Organic foods are no healthier the non-organic food

Organic aisle at the supermarket 
By: John Roberts 

If you are one of those people, who pay a lot more to buy organic food, you may need to rethink your buying habits.

Organic produce and meat usually are not better for you than conventional foods when it comes to vitamins and nutrients. Although, in general it will reduce exposure to pesticides and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to a U.S. study.

"People choose to buy organic foods for many different reasons. One is the perceived health benefits," said Crystal Smith-Spangler, who led a team of researchers from Stanford University and Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care.

"Our patients, our families ask: 'Well, are there any health reasons to choose organic foods in terms of nutritional content or results on human health?"’ She said.

She and her colleagues reviewed more than 200 studies comparing the health of people, who ate organic or conventional foods or more commonly, the levels of nutrients and contaminants in the food itself.

Foods included organic and nonorganic fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, poultry, eggs and milk.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture standards, organic farms must avoid the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics. Also, organic livestock must have access to pasture during the grazing season.

Many of the studies used however, did not specify the rules of what constituted "organic" foods, which can cost up to twice the cost of conventional foods, the researchers wrote in their report.

Smith-Spangler and colleagues found no difference in the amount of vitamins in products organically produced over conventionally produced foods, and the only difference was a bit more phosphorus in organic products, which showed no added health benefit.

Organic milk and chicken can also contain more omega-3 fatty acids, but was based on only a few studies.