regarding organic and conventionally grown foods...the statement I quoted, “...no evidence of a health benefit attached to organic foods.”  Is a direct quote from Katz.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/09/04/is-organic-food-better

Katz tries to play the planet card, evoking my humanity to our Dear mother Earth; “In general, its production is kinder and gentler to the planet, and our fellow species.”  Seems to me this is more of a neo-political move than one of health concerns.

Then there are the real organic freaks who would rather starve to death than eat a can of Chef Boyarde .  And then there are the people who have completely lost their minds...organic minded pet owners.  Brad Kriser, founder and CEO of an all-natural, organic pet food, aptly named Kriser’s was interviewed by KCAL9 studios in Los Angeles on Sept. 25th, 2012 (http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/09/25/go-organic-with-your-pets-food-with-tips-from-krisers/) touted the health benefits of his pet food which he claims is, “better food for your pet!”  Kriser claims that his organic pet food can, “Improve skin and coat, Better digestion, improve immunity, Feed less”.  Well, I have to wonder, how can an organic pet food product make such a claim to the enhanced nutrition of their food but study after study performed on food for human consumption finds no life changing benefits?  Is the physiology of humans so different than that of its best friend?  

Kriser states on his company website (http://www.krisers.com/blog/)  We are firm believers in the benefits of our products and services and it’s very humbling to receive such an award. Our goal is to deliver high-quality pet food and supplies to help all pets stay as happy and healthy as possible.”  He also claims that his organic pet foods are his commitment to help pets live a longer healthier life.    Now I just want to know how is it that a pet food company can propagate these health benefits, win awards, state claims that are unfounded in the world of USDA Seals and no one cries FOUL.  Or could it be that this pricey pet provision just contains less fillers and more proteins and this is the reason for the health enhancement.  That the “all natural, organic” aspect has absolutely nothing to do with visible results.  Ok so I have to find out.  The majority of the top ten organic dog foods contained no  horrible by-products (fillers) and almost every one contained high amounts of protein. (http://www.dogfoodscoop.com/dog-food-comparison.html)   Even Paul Newman has traded in the sauce for the organic pet food.  (http://www.newmansownorganics.com/pet/faqs/)  However, his pet food is USDA certified.  Which, I suppose means that I could chow down with the puppies.  One of the customer comments on Newman’s organic website states, “Once they got back on Newman's Own Organics, they were happy, healthy, eating and pooping regularly again.”    I found this little tidbit on Newmans site to be quite interesting, “Newman's Own Organics organic pet food uses human grade and fit for human consumption ingredients such as natural chicken and organic grains. The AAFCO Board (Association of American Feed Control Officials), which is the regulatory agency for animal foods, actually prohibits the printing of "Human Grade" on pet food packaging.” (http://www.newmansownorganics.com/pet/petfoodfaq.php#Q_156)  Perhaps the reasoning for this is because we, as humans would expect our digestive health to be regular, our hair to be soft and shiny and by consuming this our health would be improved and we would most likely live longer.  At least that is what the peddlers of the organic pet foods claim will happen to our pets by feeding them organic food.  Although, these organic dog foods claim that their pet poop is regular but less (not as much poop to clean up) than the average dog on that horrible non-organic food.  I suppose I am just really ignorant and a dogs digestive tract is completely different than that of his best friend the human (NOT), and eating organic is supposed to make him poop less but it is to our benefit as a biped to poop more and frequently to be healthy, and eating organic will urge us to, um achieve this  …?  

So what do I really think about all this organic hype?  Well, what I do know is this; 100 years ago the average lifespan in the United states was 47.  All of our food was so called “organic”...farmers and the average Joe grew it and ate it.  We didn’t have pesticides, the crops were watered when it rained.  No one really cared if the pigs were happy in dirty little pig pens, well except for Charlotte, but that’s another story.  I am also not a nutritional anthropologist but I suspect the organics of the food people ate back then had little to do with their longevity as much as it had to do with the first basic necessity of life---FOOD.  

It seems apparent to me, from all three sources researched that there is certainly an agenda where the organic food market is concerned; perhaps even a two-fold agenda.  The first is a provocation by the liberal left to eat organic and by doing so you will not only save the planet but provide a humane, dignified life and death for the animals consumed as certified organic. Prior to the  organic blitz people actually thought that this type of food was more healthful to our bodies, cured cancers, prolonged life, etc.   And that is the reason why almost every google search on the subject states, “Is organic REALLY better?”, “Do organic Foods Promote better Health?”...and the like.  Because tests and studies have proven organic foods to not show any beneficial health results than their commercially grown counterparts.

To understand the second all we need to do is follow the flow of the dough.  The organic food industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of U.S. agriculture.  “The current demand for organic produce is increasing faster than supply...” (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe732)   And the Government wants its cut in this BIG business, this profit maker!  This being said, and with the first Lady of Obama land telling us we should all grow a garden and eat more healthful then why oh why is the government doing things like this?  “State authoritarians recently raided a picnic at an organic farm after State health authorities were informed that the farm was hosting a picnic without their permission.  The raid took place at the Quail Hollow Farm,  operated by Laura and Monty Bledsoe, which is a type of Community Supported Agricultural farm.”  (http://www.libertariannews.org/2011/11/10/authorities-raid-picnic-in-nevada-force-chef-to-pour-bleach-on-good-food/)  All the food at this event was thrown into the tash and bleech was poured all over it so no one could eat it.  Because the government doesn't want this little money maker to be out of their control!

 

So if we are being educated on the actual facts regarding organic foods and the lack of evidence to support health benefits, why then are so many people buying into the hype?  Could it be the slick marketing campaigns that cause us to question using that poisonous high fructose corn syrup?  Or the fear of having babies with 2 heads if we eat Genetically modified Frankenfoods?  I must say though, after reading this:The Food and Drug Administration, however, told the Times it does not regulate the pesticidal potato because it does not have the authority to regulate pesticides; that responsibility, it claims, falls on the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA, meanwhile, says labeling pesticidal potatoes is under the FDA’s purview, since potatoes are a food. But the FDA says federal law forbids the food agency from including information about pesticides on foods.”  (http://www.naturalchoice.net/articles/gmos.htm)  I am gripped with fear and have lost all sensibility and may perhaps rethink my original stance on organic foods.   And I may just grow a garden!

Please pass the potatoes, but make sure they are organic.



 

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