Saturday, April 24, 2010

Are there really nutritional benefits to Organic products?

Sure, I get that I'm not putting additional pesticides in my body, when I pick out the organic produce vs the non-organic produce, which is important, but what about all the talk that organic is the way to go for more nutritional value? I would like to feel like I'm doing my body such nutritional favor when I go for the organic carrots or apples at my local Trader Joe's, to truly justify the extra price that I'm paying. Even though I feel so proud of my produce when it says organic on the label, I always have nagging questions in the back of my mind, is organic food truly more nutritionally advantageous versus the conventional food?

According to an article published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that reviewed several quality studies, there is no difference in the nutritional quality of an organic produced food versus a conventionally produced food. The studies reviewed included both produce and livestock products. From this article, it seems that there aren't very many quality studies done because out of over 52,000 articles, only 162 of those were actually worthy enough to have been of satisfactory quality.

This article from the Science Daily, highlights the research done by the University of Copenhagen, department of human nutrition, that basically proves the same thing, no real difference in the nutritional content between organic and non-organic. This study reviewed the intake of non-organic and organic produce in animals over a two year period.
While I'm skeptical that it was done on animal subjects versus humans, the article still validates for me that there just isn't enough data out there for me to believe that along with the absence of pesticides on my produce, that I'm also getting an advantage in terms of nutritional value when I buy organic.

I see why consumers tend to be confused and not necessarily convinced that organic food is worth the extra money, especially if they aren't as environmentally conscious. This informational page about organic food from the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, seems to be the same type of information that is the most widely-spread about the benefits of organic. The page clearly states that an organically grown pepper will be more healthier and nutritious than a conventionally produced pepper. I believe most people are led to believe that if they buy organic, not only are they helping the environment, which is completely true, but they are also helping themselves with a more nutritious product.

From now on when I buy my organic baby carrots at TJ's, which I will continue to do, I now believe that I'm not buying them for additional nutritional value, but to reduce the amount of pesticides in the environment and in my body.


  1. I totally agree. I saw that giant literature review when it came out last year. I think it is a very interesting review, compiling more than 50,000 articles.

    I think organic food market is promoting its products as being more nutritious and it is funny that most of those organic companies also own very large non-organic farms!

    I do like local farmer's market, because I like to support my local farmers. And I think they are colorful and fun. I also try to avoid high pesticide foods and buy organic if I can find.

    Here is a list that might be helpful but I don't how credible is the source though :)

  2. This blog makes me question my knowledge in terms of organic foods. The word is they're healthier for you and you should choose them over inorganic foods. Because I hear this so often that I start believing it without doing further research to validate this assumption.

    It's like common knowledge, so many people don't question it. But I have to say that I really don't know the nutritional difference between organic and inorganic foods.

    I've been led to believe they're healthier but besides that, I don't know much else. So I think you brought up a good point.