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Is Organic Food More Nutritious Than Conventional? Probably Not.

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Volker Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images

A new study questions the health benefits of organically-grown produce.

Researchers at Stanford University have combed through hundreds of scientific papers, comparing organically-grown produce to conventional. In one important respect, they found very little difference.

The study, published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, didn't ask whether organic fruits and vegetables are better for the environment, or create a safer workplace for farm workers.

It didn't ask whether organic foods taste better, or whether trace amounts of pesticides can affect human health over time.  

Rather, said physician Dena Bravata, the study's co-author, the question was:

"What is the evidence that organic and conventional foods differ in either their nutritional benefit or their safety?"

The answer? There isn't much evidence of that at all. Bravata says when it comes to healthfulness, "there is, in general, not a robust evidence base for the difference between organic and conventional foods."

Children who ate organic produce had less pesticide in their urine. Researchers said it was unclear how those levels affect children's health.

 

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