Organic vs Conventional Foods: Sifting Through the Buzz to Uncover Health Truths

Organic foods have been at the heart of a long-standing debate. Are they more nutritious than the standard food sold in supermarkets? The debate led to uncertainty after a controversial Stanford study claimed that organic foods provided no added nutritional value. So, is the extra time, effort, and cost required to consume organic food worth it? Let’s dig deeper.

Flawed Research

There are flaws in the Stanford study. For one, it focused almost entirely on standard vitamin content, a narrow approach to nutrition given the countless phytonutrients in various plant foods. As food columnist Mark Bittman noted: “By which standard you can claim that, based on nutrients, Frosted Flakes are a better choice than an apple.”

The study’s authors did also mention that some people might prefer organic foods because they reduce exposure to pesticides and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, they seemed to dismiss the overall health value of organic food and exposure to residual pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics. Another concerning factor is that the authors have ties to the food industry.

Natural Food

Eating organic food should be a celebration of naturally and ethically grown food that supports our health, farm workers’ health, and the environment. And, there’s new scientific evidence revealing that organic foods offer enhanced nutrition.

A study from Brazilian scientists found that organic tomatoes tend to be significantly smaller than their conventional counterparts. However, organic tomatoes also have much higher concentrations of vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant phytonutrient that has been linked to numerous health benefits. The organic tomatoes were found to have vitamin C concentrations as much as 55% higher than the other variety.

The study also suggests that organic vegetables face a more stressful environment and must repel insects and other potential threats without help from pesticides. This response stresses the plant, which ultimately leads it to produce higher levels of compounds that are beneficial for humans to consume.


People often seek out organic foods because they’re concerned about pesticides, which have been linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, autoimmune disease, and numerous other chronic, degenerative conditions.

Organic foods can definitely reduce our exposure to pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and other harmful compounds, but they don’t entirely eliminate it. Health-robbing chemicals can even be found in some organic foods, as they contaminate our waterways, air, soil, and animal products. This is why, along with eating organic food, it is important to actively work to detoxify our bodies through gentle and safe detoxification methods.

Protecting Organic Standards

One pressing issue is that the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) has pointed out that organic standards are potentially being diluted by the National Organic Standards Board. Without strict standards and proper labeling, it will be difficult to tell which products are free of (or at least contain minimal amounts of) conventional agricultural chemicals.

You can take action by informing yourself about the potential changes to organic standards and signing petitions to the National Organic Standards Board. Preserving organic agriculture is essential for our health, the health of future generations, and the planet.