Organic Food: What Happened After One Family Ate Organics for Just Two Weeks

What would happen if you switched from conventionally grown food to organic food? One family of five found out after participating in an experiment run by Swedish grocery chain, Coop, and the Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

It’s not news that organic farming beats conventional practices when it comes to the health of the environment. But this small pilot experiment sought to address what kind of immediate difference eating organic food can make inside the body.

Organic Food Experiment

In this initial week of this three-week experiment, the Palmberg family kept eating the regular food and then every member provided a sample of urine to the SERI laboratory. When the samples was checked briefly, they found traces of fungicides, insecticides, and other chemicals. Then, they were advised to start using the organics for eating and personal care, for about two weeks. In the organic eating phase, the analysts took their urine samples every day.

The outcome was just unbelievable: The pesticides level in the body of every member dropped in a way that they noticed a big change every day. At the end of two weeks, there were very little traces of pesticides and other dangerous chemicals.


Before this study, a research paper has proved that organic food contains essential nutrients as compared to conventional food items. One of the recent studies by Newcastle University revealed that organic food is packed with more concentration of antioxidants like polyphenolics. The concentration of antioxidants was about 18 to 70 percent higher than regular foods.

But, as per the report of Mayo Clinic, the main reason of moving to organic is not to get more nutritions, but to reduce the pesticides intake. The recent experiment shows that eating organic food clearly decrease the pesticides level, but what is its impact on your health? That is another debate.

In start of the above video, Anette Palmberg who is head of the family, explains why they chose to eat conventional food:
“We started eating the conventional food because it is less expensive and I have a big family to feed. On the other hand, when I saw the outcomes of recent experiments, I was just shocked. I was worried about my children. There were a lot of dangerous chemicals in our body, and I don’t want them back.”

organic food

It is important to note that the experiment was commissioned by a for-profit food company, with an eye toward storytelling rather than rigorous science: Just one family was evaluated. And yes, organic food is typically more expensive than conventional food, so Coop stands to gain from a consumer base that eschews “conventional” fare in favor of the pricier stuff. What’s more, the initial pesticide levels found in this family were considered well within the range of what is considered safe for humans, the researchers noted.

That said, we don’t know a great deal about long-term pesticide exposure and human health: “We know very little about the long-term effects of eating food treated with pesticides,” says Jorgen Magner, a researcher at SERI, in the video above. “Especially if you consider that chemicals can be much more harmful when combined together than they are on their own.”

A recent meta-analysis of studies looking at the effects of heavy metal cadmium on the human body and the contaminated produce that often carry it revealed that organic crops (as opposed to conventionally grown varieties) have almost 50 percent less of the harmful substance. James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist at St. Luke’s Hospital, then evaluated this new data with potential health effects of this difference in mind.

“We predicted that this reduction in consumption of cadmium (with organic crops versus conventional) may lead to a 20 percent reduction in mortality (due to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer),” DiNicolantonio told The Huffington Post in an email. “We also predicted a 35 percent reduction in cardiovascular risk based on the flavonoid content. While we were unable to find evidence to calculate the health benefits of lower pesticide residue, it is likely that this will also lead to better health outcomes. This is not to say that conventional crops aren’t healthy, but that organic crops are probably that much healthier.”

While we are unsure of the potential role cadmium played for the family tested in the video above, this research provides a clear example of the ways in which pesticides from food can, in fact, prove harmful to human health.

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