The Checkup: Why Eat Organic, the FDA and Dental Fillings

By Adapted from
Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What's the Value of Eating Organic?

A paper in the September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewed all the scientific studies of organic and conventional foods published between 1958 and 2008. Culling flawed studies left a team of researchers with 162 out of an initial 152,000. Examining those 162 studies' findings, the researchers found that organically produced foods offered no nutritional advantages over conventionally produced foods.

When they compared the two types of food, the researchers found no appreciable differences in 11 key nutrients and "nutritionally relevant substances," from Vitamin C to zinc. The authors did not examine differences in levels of contaminants (such as pesticide residue) between organic and conventional foods.

With some exceptions, organic foods tend to cost more than conventionally produced ones. So for those of us trying to eat well on a budget, organic food might not make so much sense after all.

-- Jennifer LaRue Huget

The readers voted:

To the question "Do you buy organic food?" 34 percent of 263 respondents said yes, while 30 percent said "only for certain foods," 18 percent said "only when the price is right" and 17 percent said "never; I think the whole 'organic' thing's a scam."

MomSarah wrote:

Most folks don't buy organics because they think the blueberries or sweet potatoes have more nutrients -- they buy them because they don't have pesticides, antibiotics (meats), etc. It's a weird study.

MaxineofArc wrote:

When I buy organic, it's not because it's better for me, but because I want to support agricultural practices that are less harmful to the Earth. And eat less poison.

FDA Acts at Last on Dental Fillings

The Food and Drug Administration last week deemed mercury amalgam to be safe for dental fillings. At the same time, the FDA moved the material from the Class I (low risk) medical-device category to Class II (moderate risk). This allows for tighter control over its manufacture and use. The agency had been working toward the regulation since 2002.

Mercury amalgam, or "silver," fillings have been used for decades to repair cavities. It's the cheapest filling material available, and the American Dental Association supports the new regulation. The agency reviewed some 200 studies in reaching its decision.

-- Jennifer LaRue Huget

ChrisFord1 wrote:

Yeah, I think they are safe and all the statistical evidence backs that up. Part of the problem is people who think that if a large dose of something is bad, any amount must be bad. No, we need things like a certain amount of bacteria to stimulate immune systems. Same with trace amounts of fluoride, iodine, copper, cobalt, etc.

RoguesPalace wrote:

Another example of lobbyists, in this case the dental lobby and the mercury production industry, swaying the federal government!

DrMary wrote:

My understanding is that composite can't handle larger fillings the way amalgam can; it does also cost more. On the other hand, my dentist claims that amalgam eventually leads to tooth breakage, as it is less elastic and therefore can act like a wedge in tooth.

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