September 3, 2012

IT'S SUPERSTITION, NOT SCIENCE:

Evidence Lacking for Health Benefits of Organics (Tom Jacobs, 9/3/12, Pacific Standard)

"The evidence does not suggest marked health benefits from consuming organic vs. conventional foods," a research team led by two Stanford University scholars writes in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Specifically, they report that studies conducted to date do not contain "strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods."

The researchers do conclude that "consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria." But, they add, even those benefits come with an asterisk.

A research team led by two Stanford-affiliated MDs, Dena Bravata and Crystal Smith-Spangler, analyzed 237 studies examining the benefits of organic foods. Such foods are usually grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, or the routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones.

Only a handful of the studies examined the effects of organic or conventional diets on groups of people. The vast majority--223--compared the levels of either nutrients or contaminants in organic and conventionally grown varieties of various foods.

"Of the nutrients evaluated, only one comparison--the phosphorous content of produce--demonstrated the superiority of organic foods," the researchers write. They did not find this particularly impressive, given that "near-total starvation is needed to produce dietary phosphorous deficiency."

On the other hand, studies do show that an organic diet gives you a pronounced holier-than-thou aura.

Posted by at September 3, 2012 6:01 PM
  

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