Organic foods do not offer health advantages over conventional foods, says study. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has conducted an extensive analysis of scientific evidence surrounding organic produce, dairy products, and meat. They found no direct evidence that consuming an organic diet leads to improved health or lower risk of disease.
There are some benefits:
They did find that organic foods have the same vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, lipids, and other nutrients as conventional foods, but they also have lower pesticide levels. Organically raised animals are also less likely to be contaminated with drug-resistant bacteria because organic farming rules prohibit the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics.
“What’s most important is that children eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products, whether those are conventional or organic foods. This type of diet has proven health benefits,” said Janet Silverstein, a member of the AAP Committee on Nutrition and one of the lead authors of the report. “Many families have a limited food budget, and we do not want families to choose to consume smaller amounts of more expensive organic foods and thus reduce their overall intake of healthy foods like produce.”
The report outlines the research that has been conducted on organic foods, including evidence of lower exposure to pesticides and less contamination of livestock with drug-resistant bacteria.
“At this point, we simply do not have the scientific evidence to know whether the difference in pesticide levels will impact a person’s health over a lifetime, though we do know that children—especially young children whose brains are developing—are uniquely vulnerable to chemical exposures,” said Joel Forman, a member of the AAP Council on Environmental Health and one of the lead authors of the AAP clinical report.
The AAP found no individual health benefit from purchasing organic milk, but emphasizes that all milk should be pasteurized to reduce the risk of bacterial infections. Purchasing meat from organic farms that do not use antibiotics for nontherapeutic uses has the potential to reduce antibiotic resistance in bacteria that infect people.
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Curated by FoodieDoc, Anna Resurreccion