You've been told time and time again you should be eating organic foods. "Organic" has basically become synonymous for "better for you," but should you actually be choosing foods labeled as organic over conventionally produced foods? Could organic food actually be worse for you?
In a new video by YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE, researchers attempt to answer this very question by taking a closer look at the science behind eating an organic diet.
Here are a few things we learned:
1. Organic farmers can use pesticides. They just can't be synthetically made.
2. However, studies have shown that some natural pesticides are actually a more serious risk to our health and environment than manmade ones.
4. "After analyzing 237 studies, researchers concluded that organic fruit and veggies are no more nutritious than conventionally grown food," according to the video.
"However, long-term studies of purely organic diets are difficult as most people eat a mixture of foods with non-organic ingredients," the narrator added.
4. Organic foods have a higher incidence of being dangerous.
5. Not all organic and conventional foods are produced by the same methods.
"Production methods vary greatly for both organic and conventional foods from one farm to another or from local farms to factory farms. It's like a combination of methods that will lead to the greatest results for your health and the environment." the narrator said. "When it comes to your own health, it's really a combination of diet, exercise, various other lifestyle choices, and, of course, your genetics."
Of course, this doesn't mean you should completely opt out of eating organic foods. "The truth is eating organic foods can be good for you and in, some ways, better for the environment, but it's not the end all and be all," the narrator points out. "Organic and conventional foods can coexist and don't have to be at odds with each other."
That is to say that it's important to look at many other factors than just whether the label on your tomato says "organic."
For one, it's not necessarily better for your health. "In the long term, there is currently no direct evidence that consuming an organic diet leads to improved health or lower risk of disease," the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a press release, after conducting an extensive analysis of scientific evidence surrounding organic produce, meat, and dairy products.
There's no denying that produce made without pesticides is better for the environment. But it's also important to pay attention to where your produce is being farmed. If it's being produced internationally and then shipped to your nearest grocery store, the transportation of that produce has a larger carbon footprint than the fruits and vegetables grown locally. Food grown internationally also comes along with its own ethical issues such as whether the farms have safe working conditions and are paid a fair wage.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you're eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, exercising, and drinking enough water. But if you educate yourself on where your food is coming from and how it's being made, you might just make the world a better place.