The Mediterranean Diet. Is It Really Healthier If You Get More Pesticides?:
So part of what we all decide to do in The New Year is to better ourselves.
Great and noble goals. Even better if you have a plan populated by small routines & systems to achieve the big goal.
One of the goals many of us set of course, is weight loss.
And with that comes a list of popular diets.
Some of which are healthy. Others are the result of celebrity fever-dreams.
One of the most popular for the last few years is The Mediterranean Diet, but research is showing there might be at least one hitch to that plan…
The Short Answer:
- Many people set new goals for the new year.
- A lot of these are weight-loss goals.
- One healthy diet is The Mediterranean Diet.
- Norwegian researchers have found that people on that plan eating non-organic food had 90% more pesticides and environmental-contaminants in their system than those eating the same diet with organic sources.
- This is a concern, because many pesticides can be hormone & endocrine disruptors.
- Because of this, they may be tied to other health problems.
- Other studies have claimed organic foods are no more nutritious.
- Others still have found organic is not an easy 1-step fix to problems with food sourcing.
- However, UC Berkeley’s work awhile back showed children of pregnant mothers who ate food with organo-phosphate pesticides on it had lower IQs than those without.
- So even though organic food does have some pesticide on it, the Norwegian study suggests the net may be much less.
- Because of this and also because organo-phosphates are not allowed in organic farming, sourcing food that way may still be best if also imperfect.
- Science still has to find the actual correlation between worse health-outcomes and consumption of non-organic food, though.
- Even if it does, the cause might may be just one or two pesticides/practices that can be discontinued.
Read on to find out the details…
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We are all incredibly fortunate to have such a list of different plans to try.
And even from a flavor standpoint, The Mediterranean is one of the best.
I mean, who doesn’t love a little pesto, olive oil, wine, and fish, right?
-Especially if you check out our pal Yazemeenah Rossi and sneak the occasional pizza in, too!
But the current work is making diet choices sound a lot more like, “Pick your poison and take your chance.”
So in a very small comparison study of 27 subjects over the course of 2 weeks,
Individuals were tested on different diet plans for something unexpected: Pesticide Exposure.
And although you might think The Mediterranean Diet would normally be very healthy,
Researchers found something different.
Because of the increased exposure to produce, the adherents of that plan were also found to be exposed to a lot more pesticides.
About 9 Times More, if the work is to be believed. (no word on vegans or vegetarians.)
And this is where the study gets a little weird.
Because it didn’t just look at that diet compared to the standard Northern European consumption that they started the subjects out on.
That 9x number comes from the comparison between a Med Diet sourced from standard supermarket produce,
Versus one sourced exclusively from Organic foods & produce.
Because years ago, Stanford went around telling us that Organic food was no better.
And since many pesticides are considered harmful and even hormone or endocrine-disruptors,
You would think that going back to Ultra-Processed-Foods and getting the hell away from the fresh basil might be the sane-yet-still-insane move here.
But there are a few wrinkles left.
Because if you really want to go down the rabbit hole and get weird,
Organic food production also uses pesticides; -just different ones.
Not only that, but some pesticides approved for Organic use are pretty nasty chemicals all on their own.
And it just might be a contradiction where you might get the 90% less pesticides as the Norwegian docs talk about in this new study,
But they’re nastier, so it takes less to hurt you.
And one contradiction further, you manage to avoid “Roundup” and organo-phosphate and glyphosate type pesticides,
Which may turn out to be a benefit all on its own.
So what sense are we to make of this?
The answer is: Nothing is simple.
But in the end, if the Norwegian docs are right, that 90% less might be worth it, and the absence of Roundup might be worth it.
There is also one more light at the end of the tunnel. The scientific body-of-knowledge.
Because in a previous post, we talked about the benefits studied for pregnant moms.
And in that study, the conclusions were that
1) Children of mothers exposed to greater organo-phosphate pesticide quantity had lower IQs
2) Eating organic and washing produce during pregnancy might mitigate those problems.
So if it disrupts the development and nervous-system of a tiny 7 pound human,
Then eliminating organo-phosphate pesticides from your intake might really be worth it,
Even though the “organic rabbit hole” entry implies that it’s still not a one-shot easy fix for everything.
And let’s be clear, given that organic food can still have some pesticides,
The 90% reduction number the Norwegians give us from switching to it seems a bit optimistic.
Only time and more study will tell if the people who switch to an organic Mediterranean diet end up with actually better health-outcomes; because that is a different consideration entirely.
• Source: U Oslo
• More Coverage: EWG’s Dirty Dozen Fruits & Vegetables
• Source Study: AJCN – Diet and food type affect urinary pesticide residue excretion profiles in healthy individuals: results of a randomized controlled dietary intervention trial