Is organic food better for you or for the environment? Doubts about its benefits

Is organic food better for you or for the environment? Doubts about its benefits, In 2012 published a meta-analysis from a Stanford University team investigating whether organic foods are healthier and more nutritious than normal. Of the 50. 000 papers available throughout half a century of research, took into consideration the studies of 137 of them, which they considered “most relevant”. The conclusion: ” there is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organic and conventionally produced foods.” Europe thinks the same, as stated by the European Parliament in another report of its own preparation by 2016, although they added two buts with which the majority of ag entities . The first, that “well-designed studies involving a sufficiently large population” and long-term to resolve this issue are still lacking and that the scientific evidence remains incomplete. The other is that organic foods present, on average, a 30% less risk of pesticide residues, although conventional foods were always within of the safety limits. Now, since “there are substantial data that suggest that the developing brain is very vulnerable to exposure to pesticides and pesticides ”, organic food may be more recommended for the little ones. More nutritious? As we said, the work of 2012 said that he had not found a superior amount of nutrients for the vegetable and animal products of these two cultivation modes. They did find higher levels of omega-3 in organic milk. Other of 2014 said that organic foods had higher levels of antioxidants and fewer pesticides or metalcadmium , although that same study reported that their crops had lower levels of protein and amino acids. Regarding antioxidants, it is one of the great and proven legs of organic benefit, but this benefit does not translate into a benefit to human health . Other investigations find higher levels of phosphorus for organic products, but very few population has a deficit of this element. Experts such as the secretary of the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition believe that these differences do not significantly affect the health of individuals . That is, even if they were, the nutritional value of common foods is already high enough to provide a good diet, and at a lower price. It is knows from other facts, such as that people who eat organic foods tend to have healthier diets than the population mean, and that is why the majority of studies that talk about the positive impact of organic foods on individual health tend to be questioned. This is the classic correlation does not imply causality. In response to the growing misconception that what is labeled “organic” in the supermarket is better, FAO made a publication in 2016 which concluded that organic food is a certification and marketing standard, but not a standard referred to health or environmental. There are interests in the traditional and chemical industry in finance studies pro conventional industry , while they have also found interference from the organic front to enact its virtues via studies with dubious conclusions. Organic food is a rising business , and the average price of its food is between a 11 and a 50% more expensive than traditional industry. What is organic ?, to all this. Well, as exposed in this video of El País , a legal term that is worth also for organic foods and that refers to all those that have been produced in compliance with the production standards set out in the European regulation 834 from 2007. You can read here all the specifics , but its decisive factor implies that no “Synthetic” pesticides are used, although fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides are used provided they are of natural origin, such as manure, sulfur and copper. In the same way, although the organic farming label does not allow the use of hormones, you can use medications , including antibiotics, in the minimum amounts necessary. What if it’s worse for the environment? That’s the other big discussion on all of this, and it doesn’t have a clear answer either. On the one hand, that label of “organic” does not necessarily mean local consumption : you can eat organic tomatoes brought from Brazil, so the environmental cost of transportation is out of the equation here. We have also seen here previously that the carbon footprint of transport is not the most important for the environmental damage of what we eat, the most important being how much meat we eat (and especially veal). It is also true that, as organic does not directly use synthetic fertilizers, the entire cycle of their production and management of their waste, harmful to water, is saved. Now, if we look at how good or bad standard or organic farming is for the land, we find that there is an added conflict. Yes, eco-crops can encourage crop rotation, but, according to a meta-analysis of 2012 published in Nature , organic farming produces, on average, and under comparable conditions, a 24% less harvest than conventional . We also know that “the increased use of land in organic agriculture indirectly leads to higher carbon dioxide emissions , thanks to deforestation “. This is something that would greatly affect, for example, the areas of the tropics, with a natural biodiversity so rich that any crop is worse than no crop. The study of Nature also contemplated that it takes twice the space in terms of organic farming to produce a liter of milk , and other recent studies suggest that, as organic cows are not hormonalized , they produce less meat, so their environmental footprint is, per kilo of meat, similar to conventional livestock. Of course, the cows of organic farmers tend to live happier, a factor that we must not underestimate regarding consumer preferences . FAO argues that there is enough arable land to feed everything the planet even if all crops were organic. Images: Unsplash. Magnet Newsletter Subscribe to receive every day the latest news and the most important news to understand and enjoy the world .