Is eating organic food better for you?
According to a recent study by researchers at Stanford University, not really.
A four-year study from California’s Stanford University has found that when it comes to nutrition, consuming higher priced organic foods — which can lower exposure to pesticides — may not be worth the extra cash.
“There isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you’re an adult and making a decision based solely on your health,” stated Dr. Dena Bravata, a senior research affiliate at Stanford and long-time internist who began the analysis because so many of her patients asked if they should switch.
In the study, published in the September 4 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers examined 223 previous papers detailing nutrient and contaminant levels in various products (fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, milk, poultry and eggs) grown organically and conventionally.
Though the results of the study did show that some organic foods contained 30 percent lower levels of pesticides in some cases, the review yielded little evidence that conventional foods posed greater health risks than their organic counterparts.
The pesticide residue amounts found in the conventional foods, according to Dr. Bravata, were almost always below federally-set safety limits.
“When we began this project, we thought that there would likely be some findings that would support the superiority of organics over conventional food,” said Bravata. “I think we were definitely surprised.”
While the findings of Stanford’s study will almost certainly fuel the debate over whether organic products are a better choice for healthier living, they are unlikely to sway many fans of organic food.
As Maressa Brown of CafeMom.com wisely notes:
“Ultimately, the glaring issue with this study is that the researchers weren’t looking at the reasons people buy certain groceries (like the “Dirty Dozen”) organic. I don’t stick to organic strawberries and organic poultry because I think either food will provide me with more of anything … be that vitamin C or protein. I’m buying organic, because I want fewer toxins.”
Readers: What are your thoughts on Stanford’s organic food study? Do you buy organic? If so, what are your reasons for doing so?