The Backyard

The Backyard

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Non-Organic Foods Can Make You Fat!

Bicycling magazine's March 2008 issue has an article entitled Why Organic by Selene Yeager. I'd link it, but its not available on-line, so I'll paraphrase from the article.

At first glance, I expected the normal buy-organic-because-its-better-for-you and helps save the earth story, but this article delved a bit deeper into an interesting concept about organic food that I haven't read yet. They claim The same pesticides that poison the envirornment also pollute our bodies. Pesticides, such as organochlorines are stored in our fat cells then released into our bloodstreams when we burn fat, disrupting the fucntion of our mitochondria (our cells' energy-making furnaces). In a 2004 study published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers at Canada's Laval University reported that dieters with the highest levels of organochlorines had a greater metabloic slowdown as they lost weight than their peers with lower levels of the pollutant, likely because the toxins hinder the energy-burning process. Other studies indicate that pesticides may actually contribute to weight gain. The article then went on to talk about the benefits of buying organic which we all know about - at least those of you reading this post know about it or you wouldn't be reading now, would you! The article sited buying organic fruits and vegetables as the most important area to buy organic and referenced the Environmental Working Group as an organization who ranked common produce from highest to lowest based on tests done for pesticides on produce. Other lists are at

Buying organic milk is important too, along with farm raised, organic meat. Fish is an area to be extra concerned when it comes to toxins according to the article, but organic fish and eating fish is a whole other story in itself; I'll opt to stay meatless and study this list for buying hubby his fish.

Not knowing a whole lot about organochlorines, google provided some interesting reads. Mainly, it's the pesticide that was in DDT, and today is in many, many pesticides in a milder form. Here's the scary part:

Because of their chemical structure, organochlorines break down slowly, build up in fatty tissues, and remain in our bodies for a long time. Pesticide residues on food are a major source of organochlorine exposure. In a recent analysis of organochlorine residues in the U.S. food supply, Pesticide Action Network found that even those chemicals that have been banned for decades are showing up consistently in food samples tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This can be explained in part by the long life of many organochlorines in the environment (dieldrin and the breakdown products of DDT, for example, can remain in soil for decades), and in part from the transport on wind and water currents - as well as food imports - of pesticides that continue to be used in other countries.

Whew....all the more reason to stay organic. I'm a believer...are you?

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