Navigation Links
Organic Foods Not Healthier or More Nutritious, Study Says
Date:9/4/2012

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Organic foods are almost invariably more expensive than their conventionally produced counterparts but they aren't necessarily healthier or more nutritious, new research suggests.

Scientists found no consistent differences in vitamin content between organic and conventional foods and few significant differences in health benefits. They did note, however, that organic produce is 30 percent less likely to be contaminated with pesticides than conventional fruits and vegetables -- though the pesticide levels of all foods fell within allowable limits -- and that organic chicken and pork appeared to lessen exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

"I think different people will make different decisions based on our findings," said study author Dr. Crystal Smith-Spangler, an instructor at Stanford University School of Medicine and a physician-investigator at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, in California. "We thought we'd find more significant differences, but there are many reasons why someone might consume organic foods. Health is one, but they may be concerned about the environment, animal welfare practices or taste, and we weren't evaluating that."

The study is published Sept. 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Smith-Spangler and her colleagues analyzed 237 previous studies, including 17 involving human consumption of organic vs. conventional diets and 223 comparing either the nutrient levels or the bacterial, fungal or pesticide contamination of products such as fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, milk, poultry and eggs produced organically and conventionally.

Organic foods, often twice as costly as their conventional counterparts, have become big business in the United States in recent years, with estimated sales skyrocketing from $3.6 billion to $26.7 billion between 1997 and 2010, according to study background information.

Organic products are generally grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, irradiation or chemical food additives and without routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic livestock are offered freedom of movement and access to the outdoors and are fed pesticide- and animal byproduct-free organic feed.

Only one nutrient, phosphorous, was found to be significantly more abundant in organic produce, but researchers felt this had little clinical significance since few people are deficient in phosphorous. Also, no difference in protein or fat content was observed between organic and conventional milk, though limited previous studies did suggest organic milk contains markedly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which may lower the risk of conditions such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis.

Smith-Spangler said she and her team were inspired to undertake the research to find answers for themselves, their families and their patients about the potential merits of organic foods. But, "we didn't find strong evidence that organic food was significantly more nutritious or healthier," she said, "and similar levels of both types are contaminated with bacteria" such as E. coli, which can be deadly.

"We can't exclude the idea that some organic practices may increase nutrient levels . . . or increase or decrease bacteria," she said. "But at the market you don't often get to look at the organic practices used. Many studies mention that other factors can influence nutrient content, such as ripeness, season and storage practices."

Charles Benbrook is chief science consultant at the Organic Center in Enterprise, Ore., which says it conducts "credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming." He praised the study authors' "ambitious undertaking" but said the study underestimated the impact of organic livestock farming on reducing antibiotic resistance and missed analyzing research attributing important health benefits from organic produce on prenatal development.

"We need to recognize that finding strong evidence of clinically significant health benefits for eating organic food is a tall order," Benbrook said. "But I don't think their study rules out some of the more subtle benefits of consuming organic foods that are more in the nature of promoting healthy pregnancies and preventing disease."

"To practitioners [like the researchers], a clinically significant outcome and improvement relies on a much more profound change in the health and biology of a person than what most literature speaks to," he added, "which is that people who make decent dietary choices but also buy high-quality organic food . . . improve the odds that they stay healthy."

More information

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more on organic foods.

SOURCES: Crystal Smith-Spangler, M.D., instructor, Stanford University School of Medicine, and physician-investigator, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, Calif.; Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., chief science consultant, Organic Center, Enterprise, Ore.; Sept. 4, 2012, Annals of Internal Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. PaleoMeal Organic Whey Protein Formula Improved According to Rockwell Nutrition
2. Popular Characters Can Help Kids Eat Healthy Foods Too
3. In your future: More healthful foods to nourish the non-human you
4. Good mood foods: Some flavors in some foods resemble a prescription mood stabilizer
5. GTC Green Cleaning Products Now Available from UNFI - United Natural Foods
6. Pictures of Fatty, Sugary Foods May Spur Cravings
7. Gout Flare-ups Rise Sharply With Certain Foods: Study
8. Eating More Foods Rich in Omega-3s May Lower Alzheimers Risk: Study
9. Can Heavy Metal in Foods, Cosmetics Spur Breast Cancer Spread?
10. Turning Off the Tube Linked to Healthier Weight in Teens
11. Low-Cal Diets Kept Monkeys Healthier, But Didnt Lengthen Lives
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Organic Foods Not Healthier or More Nutritious, Study Says
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by Whole Health Supply is ... of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from Chinese herbs that have ... Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract and Rehmannia Root Extract ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a ... new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a ... occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have simply gotten out of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van ... Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite ... 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone ... physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If ... at my other children and say he was going to kill them. If we ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, join The ‘Business for ... $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to increase at the same ... wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, and make future increases more predictable. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016  Collagen Matrix, Inc., ("Collagen Matrix") ... manufacturing of collagen and mineral based medical devices ... Bill Messer has joined the company ... leverage the growing portfolio of oral surgery, neurosurgery, ... Bill joins the Collagen Matrix executive team as ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets ... Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" report to ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart Skin, Structural Health Monitoring, Composite ... Structural electronics involves electronic and/or electrical components and ... dumb structures such as vehicle bodies or conformally ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... to their offering. ... World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the world market for ... report includes the following: , World IVD ... (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , World IVD Companion ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: