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IN A recent issue of Examiner Farming (May 15), Oliver Moore supports the claims that organics are nutritionally superior to conventional foods.
No one should get excited about his description of the published facts.
Yes, organic foods may contain higher levels of iron, magnesium, phosphorous vitamin C, etc — all of which are necessary dietary components.
However, a normal intake of conventional foods will give you sufficient amounts of all of these components at a lower cost.
No, it is not the case that the more of these materials you eat, the healthier you are.
Although I am not suggesting organic foods are poisonous, eating too much phosphorus, for example, in the form of phytic acid (which occurs in cereal seeds and nuts) may interfere with the uptake of calcium which is required for bone growth and many other vital reactions in the body.
Consuming large amounts of vitamin C is not advantageous as the body just excretes it or possibly changes it to a form which is an oxidant rather than an antioxidant.
The latter, which were raised by 10 per cent or more in organic foods, need to be considered with care.
After all, the jury is still out on their efficacy in preventing cancer and heart disease.
The tests that are used to measure antioxidant activity are usually not carried out on humans, but in test tubes, and there can be no certainty that all of the antioxidants detected in organics will function in vivo.
All I am trying to say here is that little is as simple as it often seems and that any attempt to replace conventional food with organic requires careful investigation.
Prof Jack Pridham
Upper Village Road
Berkshire SL5 7AL
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