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Debate: Is organic food better?

New study claims it has no nutritional difference

Posted: 2 June 2013
by Catherine Hudson

Smelling fruit has proven not to be as beneficial as eating it

If you buy organic foods for your children because you think they’re more nutritious, you may be interested in a new American study that shows organic is no better for them than conventionally-produced foods.

“Nearly every study shows no nutritional difference,” said Professor Janet Silverstein of the University of Florida, whose team reviewed all the available research, looking at  nutritional values, as well as hormones, antibiotics and chemical exposure.

“In the long term, there is currently no direct evidence that consuming an organic diet leads to improved health or lower risk of disease,” she says. Of course, many parents worry about the traces of pesticides and other contaminants in conventional foods, but researchers say there’s no evidence at the moment that these are harmful. However, Professor Silverstein would like to see more research into this area. “We don’t know the effect of these low levels on children during the vulnerable period of time when brain growth is occurring,” she says. “Until we know the answer to that question, we can’t really give people good advice other than to let parents know what we know – and what still needs to be studied.”

Meanwhile, it is crucial to provide growing children with plenty of fruit and vegetables, even if they are not organic. “The most important thing is to give children a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products, whether from conventional or organic foods,” says Professor Silverstein. 

What do you think? Do you buy only organic food? 

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