A MinD in MoTown

Ripped from the Headlines: Vol. 3
July 29, 2009, 4:13 pm
Filed under: Ripped from the Headlines

I had anticipated writing a “real” blog post today – and I still might* – but then I stumbled upon two news articles that made another volume of “Ripped from the Headlines”** almost necessary.

Study: Tanning beds definitely cause cancer

International cancer experts have moved tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation into the top cancer risk category deeming both to be definite causes of cancer …

A new analysis of about 20 studies concludes the risk of skin cancer jumps by 75 percent when people start using tanning beds before age 30.

At the risk of sounding juvenile, I must say DUH! Logical reasoning says that if that big ball of fire in the sky can cause cancer than a small box emitting immense amounts of artificial sun – ultraviolet radiation – will clearly have the same, if not worse, effect. It doesn’t take rocket science to know this, and yet research was conducted to prove it? Am I the only one who sees this as dollars being wasted on nonsensical testing during a recession?

Organic food is no healthier, study finds

Organic food has no nutritional or health benefits over ordinary food, according to a major study published Wednesday.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said consumers were paying higher prices for organic food because of its perceived health benefits, creating a global organic market worth an estimated $48 billion in 2007.

A systematic review of 162 scientific papers published in the scientific literature over the last 50 years, however, found there was no significant difference.

Indeed, it’s another survey article, but I found this one interesting for a completely opposite reason – I actually believed organic was healthier. I assumed this because organically grown or cultivated foods are without many of the additives “regular” food contains. For that reason, it’s easy to think that any foods without those additives are truly better for our bodies. Clearly, as this articles states, that is not the case and the marginal differences between organic and ordinary matter little in the grand scheme of things.

I’m curious if this study changes the mind of any organic-only eaters*** out there. If you are one, let me know what you think about this article and the research results. Will it change what food you choose at the grocery store, or do you still believe organic equals healthier?

* I also might save that for tomorrow because, personally, I hate when people post multiple times per day and clog my damn GReader, so why would I do that to you fine folks?
** Check out Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, if you are super duper bored.
*** Aren’t/Weren’t the Gosselin (Jon & Kate Plus Eight) kids on an organic-only diet?

17 Comments so far
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Dude, the first article is just frigging ridiculous. Hmm, tanning beds cause cancer?! Shenanigans!

I know. I’ve never heard that before in my entire life!

Comment by Jill Pilgrim

First, I find the organic food study results to be a bit suspect. I have read so many studies and articles that prove otherwise.

and yes, the gosselin kids are/were on an all-organic diet. but I think the results of this study is the LAST thing we should worry about, in terms of of how they each turn out to be.

I wonder how much weight should really be given to that story. It’s possible there’s no differences, sure, but it seems unlikely.

Comment by thatShortChick

Yeah Kate wanted them to only eat organic because I’m sure some farmer sponsored her show for 10 episodes. Now she can say that her kids are still no better off than the rest of us.

Ha. There was even one episode where they went to breakfast – a really recent episode – and ordered from an all-organic menu. Crazy!

Comment by Jessica

The organic thing truly shocked me. While I don’t have the money to eat a lot of organic stuff, I always try (or tried) to buy it because it seemed healthier. However, I still plan on buying a lot of local produce. Even if it’s not organic or any healthier, it’ll help out the local farmers. And that’s a good thing.

Totally with you on that second part. Every Wednesday morning there’s a small farmer’s market held in the parking lot adjacent to the newspaper office. I love that it’s so close by and helping out local farmers.

Comment by E.P.

I never use tanning beds ( being a south east asien with naturally tan skin color ) but the second headline is shocking! If its true, I’m sure it will upset a lot of people. I’m never restricted myself to organic foods, I eat combined everything so I guess lucky me?

I’m not one to sway toward organic either, but I do feed my dog organic. Ha. However, the additives in regular dog food was making her lose her hair, so I know there’s some added benefits at least in that area.

Comment by Andhari

Those tanning beds have always scared me ever since watching a girl get baked in one in a Final Destination movie. Besides, I’m naturally tanned right out the box. 😛

I’m sure a collective gasp was heard from all those organic food hippies who think they’re better than us when they heard this news. They’ll either find a way to discredit the organization who conducted the study, or simply dismiss the results as they plug in their iPods into their Prius and crank it up to a moderate level. 😛

I’m the whitest white person ever. Okay, maybe not ever, but I’m pretty damn pale and getting a tan for me is not easy – I typically prefer not to anyway. That said, I’d never try a tanning bed. No way. I’m a skin-cancer risk to begin with!

I’m sure a lot of organic-food believers will choose to ignore this study. It’s to be expected.

Comment by OmegaRadium

I’ve been warming up to organics, so that second article kinda refers some of that. I’ve always felt like there was a bit of an hype-for-profit feel to the organic market.

I feed my dog natural and organic food, so it’s interesting to see that organic isn’t as great especially because she has serious medical issues because of the additives in dog food. I wonder how much difference really exists between those additives and the ones added to regular human food.

Comment by Ronnica

“…[T]here is little, if any, nutritional difference between organic and conventionally produced food and that there is no evidence of additional health benefits from eating organic food. (Gill Fine, Food Standards Agency director of consumer choice and dietary health)”

I thought that the dietary “conventions” of humanity have always survived on organic food. What food is being “conventionally” produced or manufactured that isn’t organic, and what non-organic ingredients are being used? George Orwell would be hard-pressed to write something this diabolical, as this BBC article, for one of his arch villains in a futuristic world where the government uses propaganda to hamper the best interest of its citizens.

The discussion that we should be having is: what are the dangers of “conventionally produced foods,” such as negative soil and environmental issues, contaminants, hormones, and genetic engineering. This is the type of propaganda that makes me wonder if corporations and their multimedia partners are more ethical then a citizen’s democratically controlled media.

I think it’s a fallacy to say that all those who disagree with this study’s questionable findings are profiteering organic farmers, left-wing wackos, or emergent church idolaters. The most dangerous aspect of the article is for those readers, who know that the American diet has caused chronic health problems from auto-immune diseases, obesity, diabetes, etc., but now are tempted to believe that “conventional food” is just as healthy?

As a regular person, I am more interested in a society where knowledge is freely exchanged, not filtered through propaganda, disguised as news or science, for the benefit of a small elite minority.

You have definitely thought about this article far more than the rest of us – and I surely didn’t say most of what you are referring to in the article. Also, as someone in the news business, items aren’t “disguised” as news. Do materials come across our desks that sometimes don’t need to become articles and contain more “PR” than anything else? Of course. But you have nothing to back up that this article is such nor any other.

Comment by ravenstag

i think we all knew tanning was bad for us but those statistics did kinda freak me out a bit more…

It does put the dangers into perspective a bit more, for sure.

Comment by alexa - cleveland's a plum

Agreed totally on the sun tanning part. About organic food, I think it is healthier not because it contains more vitamins or nutrients. In fact is the opposite. They might contain less vitamins and nutrients because less artificial additive are used. But at the same time, it means that our body consume less of the toxic materials.

I hadn’t thought of it that way, but good point.

Comment by Singapore Travel

I stopped tanning a looooong time ago, when I realized how dumb it was. You do a lot of dumb things in your teens, though. Hopefully my cells have since regenerated and de-cancerfied themselves 😉

If my very white self is tan at all, it’s because my sunblock didn’t block enough sun. Ha.

Comment by LiLu

ha i saw both of these. UV causes cancer? what?? 😛

i know that organic isn’t perfect. there are still a lot of things to be weary about.. i haven’t studied in detail, but basically it’s almost the same as regular food in terms of even eco-consciousness. still, i have a hard time giving up that it’s not as healthy!

So do I, despite the article. I mean, organic being healthier sort of makes sense, doesn’t it?

Comment by floreta

Organic farming and foods are healthy to me primarily because they encourage a sustainable lifestyle. (I guess it depends how one defines ‘health,’ though it’s definition in the study was obvious.)

Does sustainability have much to do with healthy though? I mean, it’s a clear reason why organic might be better, but not necessarily healthier.

Comment by hautepocket

I had read the organic food thing a while back. Like someone already mentioned, organic food promotes sustainable living, which has some awesome benefits. My boyfriend has recently been educating me on sustainable living, organic vs regular, and the dangers of processed food.

I wrote an article a few months ago about a sustainable garden nearby, and that certainly has many benefits. They also said organic was healthier, but you have to admit, this article does make you wonder even the slightest bit if it’s all propaganda. I’m on the fence, personally.

Comment by Yolanda


i can’t help but laugh..like…REALLY!

That was seriously what I thought, especially about the tanning article.

Comment by Felicia

Yeah, I have always been more about shopping local, rather than organic. But I did think it was a bit healthier for you, just not enough to justify the higher price. That’s the only reason I haven’t really ever gone organic. I suppose one could make the argument though, that organic farming and production is more ethically sound. But that’s just a thought.

That’s the same reason I haven’t turned to organic. I simply cannot justify spending dollars and dollars more on the same items because they were grown differently. I’m too poor for that.

Comment by Lost Artist

wow those are great…lol

Ha, I certainly thought so.

Comment by novelista barista

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