Pesticide-Free Organic Food Protects Vital Gut Bacteria

organic food, gut bacteria

New research out of Australia highlights yet another reason why organic food is better for you than conventionally grown food. Although some scientists and food experts have long maintained that there is no nutritional difference between organic and non-organic foods, Dr. Mark Donohoe, a Sydney GP with a special interest in environmental medicine, claims they’re overlooking other important differences.

“Scientists have always said eating organic food is senseless and makes no difference as pesticides don’t harm humans,” Dr. Mark Donohoe told The Australian. “However, the pesticides kill certain species of gut bacteria, not us.”

That bit about pesticides not being harmful to humans is controversial at best, since exposure has been linked to a plethora of health issues. The current research, however, points out a very obvious effect of pesticide exposure.

Imbalances in beneficial gut bacteria have been shown to contributes to obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, and a host of other chronic health issues. If the bacteria isn’t happy, we’re not happy, and pesticides, which are slathered all over fruits, vegetables, grains, and more, make them very unhappy. “A lot of what doctors see in their surgeries is just a consequence of altered bacteria playing up,” said Donohoe.

According to Donohoe’s research, a diet rich in pesticide-free organic foods is key to protecting gut bacteria and ensuring that it’s plentiful enough to do its job regulating our bowels.

Image: Robert McDon


Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Colorado. Her passion for the planet started with the Truffula Trees, and she’s never stopped trying to make it a better place to live. She writes about sustainable agriculture, green living, and environmental issues for a number of popular websites, including  Inhabitat and Care2. Beth believes collaborative consumption and opensource innovation is key to ending our mindless waste. Learn more about the overlap between sharing and sustainability in Beth's new book, Sharing is Good.