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The jury is still out on organic foods.

Recently, researchers at Stanford University said organic foods may not necessarily be healthier than non-organic foods.

The scientists examined 200 peer-reviewed studies that have promoted organic foods as part of a healthy diet.

In general, these studies have suggested organic foods are healthier because they lack synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or other substances.

However, researchers at Stanford found there is a lack of evidence supporting these claims.

According to a National Public Radio article, they found out only “a few of these studies followed people who were eating either organic or conventional food and looked for evidence that the choice made a difference in their health.” 

“There‘s a definite lack of evidence,” researcher Crystal Smith-Spangler concluded.

Additionally, the researchers argued it probably doesn’t matter that conventional foods have more pesticide contamination in them.

“They found that the vast majority of conventionally grown food did not exceed allowable limits of pesticide residue set by federal regulations,” NPR reported.

There is one problem: the study only collected and analyzed a small portion of the literature that covers organic foods. The fact of the matter is, organic products are still very new to the market. The health benefits may not be apparent until someone has led a healthy lifestyle for an actual lifetime. Clearly, the current average American is not leading the healthiest lifestyle. 

With rising obesity, heart disease and diabetes rates, the American public is in need of a diet makeover. This research does not debate that fact, and obviously, the only thing harmed by buying organic may be our wallets.

These researchers did reveal an important fact: that the science community doesn’t really know much about organic foods and how beneficial they can be for consumers. In other words, proceed with caution.

This should indicate one thing: that consumers need to be aware of the products they are buying. Most consumers are more swayed by brand names than the actual ingredients in their products. 

Consumers should never be lured into buying organic foods simply because of the “organic” label. They cost more and may not even be any more beneficial than its competitors. 

However, it is important to become familiar with these products and see if the conventional items have any substances that may be harmful or less healthy than organic ones that leave them out.

In years to come, there is no doubt the debate about what we eat will rage on. This study may eventually be overturned, or, this study may be further investigated and the organic phase may die off. In any case, this study means one thing: be smart.

Whether or not you choose to buy organic, name brand or local only, be aware of what you are purchasing so you can make an educated decision.

—WC Editorial Board


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