It’s 12:30 a.m., and as I sleepily contemplate graduating a month from now I realize that I was a part of something special while in college and it was called research. That’s it, that good ol’ dreaded word that we hate to hear most of the time; research. Now I’m not talking about the kind of research that we slaved away at during most of our dietetic courses, no that would be too easy to discuss. I’m actually talking about research projects that faculty advisors and I designed, researched, and presented to the academic world. Now why the heck would a busy guy like me do such a thing? After all you have to deal with IRB protocol, proposal writing, funding (those checks take forever to clear), finding participants, and a whole slew of other shenanigans that no one in their right mind would purposefully endure. Well I did it, and out of all my accomplishments in college, there’s a lot mind you, completing two full research studies from beginning to end was one of my greatest achievements. It was a joy to learn new ways of writing, planning, advertising, and processing lab work into statistical data that could be used for enhancing the community. Working on an independent research project allowed me to attend unique conferences and compete against other like-minded research based students. Student research conferences allowed me to see what and how others projects developed. I was able to make new connections and partnerships for futures experiments at such events, and even made some long term friends. Researching allowed me to take a glimpse into a world where anything is possible if you question it and put it to the test. In fact, for the research projects that I did I was paid by scholarship for completing them, which was a nice little bonus. Yes, doing an independent research project is tedious, and downright excruciating, but the rewards and connections you make from it last a lifetime. If you’re a student in your freshman, sophomore, or junior year why not expand your horizon, pad your resume, and do something out of the ordinary. Try out a research project and learn something new.
Organic Organic Organic! It’s pretty hard to miss the message being sent in the media these days. ‘Organic is better! Cleaner! EAT ORGANIC’. The market for organics will tell us that people have not only been hear but obey it as the market for organic foods has shown to of increased approximately 240% between 2022-2011! Whoa. Now that’s news! However can we be sure that there is more to this growing message than another rediculous food trend? Research is starting to collect, and we are discovering that there may be much more to this new food value than trendiness.
A recent Meta-analysis study publish by the British Journal of Nutrition, composed of an impressive 343 peer-reviewed publications, set out to evaluate the food benefits of organically grown produce. The study was primarily focused on assessing the varying levels of antioxidants and vitamins as well as pesticide residues in organic foods compared to non-organic ‘conventional’ foods. The studies utilized were collected from many global regions, such as: Italy, Spain, Poland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Turkey, Denmark, Finland and Germany, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and the U.S. After a thorough statistical analysis, which involved a team of at least 18 experienced scientists, the most compelling findings of the study were as follows.
- Both weighted and unweighted meta-analyses detected a significantly higher antioxidant activity in organic crops
- Both unweighted and weighted meta-analyses detected significantly higher concentrations of total carbohydrates and significantly lower concentrations of proteins, amino acids and fiber in organic crops vs. crop-based compound foods
- Both weighted and unweighted meta-analyses detected significantly lower concentrations of the toxic metals Cd and total Nitrogen in organic crops..”
- The standard meta-analyses showed that the frequency of occurrence of detectable pesticide residues was 4x higher in conventional crops (46 (95% CI 38, 55)%) than in organic crops (11 (95% CI 7, 14)%)
Overall the results of this 343 peer-reviewed meta-analysis study confirmed that organic crops and processed crop-based foods can be scientifically shown to have a higher antioxidant activity, as well as higher concentrations of a wide range of nutritionally desirable antioxidants/(poly)phenolics when compared to ‘conventionally’ grown/non-organic food products. This is good news! Furthermore, organic crops were shown to have lower concentrations of the potentially harmful and toxic metals, such as the metal Cadmium, found in many non-organic pesticides.
Of course there is always room for more research, but this impressive study lends great confidence to the hope that buying organics can be a tool for helping to keep your life and diet rid of unnecessary and at times damaging toxins. Maybe we ought to listen to that growing choir of voices..after all! “ORGANIC ORGANIC ORGANIC! Better! Cleaner! **EAT ORGANIC”.