The health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables are well known. But which are better—organic fruits and vegetables or conventional ones?
According to a study conducted by the Center for Health Policy at Stanford University and published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, there’s no compelling evidence that organic foods are more nutritious or that they help reduce health risks, even though they may contain relatively fewer traces of pesticides and antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Sounds counterintuitive? Even the study’s senior author, Dena Bravata, started her research thinking that “there would likely be some findings that would support the superiority of organics over conventional food,” according to an article in the New York Times. “I think we were definitely surprised.”
The Stanford study is based on a so-called meta-analysis of 237 studies of organic and conventional foods conducted over 40 years. Published just four days after Organix, a long-anticipated organic foods store opened in Eagle Rock, the study is bound to hit a nerve with organics advocates, including, it seems, the Los Angeles Times. The paper’s lead editorial on Wednesday makes a case for organic food, arguing that the Stanford study is mostly remarkable for what it omitted.
Naysayers, on the other hand, will probably find that the Stanford study confirms their suspicions that the benefits of organic foods are hyped—and that the stuff itself is way too pricey.
What do you think? What has your own experience been with organic—or conventional—food? Share your views and/or convictions in the comments section below.