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Do organic foods provide greater health benefits?

Dr. Tom Irons, Associate Vice Chancellor for Regional Health Services, and Professor of Pediatrics – Brody School of Medicine, Eastern Carolina University

Dr. Tom Irons, Associate Vice Chancellor for Regional Health Services, and Professor of Pediatrics – Brody School of Medicine, Eastern Carolina University

Dr. Irons shared he is not concerned about organic vs. conventionally grown and GMO vs. natural. Why is America suffering an obesity epidemic and major health concerns? Is Dr. Irons not considering that these forms of agriculture are affecting the health of our country?

Dr Irons: I am extremely concerned about the obesity epidemic in this country and deal with it in my patients and their families on a daily basis. I care deeply for these children and work hard to find ways to help them make healthful food and lifestyle choices. Fast foods and sweetened drinks are clearly harmful when they are ingested too frequently. I personally avoid them and recommend that they be avoided whenever possible. And I am equally concerned about pesticide exposure among my patients and within my own family.

To the degree that food certified as organic is guaranteed to be pesticide and hormone-free, among other things, it may be marginally safer to eat. But the evidence for a significant difference in food safety or nutritional value is marginal at best, provided that conventionally grown food is produced using high-standard farming practices. It is certainly not sufficient to cause me to recommend to my patients foods that generally cost over twice as much as conventionally produced food. They must live within their budgets and I must do my best to help them do so.

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