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Daily News Blog

24
Nov

Food For Thought: Eating Organic Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

(Beyond Pesticides, November 24, 2020) Reinforcing a body of scientific evidence, a new study finds that eating organic food lowers one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. With 1 in 10 (34 million) Americans afflicted with type 2 diabetes, and 1 in 3 (88 million) with prediabetes, new strategies focused on prevention are urgently needed. The results of the study, published by a team of French and American researchers in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, reinforce the triple bottom line (profit, people, and the environment) benefits of organic food for public health, the environment, and the wider economy.

Scientists used data from NutriNet-Santé, a massive study including over 170,000 participants (averaging 52 years old) that regularly respond to questions concerning lifestyle, dietary intake, body type, physical activity, and health status. Roughly 33,000 NutriNet-Santé participants completed food frequency questionnaire regarding how often they consumed organic food. After four years, 293 surveyed individuals had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Researchers then looked at how organic food consumption affected the risk of developing the disease, adjusting for body mass index, gender, family history of diabetes, physical activity, education, economic status, occupation, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

Higher organic food consumption was found to be inversely associated with the risk of developing type two diabetes. In fact, for every 5% increase in the proportion of organic foods in one’s diet, risk of type 2 diabetes decreased by 3%. When comparing the group with the highest proportion of organic food in their diet to those with the lowest, individuals in the high consumption group were 35% less likely to develop the disease.

Diving deeper into the numbers, risks were in fact more pronounced for women than men. Coauthor Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot, PhD, told the French newspaper Le Monde, “We see a particularly marked effect in women, with a risk reduction of 65% in the largest consumers of organic products, but not a statistically significant effect in men, who represent 24% of the cohort.” Thus, the benefits of organic consumption for diabetes risk reduction appears to be greater for women than men. However, scientists caution that this may be because of a lack of data, as relatively few men were part of the study (only 24% of the 33,000 participants). Or, it may be that for type 2 diabetes, women and men display a sexual dimorphic response, where one sex may have different detoxifying capabilities.

This is not the first time pesticides have been linked to higher rates of diabetes. A 2008 study on pesticide applicators in two U.S. states found that every pesticide investigated increased diabetes risk by over 50%. A 2017 study zeroed in on one particular class of insecticides, carbamates, finding a propensity to adversely affect human melatonin receptors that regulate sleep, insulin secretion, and glucose homeostasis, increasing risk of diabetes. A 2017 report commissioned by Gallup-Sharecare found that farmers recorded the second-highest rate of diabetes among all professions. And a 2019 study from University of California, Davis, found that South Asian immigrants who had been exposed to higher rates of DDT also displayed higher rates of type 2 diabetes.

The present study adds weight to research published in 2018 in the journal Nutrients, which enrolled U.S. residents through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. “Individuals who reported purchasing organic foods were less likely to have diabetes compared to those who did not report organic food purchase,” the study indicates. 

Beyond Pesticides’ Pesticide Induced Disease Database provides a wealth of additional research on the link between toxic pesticide exposure and the development of diabetes. Replacing conventional food products with organic consistently leads to reduced levels of pesticide in one’s body. Now, as the present study shows, there is indication that maintaining lower levels of conventional, synthetic pesticides is likely to reduce risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.

Organic food not only protects health, it also reduces the influx of synthetic pesticides in the environment where it can harm pollinators and other wildlife, sequesters carbon, and helps grow local economies.

This Thanksgiving, consider purchasing organic turkey and trimmings whenever possible. While it may be slightly more expensive to do so, know that you are saving in the form of health, and health care dollars down the road. Find tips for your organic holidays on Beyond Pesticides’ Pesticide-Free Holidays page. Learn more about the toxic chemicals that can coat your favorite foods on the Eating with a Conscience tool. And learn more about why organic is the right choice on the Organic Agriculture webpage.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: Le Monde, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “Food For Thought: Eating Organic Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes”

  1. 1
    Renee Jefferson Says:

    Amazing, simply amazing.

  2. 2
    Brian Says:

    This doesn’t prove anything, it only says that people who eat organic food are less likely to get type 2 diabetes. There could be many reasons for that one of them could be the fact that organic food eaters are more health conscious and follow a better lifestyle over the non organic food eaters.

  3. 3
    Beyond Pesticides Says:

    Hi Brian,
    Thanks for your comment to Beyond Pesticides. A single study will rarely provide definitive proof of a given hypothesis. That is why, throughout the Daily News blog, we aim to link back to other studies with similar findings, revealing the preponderance of evidence on a subject, rather than a single, static study. While you indicate that other factors may influence the findings, it is worth noting that researchers did work to adjust for confounders that could distort their results, including body mass index, gender, family history of diabetes, physical activity, education, economic status, occupation, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Thank you again – we appreciate the opportunity to respond to thoughtful comments like yours.
    Best,
    -Beyond Pesticides staff

  4. 4
    Shirlyn's Natural Foods Says:

    Nice information you shared here about organic food eating. Thanks for sharing such a great post with us.

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