It makes sense to this writer that organic food is a healthier option than convention produce, which is grown with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Take away those harmful chemicals, and organic food ought to be better for you, right? I am not alone in this line of thought, and as such, the organic food market is a $29 billion industry. That said, a study is pouring cold water on this theory, suggesting that research into organic food has found “scant evidence of health benefits”… but is the new study missing the point?
The report was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on behalf of researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, and the findings were surprising. As many media outlets are reporting, the team found no strong evidence to show that organic foods are more nutritious or carry fewer health risks than conventional alternatives. That said, they did note that consumption of organic foods can reduce the risk of pesticide exposure. No consistent differences were seen in the vitamin content of organic products, and only one nutrient—phosphorus—was significantly higher in organic versus conventionally grown produce.
So organic food might not contain more nutrients, but does that really matter? After all, organic farming is much better for the planet overall as it limits pesticide intake, prevents chemical fertilizers from entering groundwater and supports local farmers.
Supporters of organic food have leapt on the report with Chuck Benbrook, a professor of agriculture at Washington State University, saying: “The Stanford team’s study design precluded assessment of much of the evidence supporting these benefits, and hence their findings understate the health benefits that can follow a switch to a predominantly organic diet, organic farming methods, and the animal health-promoting practices common on organically managed livestock farms.”
“Over time, unbiased analysis coupled with modern-day science is likely to show with increasing clarity that growing and consuming organic food, especially in conjunction with healthy diets rich in fresh, whole foods, is one of the best health-promotion investments we can make today as individuals, families, and a society.”
So what do you think? Let us know below.