21 July 2011
Organic Foods are not Worth the Expense
Health-conscious consumers have an interest in knowing if the extra money they spend on organic food is justified. The organic food industry, therefore, has a large financial interest in convincing the public that the food they sell is healthier, tastier, safer, and better for the environment.
Organic Foods are not Healthier
One of the main reasons people pay up to three times more for organic foods is based on the belief that organic foods are nutritionally superior; however, this popular belief is not backed by science. A recent study lead by Dr. Alan Dangour, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, reviewed over 160 scientific articles on the comparative nutritional content of organic and conventional foods published in the last 50 years (Dangour et al. 680). After intensive review of the literature, Dangour and his team of researchers found that “there is no evidence to support the selection of organically produced foodstuffs over conventionally produced foodstuffs to increase the intake of specific nutrients or nutritionally relevant substances” (Dangour et al. 684). Across eleven different nutrient categories, including vitamin c and calcium, the study showed no evidence of a significant difference in content (Dangour et al. 682). The study did show some minor differences, mainly that organically produced crops contained higher levels of phosphorous and acidity and conventionally produced crops contained higher levels of nitrate. However, the Dangour study suggested these small differences have no impact on the nutritional quality of the crops (Dangour et al. 682).
While some critics suggested the Dangour study failed to credit organic crops as healthier due to lower nitrate concentrations, more recent studies actually suggest that dietary nitrate is not only safe, but also beneficial. A comprehensive review published by The American Journal of.