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Research into Organic Food

Man I am a bad guy!! It’s been an age since I blogged and I’ve had a bee under my bonnet for a while, just wanting to get out…so here goes!!

I read in the ST recently that new research just published found there is no evidence that organic food has any greater nutritional value than conventionally grown food. Apparently this research collated data from a swag of studies completed on organic food Versus conventionally grown food. Did anyone see this? It had a BIG headline and was in a prominent section of the paper.

Ok so a couple of things here.

I believe most people anecdotally would feel that organic food is better for us, right or wrong? So what is the purpose of this research and who would want to see this research undertaken? I was taught always to want to try and investigate the underlying reasoning on why a piece of research is undertaken. Who will it benefit? Obviously in a lot of cases people and groups wanting to get a positive statement supporting their stance on a given matter will try and produce “evidence” that their point of view/product/service is better than an alternative, considering that that alternative may be doing nothing or maybe another product or service.

In this case I would hazard a guess that conventional farmers, concerned that their livelihoods are slowly being undermined by a trend of shoppers buying more and more organic foods, have initiated the study. This in my opinion is highly a plausible scenario. I mean it happens all the time that groups with vested interests in outcomes establish research protocols that benefit/support their stand.

Interesting in this case the PR/spin machine that has subsequently used these results and promoted them very successfully in media around the world. What for me is worrying is the angle that the reports have taken in supporting the research findings that, “there appears to be no greater nutritional value in organic foods compared to conventionally grown foods”.

Is this why people buy organic foods? Well for me it’s NOT the primary reason. For me the primary reason I buy organic foods is because the growing of the foods uses no chemical fertilisers, no antibiotics, no growth hormones, no additives to assist colour and nothing else that can contaminate the food (so obviously genetically modified foods can’t be organic, thankfully, well at least not yet. I’m sure Monsanto goons are plotting how they can do this). So my reason for buying organic food is contamination, or more correctly knowing the food is NOT contaminated!

At the very end of the report in the ST, it stated that unfortunately the research didn’t address the negative effects of all the chemicals, added hormones, medicines etc when growing conventional foods, so comparing organic food to conventionally grown food on this basis is perhaps something future research could address…..ahhhhh but in the meantime, headline browsers in the ST will have a take-home message that there’s no point paying extra for organic food.

The PR/spin doctors will get their result with the 80% of punters who really can’t be bothered reading the full article (ok so I only did because it’s important to me in my business…….). I just hope it is to you guys as well….

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4 responses

  1. Christine KM

    I hear you mate – but frankly am not sure there are that many people who take the ST”s word as gospel. I certainly don’t.

    June 18, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    • Christine KM

      And scientific research these days is also worthy of scepticism, for many of the reasons you mention but also for the fact that their stats just don’t hold up under scrutiny. I saw one the other day that said that people who take blood pressure drugs are more likely to get cancer – but in the study I think the increased likelihood shown was about 4%.

      June 18, 2010 at 4:18 pm

  2. Lol I agree but articles in the ST they have borrowed from other media sources sometimes are worthy of reading. I always scan down for the source and if it’s a larger foreign agency/paper I’ll generally read it.

    June 19, 2010 at 4:18 am

  3. dean

    I know this is sidetracking but since we are on the topic of nutrition

    The Calorie Theory Myth

    No one eats calories; calories are just a measurement (as is an inch) and have no substance. A calorie is a unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree at one atmosphere pressure (does this sound like a human body?).

    The calorie theory is based on the heat engine analogy also known as thermodynamics by engineers. The human body is not a heat engine, as they would like you to believe. The human body is more like a complex chemical factory than it is a heat engine.

    Food is converted in to complex substances and structures and not as a machine designed for heat production, which the measurement of a calorie is.

    A scientist named Adolph Fick proved in 1893 that living cells cannot be heat engines. Biological systems like humans are isothermal (equal temperature) systems. Cells cannot act as heat engines, for they have no means of permitting heat to flow from a warmer to a cooler body.

    Nobel Prize-winner, Hans Krebs, mentioned in his book about another Nobel Prize-winner, Otto Warburg, M.D., Ph.D. “Fick made it clear in 1893 that living cells cannot be heat engines…”

    Herman Taller, M.D, author of Calories Don’t Count stated, “One could assert with absolute certainty that the calorie theory has no scientific basis whatsoever”

    In 2003, Harvard University study found people on a low carbohydrate diet could eat 25,000 more calories than those on a high carbohydrate diet over a 12-week period and they gained no additional weight. If the calorie theory was correct then the low carbohydrate group should have gained a little over 7lbs of fat.

    In another study conducted at Harvard University, some participants ate only carbohydrates, while other participants ate twice as many calories of only protein. Although the protein eaters ate twice as many calories as the carbohydrates eaters, they didn’t gain any weight, whereas the carbohydrates eaters gained weight despite eating fewer calories.

    In yet another semi-related study shows that a low-carb diet is more successful than a low-fat diet. In the two-year study, 322 moderately obese people were given one of three diets: a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet; a Mediterranean calorie-restricted diet; or a low-carbohydrate diet with the fewest carbohydrates, highest fat, protein, and dietary cholesterol. The low-carb dieters had no caloric restrictions. At the end of the study the low-fat, calorie-restricted dieters lost 6.5 lbs, the Mediterranean dieters lost 10 lbs, and the low-carb dieters lost 10.3 lbs. Not only that, but dieters on the low-fat, calorie-restricted diet cholesterol levels dropped 12 percent. The low-carb dieters cholesterol dropped 20 percent.

    Even though studies coupled with real life experience have repeatedly disproven the calorie theory, so-called “experts” haven’t caught up.

    June 20, 2010 at 4:22 pm

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