Organic produce and meat typically isn't any better for you than conventional varieties when it comes to vitamin and nutrient content, according to a new review of the evidence.
But organic options may live up to their billing of lowering exposure to pesticide residue and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to researchers from Stanford University and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System.
"People choose to buy organic foods for many different reasons. One of them is perceived health benefits," said Dr. Crystal Smith-Spangler, who led the new study.
"Our patients, our families ask about, ‘Well, are there health reasons to choose organic food in terms of nutritional content or human health outcomes?'"
To try to answer that question, she and her colleagues reviewed over 200 studies that compared either the health of people who ate organic or conventional foods or, more commonly, nutrient and contaminant levels in the foods themselves.
Those included organic and non-organic fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, poultry, eggs and milk.
Many of the studies didn't specify their standards for what constituted "organic" food - which can cost as much as twice what conventional food costs - the researchers wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Smith-Spangler and her colleagues found there was no difference in the amount of vitamins in plant or animal products produced organically and conventionally, and the only nutrient difference was slightly more phosphorus in the organic products.