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Organic Food No Better Nutritionally Than Conventionally Produced, Research Review

Posted in News by Skepdude on August 4, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT MEDICALNEWS TODAY

Scientists in the UK who systematically reviewed research from the last 50 years concluded that from a nutritional point of view, organically produced foods are no better than conventionally produced.

The study was the work of researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and appears in the 29 July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Based on figures from 2007, the organic food industry is estimated to be worth 29 billion pounds (about 48 billion US dollars) worldwide and continues to grow while consumers appear willing to pay premium prices for food they believe to be superior in health and nutritional benefits.

Although some previous reviews have concluded that organic food is superior in nutritional content compared to conventionally produced food, nobody has yet done a systematic review of the literature, said a press statement from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

For this study, which was funded and commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), the authors sought to:

“Quantitatively assess the differences in reported nutrient content between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs.”

They systematically searched abstracts databases for details of papers dating from the beginning of 1958 to the end of February 2008, contacted experts on the subject, and also manually searched bibliographies.

They included reports of research where the abstracts were written in English and the researchers had measured and compared the nutrient content of organic and conventional food.

To be of satisfactory quality and be included in the analysis, a study had to show it was designed with rigour. For instance, it had to include evidence of the organic certification scheme from which the studied foodstuffs were derived, the breed of livestock, the crop cultivar, plus details of lab methods and statistical tools used in the analysis.

The reviewers then analysed data on 13 nutrient categories.

They did not examine the content of contaminants or chemical residues.

The results showed that:

  • From a total of over 52,000 articles, there were 162 (137 on crops and 25 on livestock products) that met the researchers’ first level of inclusion criteria but only 55 of these were of satisfactory quality and went into the analysis.
  • Conventionally produced crops had a significantly higher content of nitrogen.
  • Organically produced crops had a significantly higher content of phosphorus and higher titratable acidity.
  • There was no evidence of a difference among the remaining 8 crop nutritient categories.
  • Analysis of the few quality studies on livestock products showed no evidence of differences in nutritient content between those that were organically and those that were conventionally produced.

The researchers concluded that:

“On the basis of a systematic review of studies of satisfactory quality, there is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs.”

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT MEDICALNEWS TODAY

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8 Responses

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  1. redrabbitslife said, on August 5, 2009 at 10:25 AM

    Chemical fertilisers were invented for a reason. If you go to a country, eg Malawi, where some people can afford fertiliser and others can’t, you can see the difference in terms of height of crops and health of children.

  2. Ben said, on August 6, 2009 at 1:04 PM

    MediaCurves.com just conducted a study on 308 viewers of a news clip stating there is no added nutritional value in organic food products. The majority (65%) of viewers stated that they will not change their purchasing behaviors after hearing this information. The majority of respondents (71%) also reported that the main reason why they purchase organic foods is that they are free of food additives, and 66% indicated that the main reason why they purchase organic foods is that they are lower in pesticide residue. For more in-depth results please visit http://www.mediacurves.com/NationalMediaFocus/J7478-OrganicFood/Index.cfm.
    Thanks,
    Ben

    • Skepdude said, on August 6, 2009 at 2:51 PM

      Bullshit! If one even spoke to an organic food enthusiast in their lives, there is no way that the “they’re healthier/teastier/more nutritious” argument has not been used. This is quite simply a type of moving the goal post. Pesticide residue? Really? Food additives? What the hell is that and how do they know organic stuff has less? Even if it did, why would that be a better thing to be sought after?

      This seems a lot like people reacting to fear mongering. Pesticides..Additives..RUN AWAY! Better safe than sorry right?

  3. […] pseudoscientific attitudes and opinions? Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Organic Food No Better Nutritionally Than Conventionally Produced, Research…Stupid quote of the dayA Question to a Professor of Organic AgricultureOrganic Food is No Healthier, […]

  4. […] Organic Food No Better Nutritionally Than Conventionally Produced … Based on figures from 2007, the organic food industry is estimated to be worth 29 billion pounds (about 48 billion US dollars) worldwide and continues to grow while consumers appear willing to pay premium prices for food they believe to … […]

  5. Canada Guy said, on November 3, 2009 at 1:31 PM

    Organic farming methods offer several benefits for the environment and human health as a whole, but unfortunately, there are many misconceptions and falsehoods being spread regarding organic food and farming methods, both by proponents and detractors. Here are the facts about what organic methods can do for us and what they can’t.

    http://www.selfdestructivebastards.com/2009/11/organic-myths-and-realities.html

  6. Swarovski Pendants said, on December 16, 2009 at 11:07 AM

    Thanks thanks thanks! I was looking for something along lines of this for hours and couldn’t find it.

  7. Marie Smith said, on February 14, 2010 at 12:43 AM

    Hmm…. this is a piece of writing I’m willing to take a bullet for. Absolutely hits the mark. I have some minor concerns but I don’t desire to commence a lengthy post and somebody might flame me. Just wish to maintain this blog civil and clean. Wouldn’t like any hatemail would i? lol keep it up!


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