Organic food has no health benefits
Organic produce and meat typically isn't any 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.Updated: Sep 05, 2012 01:08 IST
Organic produce and meat typically isn't any 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.
"People choose to buy organic foods for many different reasons. One of them is perceived health benefits," said Crystal Smith-Spangler, who led a team of researchers from Stanford University and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care.
"Our patients, our families ask about, 'Well, are there health reasons to choose organic food in terms of nutritional content or human health outcomes?'"
She and her colleagues 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 fertilisers, hormones and antibiotics. Organic livestock must also have access to pastures during grazing season.
Many of the studies used, though, didn't specify their standards for what constituted "organic" food, which can cost as much as twice what conventional food costs, the researchers wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Researchers 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.