Organic vs. Conventional
Organic and conventional are agricultural terms describing how farmers grow and process food products. Organic farmers avoid unnatural pesticides, hormones, and fertilizers that are used in conventional farming. Wherever a conventional farmer would incorporate unnaturally derived chemicals in their growing techniques, an organic farmer would utilize a natural alternative. For meat, organic farming is often associated with higher quality conditions of the animals during their lifetime, including better nutrition, avoidance of hormones, and free-range habitats.
What’s the Difference, Really?
Nutritionally speaking, organic foods are not much different from their conventional counterparts. A recent Stanford study found that certain organic produce may yield higher (or lower, depending on ripeness) levels of antioxidants than conventional specimens. However, the only continuous difference between organic and conventional was the higher pesticide content of conventional products. But in the long run, the researchers concur with the majority of other studies on the topic that an all-organic diet will not lead to immediate health benefits for most people. Certain groups like young children, pregnant women, and the elderly would definitely be better off eating organic to avoid pesticide exposure.
Still, many proponents of organic diets remain firm that the repeated, daily exposure to pesticides in conventionally grown foods will negatively impact the body. Others can be assured that so far, science has not proven that organic is indeed better.