THERE is growing evidence for the benefit of organic food, according to a previously sceptical doctor who says many agricultural pesticides are lethal to "good" bacteria in the bowel.
"Scientists have always said eating organic food is senseless and makes no difference, as ingested pesticides don't harm humans," says Dr Mark Donohoe, a Sydney GP with a special interest in environmental medicine.
"However, the pesticides kill certain species of gut bacteria, not us." This causes an imbalance that contributes to obesity and poor general health, says Dr Donohoe, speaking at an AustralAsian Academy of Anti-Ageing Medicine Conference in Melbourne.
"This thinking is becoming mainstream, particularly among gastroenterologists. My wife and patients have told me for 20 years that they feel better on an organic diet, but I have said there is no reason why they should."
Food for thought regarding the margarine vs butter debate. Which is healthier? If you leave margarine and butter out on the back porch, the ants will shun the margarine.
Celery is well-liked by the health-conscious because it’s low in calories — but the stalky veggie is not low in another health concern: pesticides. Eat conventionally farmed celery, and you’re eating the veggie found to have the most pesticide residue, according to green nonprofit Environmental Working Group’s latest Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.
In a new version of the Guide, celery displaces the peach as the dirtiest piece of produce — though both were already on the “Dirty Dozen” list of most tainted produce last time around too. New inductees into the list are blueberries, spinach and potatoes — which replaced lettuce, carrots and pears.
Chemical Control of Leafminer in Celery:
Current control practices require numerous applications and rotations of insecticides. Control costs are high and only a small number of insecticides are effective. Leafminer exhibits high fecundity and pesticide-tolerance, factors that limit the lifespan of any given insecticide directed at it. In California, the carbamate compound oxamyl (Vydate) has served as a mainstay control agent since its registration in the late 1970’s. Abamectin (Agri-mek) entered the rotation in the mid-1980s, and in 1998, cyromazine became the newest chemical tool for leafminer control.
The humble lentil has long had a reputation as a healthy food. It contains 26% protein (higher than any other vegetable except for soybeans), and, when combined with rice, forms a complete protein, or one containing all essential amino acids. Lentils are also high in vitamin B1 (thiamine) and iron, which is particularly important for pregnant or menstruating woman and adolescents.
Lentils are available in cans, and - while not nutritionally deficient - err on the side of caution when it comes to ALL canned goods, owing to the controversial chemical BPA (Bisphenol A) used in the canning process. So, stick with the bulk bins at your local organic food store for all varieties of lentils.
Organic MILK has risen in popularity in large part because of concerns over bovine growth hormone, used to stimulate milk production on conventional dairy farms. The hormone occurs naturally in cows, so the US Food and Drug Administration has argued that use of the hormone "does not change the milk". Few would agree with the idea that's ok to add growth hormones to your cereal in the morning however.
Consider these organic facts next time you get the munchies:
1. Certified Organic farming bans the use of toxic pesticides used in producing conventionally farmed foods, which scientific studies have linked to certain cancers, ADHD, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, obesity, autism, infertility, miscarriage, and other serious health problems. Yummy!
2. Organic farming bans the use of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). This technology has never been tested for long-term effects on human health. Worth the risk?
3. Many conventional nonorganic products contain high-fructose corn syrup, a highly processed ingredient that commonly contains mercury. This man-made sweetener has been linked to obesity and diabetes.
4. Organic bans the use of toxic artificial food dyes.
5. It is illegal for certified organic farmers to use human sewage sludge as a fertilizer for crops, something conventional farmers may do. This sludge is often laced with shampoo chemicals and heavy metals, and sometimes, even waste from funeral homes. Delicious!
6. Certified Organic chicken production bans the use of arsenic in chicken feed, something that is perfectly legal in conventional systems (arsenic is used because it makes chickens grow faster). This practice can lead to arsenic-laced chicken waste, which is then frequently used to fertilize conventional food crop fields. Anyone for seconds?