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I was at Costco getting milk for my 2.5 year old daughter, and my wife prefers the expensive organic stuff. I'm more skeptical about these things, and I don't like spending extra when I don't understand the benefit.

The math, assuming 2 servings (8 oz) per day:

  • Horizon 2% fat organic milk with DHA - $34.29 per month
  • Kirkland 2% fat milk - $8.37 per month

The difference is $25.92 per month. If the trend continues that's $311.04 extra in a year, which is significant enough for me to ask: Does this expensive milk have any actual benefits over the standard milk?

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    This might be better asked on Health.SE than on Parenting, or perhaps even Skeptics. It's also fairly broad (are you interested in the benefits for your toddler only, or other issues like environmental impact or ethics of factory farming?)
    – Acire
    May 21 '16 at 3:20
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the broad question of organic benefits is not uniquely a parenting issue.
    – Acire
    May 21 '16 at 20:31
  • @Erica Actually, the OP is asking specifically about milk for toddlers, which is pretty much uniquely a parenting issue. May 22 '16 at 1:48
  • I'd like to see it clarified to better understand what the OP wants to know. I can also imagine any number of people interested in "actual" benefits of organic beyond parents of toddlers.
    – Acire
    May 22 '16 at 1:50
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    I want to know if there's anything specifically about this fancy added-DHA and organic stuff that's of actual benefit to my toddler. I've heard some loose argument that DHA is good for the brain development or whatever. I'm asking as a parent. Development, growth, health, safety-- I head the help page, this question is on-topic.
    – Mike G
    May 22 '16 at 7:20
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No, it's unlikely to be worth it from a health perspective. There's essentially no evidence that organic food is any "better" (or worse) for you, and the jury is still out for the effects of DHA: while there are some studies indicating it might slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease or inhibit growth of colon cancer, neither is likely to be a significant concern for the average two-year-old.

Safety is best thought of as tradeoffs, not absolutes. For example, given that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in young children, that $300/year would likely provide a far higher benefit if invested in (say) a better child seat or a reversing camera for your car.

Update for clarity: I understand the argument that there could be benefits to eating organic food and that, all things being equal, you probably don't want your kids eating any more pesticides, hormones, etc than necessary. My point is simply that there is currently no actual evidence that eating organic food makes any sort of perceptible difference, and you need to weigh the actual extra cost against both the possible benefits and alternative uses of that money.

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    Bad answer. You have either not read your own source material or are being dishonest. The reason there is no evidence for or against organic foods is stated in your own reference above. " "there have been no long-term studies of health outcomes of populations consuming predominantly organic versus conventionally produced food controlling for socioeconomic factors". The entire point of the Wikipedia entry is that there have been no studies, NOT that there are not any potential or expected benefits. That means your conclusion that the answer is NO is just plain not justified and thus wrong.
    – Adam Heeg
    May 22 '16 at 23:13
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    Continuing with what your reference misses and you totally avoid is that organic foods avoid pesticides and hormones. The information you referenced only spoke about potential added benefits, but it did not discuss potentially missing side effects which is another perceived benefit of organic food. The only point I'm making is that your answer does not match your reference material.
    – Adam Heeg
    May 22 '16 at 23:16
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    @AdamHeeg You're misreading the answer. As simply as I can put it: Organic food costs extra, and there's no proven benefit. On the other hand, there are proven benefits to (say) child seats. Why would you invest $300 in something that could theoretically make your child safer (or not), vs something that would actually make them safer? May 23 '16 at 4:06
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    @Erica Not quite sure what you're driving at here. If you're dismissing "just" statistically significant safety, then what's better? Safety is about improving the odds, not absolute guarantees, which don't exist in the real world. May 23 '16 at 11:50
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    @jpatokal you say in your update "is currently no actual evidence", that is misleading because the fact that there also is no actual research is extremely important to your entire point and basically overrides your blind reasoning that no evidence means no benefit when in fact no evidence is only because of no research, the lack of evidence has nothing to do with the level of benefit. For a more neutral resource that addresses these topics I suggest this link. mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/…
    – Adam Heeg
    May 23 '16 at 13:07

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