Organic food no more nutritious than conventionally grown, review finds
9:11 AM, July 29, 2009
-- Melissa Healy
A comprehensive review of research comparing the nutritional content of food that was organically raised with food produced with the use of synthetic pesticides has found no significant differences between the two. Conducted by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the study is the first to bring a heated debate over the value of organic food to a rigorous conclusion. It is published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
"Our review indicates there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organic over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority," said Alan Dangour of the London School's Public Health Intervention Research Unit.
Surveying 50,000 studies conducted over 50 years, the authors focused on 55 that met their standards of scientific rigor. The studies that led to the group's controversial conclusions covered a wide range of crops and livestock that are raised and marketed under organic standards. For 10 out of 13 food crops studied, the researchers found no significant differences. Where they did find differences, those were attributed to differences in fertilizer use (say, the use of nitrogen vs. phosphorus) and the ripeness level at which the crops were harvested. The authors judged the differences observed "unlikely" to "provide any health benefit" to consumers. Read More
There are many claims that organic food likes to make. One of them is that their food is more nutritious. It turns out that isn’t true. I get accused of being anti-organic but the truth is that I don’t care what type of food you eat, I just care that consumers aren’t being fooled into spending a bunch of extra money on something that isn’t any better. And that is the case with organic in my opinion. I don’t think it’s better, it’s just different. It has drawbacks that must be seriously considered by consumers.