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Organic Foods Aren't Inherently More Nutritious

Tracy Davenport Tracy Davenport
Food & Beverages
3rd January 2021
Organic Foods Aren't Inherently More Nutritious
Organic foods are not necessarily healthier than conventionally grown crops (Getty Images).

The Claim

Organic foods are more nutritious than conventional foods.

Emerging story

Social media abounds with claims that organic food is more nutritious than traditionally grown food. 

Misbar’s Analysis

USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives.

Misbar has discovered that while many believe organic food is healthier, not everyone is in agreement. In terms of nutritional quality, according to the American Council on Science and Health, a crop's vitamin content is based upon the plant's genetics and the conditions it is grown in. If the growing conditions are the same, and soil composition equivalent, a food’s nutrient content will be the same whether grown "organically" or conventionally. In a review of almost 100,000 articles, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition summarized it this way: “From a systematic review of the currently available published literature, evidence is lacking for nutrition-related health effects that result from the consumption of organically produced foodstuffs.”

Another argument used by those promoting organic food is based on the belief that organic diets reduce pesticide exposure. However, in a 2020 article in Current Opinion in Toxicology, they explain why health benefits from a decreased exposure to pesticides through organic food consumption remain unsubstantiated. While there is sufficient evidence that nonorganic food products contain higher levels of synthetic pesticides, there is not yet proof that the lower levels of pesticides lead to better health. 

Organic foods are more expensive than non-organic foods. According to UCDavisHealth.edu on average, organic foods cost 50 percent more than their conventionally produced counterparts. This means that for a family on a limited budget, buying organic could mean buying less healthy foods like fruits and vegetables if they are limited to organic choices. 

One clear advantage of organic farming is less pesticides in the environment. However, in terms of health benefits, Johns Hopkins suggests that since the research is not yet convincing on the health benefits of organic food, organics may not offset the higher prices you will pay. 

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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