A Moment of Science

Is Organic Good for You?

Are you bothered by all the pesticides farmers use and want to eat food that's more nutritious? Well, organic food is not necessarily more nutritious.

Organic salad and sandwich

Photo: Canadian Veggie (flickr)

Organic food like this doesn't necessarily contain more vitamins and nutrients than regularly grown food

Have you gone organic because you are bothered by all the pesticides used by conventional farmers and want to eat food that’s more nutritious?

Well, those are two very different things. Pesticides and herbicides can cause problems, especially when it comes to polluting groundwater and rivers and lakes, not to mention my ingesting them. However, organic food is not necessarily more nutritious.

A lot of people think that nutrition is a big part of eating organic, but there’s no conclusive evidence that organic food contains more vitamins, minerals, or other nutritious compounds than other food.

Do a web search and you’ll find plenty of articles claiming that organic foods are more healthful supposedly because they don’t have preservatives and use crop rotation instead of pesticides. However, how many of these claims are backed by hard scientific evidence? I don’t know. What I do know is that a reputable source such as the Mayo Clinic website claims that there’s no reason to assume that organic food is more nutritious than other food.

Organic farmers do use only natural pesticides and fertilizer, and there is evidence that organic food is good for the environment, but as for whether it gives us more nutrition, that’s still up for grabs.

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