Organic produce and meat typically is no better for you than conventional food when it comes to vitamin and nutrient content, although it does generally reduce exposure to pesticides and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to a US study.
Crystal Smith-Spangler, who led a team of researchers from Stanford University and Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care, reviewed more than 200 studies that compared either the health of people who ate organic or conventional foods or, more commonly, nutrient and contaminant levels in the foods themselves.
Smith-Spangler and her colleagues found there was no difference in the amount of vitamins in plant or animal products produced organically and conventionally – and the only nutrient difference was slightly more phosphorous in the organic products.
Organic milk and chicken may also contain more omega-3 fatty acids, but that was based on only a few studies.
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This is still a common myth with the public, that organic is BETTER for you in ways that it really isn’t. It’s a fad for one and it’s costing people money that may not be worth it.
Five or ten years ago, when the major food producers saw that organic food was coming into vogue, what do you think they did? They smelled higher prices charged for less product, and started producing organic crops. Nearly all organic crops in the United States are either grown, distributed, or sold by exactly the same companies who produce conventional crops.
The National Review reports that Americans believe organic food is healthier by a 2-1 margin, despite the lack of any evidence supporting this. When you take the exact same strain of a plant and grow it in two different ways, its chemical and genetic makeup remain the same. One may be larger than the other if one growing method was more efficient, but its fundamental makeup and biochemical content is defined by its genes, not by the way it was grown. Consumer Reports found no consistent difference in appearance, flavor, or texture. A blanket statement like “organic cultivation results in a crop with superior nutritional value” has no logical or factual basis.
And from Science-Based Medicine, more research is needed. The above article lends credence to the idea that it’s NOT any more nutritious:
Overall there does not appear to be any advantage for health to organic farming (sustainability and environmental effects being a separate issue). However, despite the fact that organic farming has been around for over 50 years, there is a surprisingly small amount of quality research available. The organic farming industry and popularity of organic products is growing. Organic products are more expensive, and questions remain about whether or not such methods would be adequate to supply our food needs. There may also be hidden health risks or unintended consequences to relying upon organic farming. There may also be benefits that have not been adequately documented. Therefore, this is one area where I think it is reasonable to conclude more research is genuinely needed.
So, if the extra pesticides and fertilizers bother you, then choose organic. But know that those extra additives in the process may not make any difference to you or the environment. At least several studies so far have not shown there is a difference.