Is Organic Food More Nutritious Than Conventional Food?


There is no clear answer. Here’s what says: “No conclusive evidence shows that organic food is more nutritious than is conventionally grown food. And the USDA—even though it certifies organic food—doesn’t claim that these products are safer or more nutritious.” The statement from the Food Marketing Institute is even stronger: “Overall, organic food is neither safer nor more nutritious than conventionally-produced food.”


The evidence may not be conclusive in some people’s opinions, but many others are convinced that, in terms of nutrition, organic is at least slightly better. Here’s a quote from the Weill Cornell Medical College newsletter: “Studies show that organic produce contains higher levels of many important nutrients, such as chromium, selenium, and even calcium.” The article goes on to say that organic fruits and vegetables tend to have more antioxidants, protection against cancer. However, according to food scientist Dr. Joe Regenstein, a build-up of chromium and selenium can be toxic, and the claim that organic produce provides better protection against cancer has been questioned. 


Here’s a USDA comment upon organic versus conventional crops : “Valid scientific research comparing organic and conventional foods is scant and what has been done focuses on very specific foods and conditions. Across studies done so far, however, some general trends have been noted: on average, organic foods contain slightly higher levels of trace minerals, vitamin C, and antioxidant phytonutrients than conventionally grown crops…. when and how these substances affect human health is still unclear.”


Moving from plants to animals, let’s consider this question: what type of animal feed makes the beef we eat more nutritious? Recently, Bill Kurtis (the well-known journalist, TV new anchor, rancher, and founder of Tallgrass Beef) spoke to a Chicago-area audience and answered this very question. According to Kurtis, it doesn’t matter whether cattle eat organic or conventional feed; if they’re fed corn rather than being allowed to graze, their meat will contain more fat and therefore be less healthy. He also explained that, due to complex digestive mechanisms, grass-fed cattle don’t need non-therapeutic antibiotics.


Source(s):  “Organic Foods”  (Weill, Cornell Medical College) Food & Fitness Advisor volume 9G.  ( “The Nutritional Superiority of Pasture Raised Animals” by David Kirby  Food Marketing Institute “Natural and Organic Foods”  (Executive Summary)


USDA “Should I Purchase Organic Food?”



USDA “Should I Purchase Organic Food?”


Related FAQs:

What Is Organic Food?


What Do the Various Organic Labels Mean? 


What Important Contributions Has the Organic Movement Made? 


Which Are Safer: Organic or Conventional Food Products?


Does Organic Food Taste Better than Conventional Food?


Is Food Organically Grown Food Better for the Environment?


Are Organic Methods More Humane to Animals?


Does Conventional Food Have a Longer Shelf Life Than Organic?


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