Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Nutritionista on Organic vs. Conventional Milk


Should SHE buy organic milk???  The debate around organic versus conventional milk has been going on forever!  It seems to be one of those polarizing topics that has the potential to break up friendships, alienate family members, start fist fights at the playground.  Another study has just been published that has compared the nutritional quality of organic to conventional milk.  Guess what?  No meaningful differences between the two milks.  This has also been shown for organic fruits and vegetables...the nutrition quality seems to essentially be the same or only small differences exist.  This is, of course, good news to the many that cannot afford to pay the premium for organic.
 
BUT, start asking nutritionists what they buy and more importantly, what they serve their children and I will bet you my polyester suit that most will say 'organic'.  I cannot speak for all nutritionists, but here is why I think many choose organic over conventional, even though the nutrition quality is the same:

1. Theoretically, organic should be healthier.  What if we cannot detect the benefits of organic with our current scientific methodologies?  What if the small benefits of organic add up over a lifetime?  Remember, most controlled scientific experiments are pretty short term (days, weeks, months and rarely, years). 
2. Organic is better for the environment.  I'm not an expert on environmental affairs but it seems to me that using less chemicals, antibiotics and hormones is a good thing for the planet.  
3. Any food closer to being 'natural' is a good thing.  Most people would not argue that corn on the cob is better for you than corn flour.  The closer the food is to being from the ground, the healthier it tends to be.  Using this principle, milk from cows that have been roaming around on pasture without much human intervention should be healthier than cows fed a man-made diet of corn+soybeans in steel-gated pens, and healthier cows may result in healthier milk.    

So...what is SHE to do?  If you don't mind shelling out a few extra bucks each week, I would suggest you buy organic.  Or, you could buy conventional milk and save those extra dollars to buy yourself something pretty...like this ostrich egg with coral finial I stumbled upon for $900.  Do you think that is an organic ostrich egg???

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