Is Organic Really Better? Healthy Food or Trendy Scam?

Is Organic Really Better? Healthy Food or Trendy Scam?


Over the last few years, organic food has spread like wildfire. Despite higher prices, buying organic is turning from an alternative into a moral and social responsibility. Organic food is supposedly healthier more natural and more ethical. But what do we even mean when we say organic? There’s no global consensus, so different regions have different definitions and rules. In general, organic food is farmed without GMO seeds, synthetic fertilizers, or synthetic pesticides. Instead, organic farmers use more traditional ways of producing food, like crop rotation, and use organic fertilizers such as compost or manure. While the motivation to buy organic food is clearly noble, is it actually effective or just another costly trend we can skip without feeling guilty? [Music] Is organic food healthier? One idea associated with organic crops is that their natural cultivation is supposed to make them more nutritious and healthier. Indeed, several studies found that organic foods contain more antioxidants. Plants produce them as a sort of homemade pesticide. Organic plants seem to have to work a little harder, while regular plants have plenty of help from humans. Antioxidants are believed to have some health benefits, although scientists are still on the fence about them in general. We have no idea if and how exactly they help us, or how much produce you’d have to eat to absorb a certain amount. What about organic being more nutritious? Well, the evidence is mixed. Some studies found that organic food can have slightly higher concentrations of vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids, while others did not find significant differences. Overall, the mixed evidence suggests that there are only small differences in nutritional value. So, from the science available so far, it doesn’t look like organic food has significant health benefits. What we do know, is that eating fruit and veggies in general is good for you, and most of us don’t do that enough. Eating veggies is more important for your health than how they were produced. Is organic food more natural? People don’t only buy organic to get extra vitamins, but to avoid something toxic; artificial pesticides and fertilizers. And indeed several studies show that there actually is less pesticide residue on organic produce. But here’s where things get complicated. Less pesticide does not mean none at all. While pesticides are supposed to be a last resort in organic farming, they’re not forbidden. Most organic pesticides are natural toxins, like vegetable oils, hot ash soap, sulfur or copper sulfates. But there are synthetic substances as well. What’s the difference between organic and regular pesticides? Not a lot actually. Organic pesticides are not necessarily safer than conventional ones. Toxic is toxic. No matter if the substance is manufactured, or derived from nature. In fact, in the case of copper sulfate, often used on organic apples, the organic pesticide of choice is actually more harmful to humans. The toxicity of any substance depends on its concentration and your exposure to it — not if it’s natural or not. There are a few recent studies about how our current level of pesticide exposure affects our long-term health. The 2018 study from France associated never eating organic food with a higher risk of certain cancers. The study was criticized a lot though. The participants reported their dietary habits themselves, while no actual tests of pesticide levels in their bodies were done. Complicating things even more, a Danish study from 2018 found that the danger from pesticides for an adult was similar to drinking a glass of wine every three months. The pesticides on your vegetables are nothing to lose sleep over. Despite this, we should continue to demand strict standards for our food. All pesticides are regulated and tested very strictly in the EU and the US. Every year, thousands of food samples are screened for pesticides. The majority of samples have no residues or just a fraction of the tolerance level. Right now, contamination from bacteria and fungi is much more dangerous. And, on this front, the risk is the same — be it organic or regular food. Is organic food better for the environment? In 2017, a meta-analysis looked at organic farming in detail and analyzed organic and regular foods from over 700 production sources, and their impact on categories like greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, and land needs. The result? No production method is clearly better for the environment. Organic systems use less energy than conventional ones, but have similar greenhouse gas emissions. Organic farms use less pesticide, but need much more land to produce the same amount of crop. These mixed results were also confirmed by a report from the Swedish food agency. Organic and regular were equal in most regards. The biggest difference was land use. And here conventional farming clearly won, and ecotoxicity where organic farming has a clear advantage. So, according to these results, conventional farming actually has a little bit less impact on the environment compared to organic. The bottom line is organic food isn’t superior to regular produce as far as we know. But, organic agriculture also has an impact at a broader level. Demand is rising constantly, and the struggle to supply the market can lead to production methods that are less sustainable in other ways. Spain, for example, grows tons of regular and organic vegetables destined for export in vast greenhouse areas which use a lot of energy. And have other environmental impacts, such as significantly higher greenhouse gas emissions. And, because growing demand can’t be covered by domestic production, the global trade and organic foods is also increasing. As supply chains get more and more complex, to make all kinds of foods available in organic quality, ensuring organic quality standards and regulations gets ever more difficult. This has led to incidences of fraud where conventional food was labeled and sold as expensive organic produce. But, organic versus conventional food isn’t even an objective discussion. Organic is not simply a production method. For many, it’s an ideology. Buying organic feels right. People want to do the correct thing for the health of their children, and the well-being of the planet. But, our instinct to think of organic as good, and conventional as bad, can get in the way of making the most reasonable decision. The solution could be to stop seeing organic and conventional farming as irreconcilable. They both have pros and cons, and the best way to produce healthy food efficiently would be a combination of their best features. And, as for your personal shopping, what food you should buy depends on what you expect from it. If you simply want to eat healthily, you should buy more fruit and vegies of any kind, not necessarily organic. If your concern is for the environment, then simply buying organic won’t solve this problem for you. The easiest option, is to buy local food that’s in season. Basically, seasonal is the true organic. To sum up, an organic label is a manufacturing notice, not a security certificate or a silver bullet for your diet. What you eat is much more important than how its produced. Production is very important for our animations though. We make them with a lot of love and care, and the best thing is you can learn how to do them. Kurzgesagt joined Skillshare, our favorite online learning community for creators with the three-part series of 2D animation classes. Skillshare offers more than 25,000 classes on everything from film, writing, design, and technology, from skilled experts. The premium membership gives you unlimited access for only $10 a month. But we got you a treat! The first 1,000 people to use the link in the description, get their first 2 months for free. So, to kick-off 2019, if you want to give animation a try, and breathe life into our characters, or learn something else to fuel your creativity or even career, now you can!

100 thoughts on “Is Organic Really Better? Healthy Food or Trendy Scam?

  1. If your that worried about whats in the food you eat, just grow your own damn food! Quite buying frozen mirowave dinners from the gas station.

  2. There is a considerable difference between organic and non-organic. One thing left unmentioned and could be the deciding factor for some, is the health benefits of avoiding GMO ( the fact that Monsanto has been found guilty of producing GMO crops using Glyphosate, a highly carcinogenic toxin specifically found in Round Up, is concerning enough). Here is another contributing factor in choosing organic food: Non-organic/ GMO seeds are forcibly sold to farmers. Most of them are met with threats if they don't comply. Unbeknownst to a lot of people, GMO crops do not produce seeds (ie frankenseeds). This forces farmers to purchase GMO seeds from sellers in order to save their livelihood and as a result, farmers can't harvest and collect their own seeds. The idea that GMO production produce more crops and in essence could possibly help resolve the food crisis is misleading. In actuality, this only serves the GMO producers' interests. It doesn't support independent farmers, it doesn't promote self sufficiency and in the long term – it's not sustainable.

  3. There's also the issue of soil depletion tied into round up ready crops and big tractor driven agro in general. Everybody has to eat. Last I heard only about 2% of people are involved in farming. Mass production becomes a must. Soil gets depleted. If you really want to help the planet start practicing permaculture, everybody, but be warned: it's a lot of work and dedication, you lazy parasites. Good luck when we inevitably run out of fossil fuels.

  4. It depends on the food whether I get organic or not. In most cases I feel it's not important. But the one food that I must have is milk from cows that are grass-fed and which has no antibiotics or hormones added. I expect antibiotics when necessary to prevent disease from spreading, but not a constant dose.

    Milk products may have "organic" on the label, but my gut tells me–my actual gut, not my intuition–whether the milk has these additives or not.

  5. I've enjoyed this channel for several years now and it's starting to seem that they always back the mainstream view of things….

  6. The most important reason you should buy organic was totally neglected: The mass exctinction of insects due to pesticides and mono-cultures!

  7. Some conventional produce use less pesticides than other organic foods. Food type matters. Same goes for ecological impact. Some foods are just need less. Those generally don't need to be bought organic since they tend to be the cheaper things anyway, so paying up to double the price is just irrational. "Clean 15" and "Dirty Dozen" is easy, not entirely great but a good start. Google it.

  8. What's even worst is organic meat, meat in general has an extremely high impact on the environment. I'm no vegan or vegan, but in terms of enviormental impact, they are far more effective at reducing enviormental impact, and makes the organic vs traditional almost negligible, even if one or the other has a higher enviormental impact. Also, eating produce dense in nutrients is even better. Lettuce contains next to no nutrients and is per source of nutrient even worst than meat (we just dont eat as much lettuce as meat, hence why the environmental impact is less consequential).

  9. What a great sum at the end of what we really should do and is kinda common sense but we often don’t see the obvious

  10. Avocados need bees that are transported on giant trucks to fertilise the crops so in conclusion: it isn’t vegan.

  11. Maybe it would have been nice to also include the argument of the impact of pesticides on insects and other life in the soil. I don't mean that organic food don't kill any insects, but the fact that the insect mass in Europe decreased enormously since the "conventional" farming starts can lead to a good argument for organic products. Less insect -> more problem for the entire ecosystem.
    Of course here also a solid fact checking could prove me wrong, I seriously wish I am wrong. (Please fact check me !)

  12. Lol. There’s no benefit yet there’s slightly less pesticide, slightly more vitamins, less eco toxicity, more antioxidants. Nice !

  13. I work in the horticulture industry, most of my career as a spray operator and we use both organic and conventional sprays and I can confirm that some organic ones are worse. I’ve always said we need to aim for sustainable cropping. Also the land usage thing wouldn’t be a big deal if we all ate fruit and mostly vegetables and very little meat. Meat production is extremely inefficient, compared to vegetable production. The best thing to do would be to grow your own, but the human race is probably way too urbanised now.

  14. Very interesting video. Eye opening for sure. However one thing I have an issue with is you did not mention animal agriculture. You’ve actually made videos before talking about the apocalyptic ramifications of using anti biotics on food animals. That being banned in organically raised meat is one clear advantage organic meat has over conventional. You should do another video on meat. Other wise great video.

  15. i tell you a secret: commercial farmers use organic farming for their own consumption.for the market they synthetic chemicals haha

  16. If you mean organic farming = natural farming then I'll disagree with this video.

    It's not only problems with human's health. It's about our sustainable systems. You say normal farming uses more enegy than organic farming? If it is, I would say that's the biggest problem because the-material-of-life-is-ENERGY. If you waste energy you can't go on sustainably.

    Nearly 8 billions humans are not SUSTAINBLE even though we do anything or we eat anything. Our greedy makes us consuming too much that will leads us to the hell. So we don't need to discuss about what's is right or what's is sustainable. We are just not able to get rid of this circle.

    After all, nature's always right. That's what I believe.

  17. WHY NOBODY ITS TALKING ABOUT THE FLAVOR DIFFERENCES ??

    i mean, i tried really good organic food an always win in flavor, it´s the only reason for me to eat it

  18. This video is backwards. Zach Bush MD, Dr.Senef, Dr.Campbell, William Shaw PhD, among many others have shown through very good research, pesticides that are synthetic are a major cause of health concerns that function as very potent antibiotic, Impair cellular communication, nucleic functions, and are highly destructive to our microbiome. Especially with glyphosate that impedes they shikimatte pathway in plants, also impairs it in our microbiome. Our microbiome secrete micro RNA that interact with our own DNA for expression of genes. Organic pesticides are indeed toxic, however, they do not show ANY where near the same sort of toxicity as synthetic. The EU, FDA, and other regulating bodies are not a trustworthy source for toxicology reports at all as they are going off very expired data that’s been proven wrong. Also because they are known to be in the pockets of these drug companies that produce pesticides. For example, Monsanto employees are regularly seen transitioning into the FDA & CDC. It’s a corruption loop. Finally, regenerative agriculture is the true key in health of our soil, our bodies and eradication of most pollutants Thats do contribute to a mild form of climate change. Though science on climate change is also showing it is very misunderstood and out of human control. For anyone reading to the end, don’t let this video fool you. Listen to the true researchers and physicians out there. Don’t get your education solely from YouTube channels.

  19. I like the idea of reasonable discussion, but it seems that organic produce has become the iPhone of foods. It's more expensive than the normal stuff, and many people just buy it because everybody else keeps telling them it's the best. It does have its merits, but we need to stop thinking that it's an instant solution and that simply buying organic instead of regular will magically solve everything.

    Besides, most companies are just capitalizing on the whole organic trend, marketing their product as such and charging as much as they want for it.

  20. I'd say that organic meat, And animal products are better than their non organic counterparts. But this is purely due to how they treat the animals. With fruits and vegetables, i dont really care.

  21. Shallow video. Organic==sustainable==ethical. Sustainability is not even mentioned. Only fool would deny health benefits but this is precisely what this video does…

  22. I just buy the products that tastes best to me, and that often happens to be organic.. I prefer products where quality has been more in focus rather than quantity.. The Non-organic potatoes, carrots and milk, from my local supermarket, taste incredible dull, while the corresponding organic products are incredible flavor full..

  23. If you eat meat you disgust me. People who truly care about the environment only eat pure carbon and photosynthesize.
    You have no moral high ground if you eat organic food.

  24. you know normally when there is a video like this..there is resistance and fictional distractions to place fear in belief. so I am actually relieved..also I was sure most people knew that organic was Seasonal…

  25. I think process food should be the thing that's being questioned. All food used to be organic until the invention of highly processed food. Do you think they really give a shit what they put in your food? Processed food is all about minimal effort maximum yield. I can't believe he said that the finding of higher antioxidants in organic food wasn't necessarily a big deal. Of course more anti oxidants is important you fool.

  26. I love your videos, but science is definitely not on the fence about the health benefits of antioxidants. Within the scientific community, there is ubiquitous agreement that antioxidants aid the removal of waste products in our cells and aid with the reduction of cortisol. Please review this or provide sources.

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