U.S.: organic health benefits 'unclear', study shows

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U.S.: organic health benefits 'unclear', study shows

A Stanford University study has found there is not enough evidence to suggest organic food is significantly more nutritious than conventional food.

The team led by Dena Bravata and Crystal Smith-Spangler analyzed 17 studies of populations consuming organic and conventional diets, and the results were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"There isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you’re an adult and making a decision based solely on your health," said Bravata.

"Some believe that organic food is always healthier and more nutritious," added Smith-Spangler. "We were a little surprised that we didn’t find that.

"Our goal was to shed light on what the evidence is. This is information that people can use to make their own decisions based on their level of concern about pesticides, their budget and other considerations."

However, two of the studies showed significantly lower urinary pesticide levels among children consuming organic versus conventional diets, but meaningful differences were not found in adults.

Smith-Spangler said there was a "confusing body of studies" surrounding the health impacts of organic foods, making it a ripe area for systematic review.

The research was not long term with trial durations lasting between two days and two years, comparing the health impacts of organic and conventional fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, milk, poultry, and eggs.

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.


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