Cornucopia’s Take: In a new study, 16 children and adults who ate only organic food for six days experienced a 60.5% reduction in the levels of common pesticides in their bodies. Although the sample was very small, the study confirms similar previous research. Criticisms of those previous studies included the small sample size, drawing attention to the need for more funding for independent research.
Eating an organic diet for one week is enough to lower toxin levels, study finds
by Bailey King
While most people know they “should” be eating organic because, well, that’s what the health world tells us, the price tag for organic items is often a huge deterrent for many healthy eaters.
With the knowledge that pesticides cover nearly every inch of conventional produce, many studies have backed the benefits of eating an organic diet — some going as far as to say it can prevent cancer.
A new study published Tuesday by researchers out of the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at San Francisco found that after less than one week of eating organic, toxin levels in the body were dramatically lowered.
Researchers examined four families from different backgrounds who ate a conventional diet for six days, then an organic diet for another six. By testing their urine before and after going organic, researchers found huge drops in bodily pesticides — pesky chemicals that have been linked to cancer, hormonal imbalance, and neurological disorders and more, MindBodyGreen reports.
After six days on the organic diet, overall pesticide levels dropped 60.5 percent in both the adults and children, Civil Eats reports. Though the most notable statistic was a 95 percent drop in malathion, which is a toxin linked to brain damage in children.
This study provides important information to consumers seeking to limit their exposure to the hundreds of millions of pounds of pesticides and herbicides used in the U.S. today, the researchers explain. While the study reaffirms previous research, it also breaks new ground by testing for newer classes of pesticides that are now the most widely used to kill insects, namely neonicotinoids and pyrethroids, Civil Eats notes.
It’s also worth noting that researchers focused primarily on exposure, not health outcomes, when it comes to eating organic. Though aside from reductions in dangerous toxins within the body, going organic can boost the health of the planet. Organic farming is less pollutive of water, supportive of biodiversity, preserves quality of soil, and is generally more sustainable in the long run, MindBodyGreen notes.
If this study strikes a cord with you over concern for your health or the health of your family, the Internet is filled with tips for eating organic on a budget — that way price is no longer a deterrent. The Cornucopia Institute has a plethora of tips here, including shopping seasonally and buying in bulk.