A cancer diagnosis makes many of wonder whether we should be eating organic food - assuming we can afford it of course. A UK meta-analysis of 343 studies just published in the British Journal of Nutrition Analysis, has found organic crops and crop-based foods are up to 60 per cent higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally-grown crops. The study also shows significantly lower levels of toxic heavy metals in organic crops including cadmium, which was found to be almost 50 per cent lower in organic crops than conventionally-grown ones.
But whether this translates to better health for consumers buying organic food is still not known.
After looking at the study results, Ian Musgrave, Senior lecturer in Pharmacology at University of Adelaide, Australia, says that organic food is still not more nutritious than conventional food:
Professor Ian Rae, Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Former President of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute said:
“The most interesting result of the meta-study is the difference in the content of some but not all antioxidant substances in organic produce. There is no obvious reasons for the differences, but whether they translate into better nutrition is a question that deserves further investigation. It’s no surprise that organic produce shows significantly lower pesticide residues and less contamination by metals, such as cadmium, that are found as trace impurities in some phosphate fertilisers. But … hang on … organic growers are not supposed to use these pesticides or fertilisers at all, so we would not expect to find any of these contaminants in their produce, not just lower concentrations. Are some ‘organic’ growers cheating?”
Further comments from UK experts:
Here's a summary of the report conclusions and an assessment of the strengths and limitations of the scientific methods used in the study by volunteer statisticians:
Any the wiser?