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Is Organic a Scam? – Nutrient Differences

by Racer X Virtual Trainer


Organic is topic that most people feel strongly about. You either believe it's good for you and will never let anything that does not cotain the Organic seal of approval past your lips or you think it's all a bunch of crap. Personally, I tend to think that if you can afford to eat Organic, then it's a no brainer. Eat Organic. I try to live by the rule that I should do everything I can in life to extend the time I have and Organic certainly isn't going to contribute to my demise. But on the other hand I'm not such a nut that I think a little conventionally grown food is going to kill me. If figure if I die from that, I'll consider myself lucky that number 1056 on the list of things that could have killed me, got me.

There seem to be two arguments when it comes to Organic food. The first (and the easiest to defend) is whether Organic is better for you because it does not contain pesticides, herbicides, and a whole lot of other -cides. To me, there is no arguing this point and the research supports the notion. The second, and more difficult to defend, is if organic food is healthier because it contains more nutrients. It is an interesting debate and several credible studies seem to contradict each other. But to me, I could care less if Organic contains more nutrients (or heck even if it had a few less) as long as my chicken and milk are hormone free and my Peaches don't taste like they have been rolling around in Fludioxonil. But none the less, it is still an interesting debate and one worth investigating.

One such article that I found very interesting and dives into the nitty, gritty details of the nutritional research is this article from Mark's Daily Apple. It does a great job of breaking down the facts, presenting the varying points of view and offers a conclusion. Read on my friends and enjoy!

Even if you can get folks to begrudgingly admit that organic foods tends to contain fewer pesticide residues than conventional (and that this might even impact a person’s health or the way a child develops), they’ll dig in their heels when it comes to the nutritional content. And why shouldn’t they? Organic isn’t really about getting more vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients; it’s always been about getting vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients without the conventional pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides that so often accompany conventional produce. The presupposition that proponents of organic produce claim it contains more nutrients is a bit of a straw man, as that claim is rarely – if ever – made.

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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  1. Gravatar
    pizzacorner October 11, 2012 at 10:03 am

    " Organic is better for you because it does not contain pesticides, herbicides, and a whole lot of other -cides. To me, there is no arguing this point and the research supports the notion."

    So were is this research that these pesticides have an ill-effect on anything? Do not point me to a Liberal POS website with a blog post. I want long term tests with proof.

    How much pesticides are actually absorbed by the fruit or vegetable?

    Stop perpetuating the great Pesticide scare, you actually know nothing and this article shows that.

    Natural-100% Natural-Organic-Certified Organic is all a marketing SCAM...period

    It is all a scam, just like Ryan Hughes... Did anyone read the DirtRider article on RynoPower supplements? The stuff is garbage...

  2. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer October 11, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Pizza - Go for it my brother. Eat all the pesticide infested food you like. That's the great thing about America. Free choice. And if I get a chance I'll post some links to studies that I believe are not perpetuating "the great Pesticide scare."

    And, yes I did read the Dirt Rider article and to say that DR said the supplements a garbage is a huge misquote. Read the last paragraph. " If you're looking for good supplements, Ryno Power products are as solid as any I've tried, and they were made with racers in mind. Just be sure to know what kind of fuel your engine needs before you start tossing things in the tank!"

    I actually really like the article b/c it says what I've said for years. Supplements should only be used to fill the nutritional void from your regular diet. If your diet is spot on, the normal athlete will not need supplements. And supplementation is an entirely different topic than whether or not to eat organic food.

  3. Gravatar
    Gary Evans October 11, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I have a small pest control buisness, me and 100s of thousands of others work day in and day out with contact to these pesicides with no harm from pesticide poisining. My Grandpa had a small fruit orchard his fruit was the best in the valley he sprayed bi weekly with pesicides the hard core stuff in the 50s DDT (shich should still be legal) etc. He lived on the food in the orchard and his garden which he sprayed constantly spraying trees gets the mist everywhere all over the applicators, he and his wife lived to be 99 years old each in excellent health, thats good enough for me. Organic is pure marketing.

  4. Gravatar
    pizzacorner October 11, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I will wait for those studies...because it is all a scam. The Liberal blog you linked to is a joke.

    I hate Ryno, I believe he is nothing but a motivational-salesman taking money away from young riders looking for help. He takes them for a ride with his made-up "movements" and his private labeled crap supplements.

    I think I might put out some PizzaPower Supplements.

  5. Gravatar
    323mx October 11, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Sorry, but I would agree with the Stanford research instead of the guy writing the article using words like "tend" instead of numbers to back his "research". I have also seen many blind taste tests where people try organic vs non organic, and there is no difference. If people are told the produce is organic, then they thiink it tastes better, even if it actually isn't organic!

  6. Gravatar
    Weak Sauce October 11, 2012 at 11:09 am

    I agree with Pizza Corner organics are entirely a marketing ploy. Countless research has been done by respected agronomists across the nation that the residue difference between organic and conventionally grown produce is minimal at best. Also there is no guarantee that the produce that you are so called buying is entirely organic as the USDA standard for organics is extremely lax and loosely enforced at best. Organics were created as a way to charge a premium for a commodity, one which is higher than conventionally grown produce. The greatest determining factorin the safety of a commodity is the environment in which it is grown i.e. the soil. All soils throughout this country contain contaminents that we are exposed to everyday in ppm's that are not harmful to your health. All produce is cellular and it absorbs these contaminents from the soil. Chemicals are not hazardous to the environment when used properly, in fact they are benefical as many of them put nutrients back into the soil that the crop that was grown depleted during it's growth cycle. All chemicals are applied through a chemigation unit at the designated dilution rate to meet EPA standards, ensure its proper effectiveness and also ensure a safe product to the consumer. Please Racer X do more thourough research before you post an article such as this because there are some of us who make our living farming and do not appreciate falsities being published about our industry. Also be leary of information that is administered by someone who has never done a day of farming in their life and publishes findings from behind a desk. If you truly want to learn about environmental stewardship and providing a safe product to our customers our doors are always open.

  7. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer October 11, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Gary - While I am thrilled that your grand parents lived to be 99, I do not think that proves that pesticides are harmless. My grand parents had the worst diets I have ever seen (my grandfather ate at Hardees almost every day in his retirement of 35 years) and they both smoked for much of their lives. They both died in their upper 80's. My grand mother of colon cancer and Pap fell off a ladder cleaning the gutters. Neither were poster children for what I consider "fit and healthy" living but both lived for a long time and neither died of heart disease. Is this proof that poor diet and smoking are safe? Not in my opinion. Sames goes for pesticides in your case (in my opinion.)

    Another example of a small test that does not prove anything. My daughter is 11 and her cousin lives 30 minutes away and is 5 days older. I would consider her mom and dad and my wife and I to be pretty similar body types. All four of us are healthy and share similar body types. My child has not and from all signs is not close to starting puberty. Her cousin has already developed breasts and has started her period. My wife and I have religiously given our children nothing but organic milk and other foods that they eat daily. The cousins, not so much. They both actually think the organic thing is all bull. But their child is already maturing much quicker and BTW is a whole head taller. Is it organic? Who the heck knows but for me to say it is based on one example is flat out wrong.

    Here is another good article in my opinion.

  8. Gravatar
    Donovan O'Leary October 11, 2012 at 11:13 am

    How can you say a pesticide is not harmfull??? They kill living things! They once claimed that cigarettes were fine - look were that got us - overpriced healthcare.

    You have a moral responsibilty as a human living being to take care of yourself. As a tax payer, I don't want to pick up the healthcare bill on your ignorance.

    There is also an ecological benefit to Organic farming over conventional. If you don't think organic as better, if nothing else, think of it as less detrimental to you, the environment and the world we live in.

    Peace out.

  9. Gravatar
    Kevin October 11, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Third point, which should be the most important...

    What does the soil look like after food is grown organically vs conventional.

    Independent studies show how growing food organically saves soil erosion. Organically grown food is also is more friendly to insects who pollinate and make all our food possible. We are losing our soil. It is a big deal.

    As far as insecticides and herbicides... Why can't we prove something is safe before we wait to see if it is bad for us. Our current approach seems backwards.

    When looking at studies. Consider only independent studies as factual that are not funded by who has something to gain or lose from the outcome.

    Its pretty simple to me... "You are what you eat"

    When I look up what is in pesticides and such it is poison and cancer causing.

    Thanks for bringing more awareness.

    Ride on

  10. Gravatar
    canadianmxfan October 11, 2012 at 11:52 am

    i would be more worried about if it is genetically modified!!! Check that out!!

  11. Gravatar
    Weak Sauce October 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Kevin, you make a valuable point however growing crops orgaincally has absolutely nothing to do with preventing soil erosion. When growing crops organically or conventionally you till the land the same way and also plant and harvest the crop the same. The greatest determining factors in soil erosion are wind and flooding those are what remove your fertile top soil. I do not know which commodity you speak of where insects are benefical as I assure you your produce does not pollinate and magically spring up elsewhere in the field. Each plant comes from a seed that was placed there by a tractor and irrigated to maturity. As for the soil you cannot tell the difference in dirt composition between an organic and conventional field.

    Donovan, let's get one thing straight nothing is grown organically in it's meaning in this country. In order to be truly organic a product must be grown with absolutely no help other than water. In the United States conventially grown crops are supplemented with man made fertilizers and Organic Crops are grown with fertilizers such as fish emulsions, compost, and other decomposing matter. I also beg to differ with you as organic fertilizers can be one of the greatest pollutants of all as they have extremely high contents of nitrogen and other naturally occuring chemicals that have steeped into the ground water due to improper management of organic fertilizers. Organic fertillizers also have extremely high counts of Listeria, E-coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. Last time I checked all three of these bacteria are much greater killers than a chemical ppm content that is well below causing you harm. If you think not remember the cantaloupe, spinach, and tomato recalls of the past 5 years, all the commodities were grown organically and became infected from improper compost management temperature and negligence in sanitation of equipment.

  12. Gravatar
    Donovan O'Leary October 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Weak Sauce - Yes, I believe there is nothing really grown "Organically" that's just sematics. I buy organic simply to make a statement to food suppliers that I,as a consumer, am concerned about the products that I bring home to my family.

    Listeria, E-coli and Salmonella can be managed by simple sanitation and washing the produce. Pesticides not so much. Besides those outbrakes are isolated incidenses based on supplier neglect.

  13. Gravatar
    323mx October 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Donovan: so it's easy for you to dismiss the e-coli incident, but when was the last time you heard of someone dying from eating conventionally grown produce? hmmm?

  14. Gravatar
    Weak Sauce October 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Donovan, it is your right to make choices that you believe are beneficial to your family. However just don't make choices based on if they say organic or not. Read the research from an accredited agricultural university whose faculty's sole purpose is to ensure healthy produce to the nation. Stanford may be many things but it is not an Ag university and a blog is like an opinion everyone has one and they are absolutely useless for presenting facts, it would be like using wikipedia for research. Yes, Listeria, E-coli, and Salmonella can be killed with proper sanitation however that is only on equipment. Once it becomes cellular within the produce it cannot be killed unless it has been cooked to 160F. When was the last time you cooked your fruit, tomatoes, and leafy greens to 160F? That was the cause of those outbreaks, the organic cantelope alone killed 67 people. This is not to alarm you just give you food for thought. Like I said if you really want to see what all goes into the safety of your food visit a local farmer and I'm not talking about those that pose as farmers at the farmer's market that have bought their product they are selling from a producer. I'm talking about visiting an actual producer. None of us would feed the masses that which we do not feed our own families.

  15. Gravatar
    nmdjh123 October 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    You 'organic deniers' are just as comical as another type of denier I can think of. My ex-wife had a lumpectomy, and her oncologist thought that the 3- or 4-fold increase in breast cancer since 1940 was probably caused by pesticides and herbicides, and I've read a lot of other info. that fits that idea. If it kills stuff, why is it a stretch to think that it can mess up your genes/cells?
    I don't think organic has any more or better nutrients - as the article author says, it's what you DON'T get that's important - various -cides, and depending on whether it's produce, meat or packaged goods, you may also not be getting dyes, antiobiotics (the overuse of which is the cause of the 'superbugs' that are killing people these days), hydrogenated oils and more. Anybody who's read anything about eating healthy knows none of this crap is good for you.

  16. Gravatar
    Kevin October 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Weak Sauce, not sure what to say about your post. It has zero fact

    Take it from a 5th generation farmer

    Plants like topsoil. Organic farming helps topsoil and so does flood actually.

    Stanfords tests is a step in the right direction, but did not test all different foods.

    Food we eat the flesh of retain more harmful chemicals then foods we don't like a watermelon.

    Organic Farming Builds Healthy Soil
    To grow healthy food, you must start with healthy soil. If you treat soil with harmful pesticides and chemicals, you may end up with soil that cannot thrive on its own. Natural cultivation practices are far better than chemical soil management.

    A large nine-year study by USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), shows that organic farming builds up organic soil matter better than conventional no-till farming. According to Dr. Elaine Ingham, just one teaspoon of compost-rich organic soil may host as many as 600 million to 1 billion helpful bacteria from 15,000 species. Ingham notes that on the flip side, one teaspoon of soil treated with chemicals may carry as few as 100 helpful bacteria.

    Organic Farming Helps Combat Erosion
    Not only does organic farming build healthy soil, but it helps combat serious soil and land issues, such as erosion. A major study comparing adjoining organic and chemically treated wheat fields, showed that the organic field featured eight more inches of topsoil than the chemically treated field and also had only one-third the erosion loss.

    If you aren't concerned about erosion; you should be. Erosion issues are extremely serious, affecting the land, food supply and humans. However, organic farming practices do help discourage erosion from occurring.

  17. Gravatar
    Tim October 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I think some companies take advantage of the Organic/Natural labeling. It will always happen, thats big business, but being organic is better. Its the way our Grandparents and their parents ate before the big food industry starting messing with things. Disease and cancer is at its highest with all our so called research, cancer funds, medicine, etc. I'll eat fresh grown pesticide free farm food any day over buying packaged junk or GMO food at the stores.

    Funny how our own president and his wife will only allow organic into the white house, have increased their garden, but doesn't care of the rest of the population eats it. He doesn't back the fight against GMO. They don't care. You get sick, you get more medicine, and you pay more money to the big wigs through trying to get healthy, get rid of diabetes, etc.

    For those who think the true organic/natural concept is a scam, please keep eating all the junk, it will leave more good items for the rest of us.

    As far as pesticides, if they were not bad, why would companies like Monsanto create GMO products to not die by pesticides, but yet, they don't feed their own products in the cafeteria to all their top company workers??? Odd isn't it. I'll stick with Natural, biblical type food.

  18. Gravatar
    Donovan O'Leary October 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    323mx - "swing and a miss" you totally missed the point. Those issues can be managed by the consumer, food covered in pesticides or come from a GMO source cannot.

  19. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer October 11, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I want to thank all of you for the great discussion above. No name calling or getting pissed off and all that childish behavior. Some of you obviously know your stuff and thanks for sharing. It has made me dive deeper into the pesticide debate. Keep the discussion rolling. This is good stuff!

  20. Gravatar
    beautiful lies October 11, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    The disgustingly beautiful thing about nutrition is most of it cannot be proven. There are too many factors at all times do any long-term widespread research that will give a definite answer. Why do we have obesity? Calories? Preservatives? Pesticide? GMOs? Lack of excercise? Cortisol? There's never going to be an exact answer.

    Anyways, I work at a processing plant that processes organic and conventional seed. Although the ogranic is not truely 100% by definition if you trace it back too far, organic is totally different and I don't even want to touch conventional, on the job, or with my mouth. One thing the article did not mention(crappy article) about nutritional value is the age of the food when you're consuming it. How do you know you're not eating a year old apple at the store. What makes you think you aren't? Best to stick to good farmer's markets. keep it local. better for everyone.

  21. Gravatar
    Matt October 12, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Two things need clarification:

    1) Organic (per USDA standards) doesn't mean it wasn't sprayed with pesticides. Organic farmers are just limited to different chemicals or substances which they can spray on produce (which includes some heavy metals).

    2) Produce that is stored long term is kept in controlled atmosphere buidlings pumped full of nitrogen. I agree that its usually not the greatest tasting, but it has nothing to do with what was sprayed on it.

    Organic or not, paying attention to what you put in your body is best practice anyways.

  22. Gravatar
    John Blevins October 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    These comments due nothing more than remind me that mx/sx has perhaps THE most ignorant and uneducated fans of any sport in the world. it's really not hard to see why the sport suffers when compared to just about anything else out there.

  23. Gravatar
    Ali Grace October 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    The one thing that I believe in regarding organic is that if you are going to buy organic, buy things that you eat the skin, like apples or plums. Fruits like bananas and oranges you don't eat the skin so even if they are sprayed with chemicals you wont be taking much of it to your body. Whether you believe in organic or not this is a good tip :)

  24. Gravatar
    Mark Holland October 15, 2012 at 4:25 am

    Ever heard about Paul Chek ?
    Read some of his stuff. The food content in produce is about 80% lower than in organic because the soil misses out on alot of minerals, the soil is defiecent. Non organic farming is all about as much produce as possible so they use NPK.. but what about all teh other minerals and trace elements. And then there is the pesticides en herbecides and all other, witch become a whole different chemical when you cook them.. so there is not a doubt in my mind that organic is better no matter what anybody tells you..

  25. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer October 16, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Good article to read in conjunction with this post.

  26. Gravatar
    FarmerX October 22, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I tried to post an article from the American Association of Pediatrics but this site keeps cutting out the body of the article.

    I am a farmer that has converted to "organic".

    The question is, "would you rather down wind from and organic farm or a conventional farm?"

    Think before you answer.

    Conventional agriculture products from California are the safest on the planet, we have so many rules and regulations to provide for food saftey that other countries don't.

    We were having some issue's with plant health an suspected that some chemicals were causing the problem. Once we converted to organic those problems disappeared.

    Pumping soil and plants full of chemicals is not the answer for good soil and crops, good farming practices are. We feel that we made the right choice for our farm.

    BTW, we ain't no hippies, and we are farming more than couple of acres.

    For the record, it is much easier for us to make a living with conventional methods. If we used conventional farming practices I would have much more time to work on public access issues for OHV and much more time to throw roost. Organic is harder and requires much more time in the field but we feel the long term benefits are worth the extra work.

    I am not trying to bash conventional farming. If you are going to buy conventional produce, buy California grown. We grow everything you can think of in this state, from apples to walnuts. Want really good produce, go to a farmers market so you can buy "field ripe" produce, not something that was picked two weeks early so it could be shipped and sit on a shelf for another two weeks. I don't know if the produce is more nutritious but it definately tastes better!

    Steve the Farmer

  27. Gravatar
    Atli Mar Magnusson October 26, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Why is everyone linking organic food with only pesticide.

    I don't think pesticides are good for anyone, but I buy organic food mostly to avoid things like HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, ASPARTAME, MSG, growth stimulants (hormone) and many others that I don't want in my food.

    Google MSG fed Mice. MSG fed Mice became Grossly Obese. This was being studied in 1968 and is sill in our food today.

    USA is the most obese country in the world. Don't tell me that has nothing to do with the food.

    @Gary Evans, with all do respect, the food your grandparents ate most of their life was probably much healthier and closer to Organic food than the food people are eating today.

    @Tim Crytser, good article.

  28. Gravatar
    farmer855 February 22, 2013 at 9:21 am

    I will start by saying I realize most will not care what I write here as their opinions are already set in stone but a few things to ponder for those out there that live and die "organic." Organic is a nice word and it gives people this warm fuzzy feeling inside like they are somehow bettering themselves and the environment by supporting organic agriculture. The problem is most people don't a clue as to the actual definition of organic farming and the practices of modern day agriculture in general.

    I grew up on a farm and have been involved in farming my whole life. I graduated from Penn State with an agricultural degree and continue to farm with my family today. I am not going to tell people what to do as it is a free country but I will voice my opinion...take it or leave it....just think about it.

    I wish people would educate themselves throughly instead of relying on a few things they read or see here and there. The most important thing people need to do is not be concerned if produce is organic or not, but rather where it is coming from. Regardless if organic or not, supporting local family farms is the most important. Local produce is not transported far therefore is fresher. Nutrition is equal in all produce, nutrients are lost as the produce ages and also many times when cooked. Therefore, do not worry so much about organic or not but rather focus on eating fresh, raw local produce for best nutrition. Visit a local produce farm and talk to them. My family tries to educate people and gladly answer any questions. What you will find is that family farms that are lucky enough to still be in business actually care about the food they produce and the land they produce it on. Most are not greedy corporate farms that have created this negative stigma towards conventional agriculture. The fact is modern agriculture is closer to this "organic" idea that most people misinterpret.

    First, if one were to look into organic you would realize that the majority of it is NOT pesticide free. There is no such thing as pesticide free farming (at least not that will profit anything). Organic farmers are allowed to use pesticides that are not synthetic, such as naturally occurring chemicals like rotenone's and pyrethins. A lot of these chemicals although naturally occurring are quite toxic. They may be better than the nasty chemicals like DDT we used back in the old days but most of the synthetic pesticides today used in conventional farming are as safe if not safer than organic pesticides. Science and technology are an amazing thing. In addition most of the recent food outbreaks be it e-coli, listeria, etc have sourced from organic farms. They replace synthetic fertilizer with manure...nothing wrong with that but it has to be done a certain way. When the plants run out of steam and they have a large investment out there they will resort to techniques that are unsafe and sometimes illegal to keep a profit possible just like any other crook. This results in the handling and application of shit-sometimes human shit- incorrectly and next thing you know thousands are sick. You gotta know what you're doing when applying bacteria ridden feces around human food!!!!

    This is why studies that are actually not biased have shown pesticide residues to be the same in organic and non organic produce. And the "organic" pesticides are often more toxic than the modern synthetic pesticides.

    Organic farming uses a lot more land to produce the same amount of given produce that regular farming does. This is bad as we use more precious resources such as land and water to do so. With more development and a greater population already destroying farmland every day; using more land, water and resources to produce food is not smart as a society. Organic farming can only feed 4 billion people if all agriculture went organic. We are already way past that as a population and continuing to grow. So who should starve?

    Lastly regulation. The U.S does a good job of regulating food: when in comparison to the rest of the world. However, the USDA is vastly understaffed and with more budget cuts it will only get worse. The process to get certified organic is "okay" but after that it's a free for all. There aren't enough people to continue to regulate this industry the right way. The USDA organic program is extremely small and they sub contract out a lot of their duties. The large corporate owned organic farms are no better than the greedy conventional corporate farms. They are trying to make money and therefore will cut corners, mis label products, not follow regulations and backstab the public just as fast as anyone else. And guess what, they will get away with it.

    So in summary...

    1) you are wasting your money in my opinion buying organic produce especially at supermarkets as a lot of those products found there are from large corporate crooks and you are lining their pockets. Spend your money at local farms or farmers markets as much as possible to get high quality stuff at a fair price, organic or not.

    2) Organic produce although sounds nice on the tongue is no safer or nutritionally better for you than conventional produce.

    3) You are paying more money for produce that may not be what you think it is simply because we do not have the resources to effectively regulate it. Around 20% of organic products come from other countries such as you think they are doing a good job of regulating anything? Let alone organic produce or products?

    Some things to ponder....SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FARM! (regardless if they are organic or not)

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