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Organic food offers no extra nutrition

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Organic food and nutrition

A study published today in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that organic food offers no more nutrition than conventionally produced foods. An extensive review of literature from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine focused on the nutritional value of organic foods, comparing to conventional produce.

The study is the largest systematic review of nutrients in organic foods ever conducted. Some studies suggest that organic food is more nutritious, but now researchers find that organically and conventionally produced foods are nutritional equals.

The researchers examined literature over a fifty-year period, extracting 162 publications about the nutritional content of organically and conventionally produced food. Fifty-five papers were chosen for quality. Analysis of thirteen nutrients compared the difference between the two foods.

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“A small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs, says Alan Dangour, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's Nutrition and Public Health Intervention Research Unit, but these are unlikely to be of any public health relevance”.

The reviewers say there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods based on nutritional value.

The study did not address pesticides and chemicals used in conventionally produced foods. The authors focused entirely on comparing the nutritional value organic versus conventionally produced foods. The study authors say intense research could lead to a better understanding of other factors that contribute to the nutritional value of food. The large review shows organic food offers no extra nutrition compared to conventional produce.

Am J Clin Nutr (July 29, 2009). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28041