Skeptic News: Organic food no better for you

From: The Guardian

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.

The foods included organic and non-organic fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, poultry eggs and milk.

According to US department of agriculture standards, organic farms have to avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics. Organic livestock must also have access to pastures during grazing season.

However, many of the studies used did not specify their standards for what constituted “organic” food, which can cost as much as twice as conventional food, the researchers wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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.

Given that studies suggest organic produce may also be harmful to the environment we wonder if the justifications for this dietary choice  hold up to scrutiny.

The paper can be found here.

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