There’s plenty to like about organic food: it usually tastes better and it lowers your exposure to pesticides. However, if you think it’s actually better for you in a strict nutritional sense, you’re wrong. A new scientific study reminds us of what common sense already tells us: in terms of nutritional composition, there is no difference between “organic” food and the common-and-not-your garden stuff.
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A meta-analysis of 240 studies examining organic food published in the Annals Of Internal Medicine found that there were no notable differences identified between organic and “conventional” foods when it came to nutritional benefits or health risks. “There isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you’re an adult and making a decision based solely on your health,” co-author Dena Bravata noted. The paper itself makes the point regarding nutrition more explicitly:
Despite the widespread perception that organically produced foods are more nutritious than conventional alternatives, we did not find robust evidence to support this perception.
If you’re committed to organic food, the study doesn’t provide any reason to stop buying it (assuming you can afford it). Just remember to check the provenance carefully; the word “organic” alone isn’t a guarantee.
Annals of Internal Medicine [subscription site]