It happens to all of us. You are in the supermarket, you buy vegetables and products, and you are faced with the inevitable choice: organic products, or normal food? This question has a different meaning for each person. For some, consuming organic products is intended to lead a healthier or more nutritious diet. For others, it means being respectful of the environment. And, for many others, eat tastier food.
But in all cases there is a common factor: whatever the reason why these products are consumed, the truth is that they are always more expensive. The question that arises, therefore, is the following : is it worth paying more for organic food, or is there really no difference between these and other normal and cheaper ones? Society tends to believe that organic products are healthier and that their production implies less pollution, so many people are willing to pay that extra price. In this article we reveal what science says about it.
There are no big differences between organic and conventional products
The truth is that there is very little scientific evidence to support the apparent health benefits of organic products. A macro study carried out by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2009 that has analyzed more than 52 thousand scientific reports produced in the last 50 years concluded that there was no difference at the nutritional level between foods considered organic and conventional foods . Further studies later found that there were slightly higher levels of phosphorus and antioxidants and lower levels of cadmium in organic products. Data that, although positive, do not necessarily justify the marked difference in price between one and the other.
In 2012, a team of researchers from Stanford University compared nutrient levels and bacterial, fungal, or pesticide contamination of various products (fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds, meats, milk, poultry, and eggs) grown from organic and conventional way. The results showed that there is little significant difference in health benefits between organic and conventional foods , as well as no consistent differences in the vitamin, protein and fat content of organic versus non-organic products. These results are also consistent with those of a very recent EFSA study, which concludes that exposure to pesticide residues through food does not pose any risk to human health, either in the case of short-term or long-term exposure.
Organic products are more environmentally friendly, but not in all cases
There is no doubt that the biological cultivation of animals is more ethical and offers better living conditions for living beings than industrial production. It is designed to ensure that animals are treated with the least possible cruelty throughout the process and producing meat in a conventional way on farms is less harmful to the environment . But when it comes to vegetables, there are misconceptions about organic farming that make us believe that it is more respectful of the environment and our health.
Organic food is completely free of genetically modified organisms, which is why some organically grown plants are less resistant to pests. This means that more pesticides and herbicides (such as glyphosate or glufosinate) must be used in traditional agriculture to eliminate weeds more quickly and efficiently. Therefore, organic food is not free from the use of polluting chemicals during its production.