Is the study discounting the benefits of organic food likely to change your eating habits?

A new study finds that, despite the expense, eating organic food does not deliver significant benefits in health or nutrition. Today’s Question: Is the study discounting the benefits of organic food likely to change your eating habits?

  • Cindy

    No it won’t change my eating habits. The benefits of organic are in not accumulating pesticides in our systems, in the soil, and groundwater, etc, to name the biggest reason I personally buy organic as much as possible. Other studies have shown that organically grown food often does have superior nutrient content, but that’s not the main reason I buy it. This so called study conveniently left out some things or glossed over them, and the media seized upon another opportunity to do bad reporting to please corporate owners and advertisers. Furthermore, the same industries that fight the whole organic notion also fight to get various pesticides included as “accepted” under the organic label. The word organic has actual legal meaning and has a very high bar to reach. Unlike words like natural, light, healthy, etc, which mean zip.

  • Joe Herron

    Cindy said it all. The only thing I would add is that I never bought organic for nutritional reasons.

  • Ben

    Its unfortunate that this story is showing up all over the place. The main reason people buy organic is because they don’t want to eat pesticides and herbicides. Its not the nutrient content that is the quesiton, its the chemicals that are sprayed all over the fruits and vegetables and the chemicals put into the soil to grow them. The media is making a big deal out of the wrong thing and is misinforming of the real reasons for organic.

  • Paul

    I will always buy organic..for two reasons. One..they taste FAR better….and two..not genetically modified. Please…do the research..find that over 50 per cent of shoppers would not buy a product IF they knew it was GMO.

    Far too many studies have been done to show that GMO products are not safe.

  • Rosalyn

    No I wouldn’t change. The richer taste that comes with eating organic foods just is not matched by that of non-organic foods. So with organic eating, you get the nutrition, no pesticides and great taste !

  • When I first read this headline, I immediately thought, “I wonder which corporate dragons are being represented by their lobbyists for profit?” Such a misleading and inaccurate heading! Most people who eat organic foods do so to avoid all the pesticides and other pollutants used to raise in large, non-organic foods farming operations and not for the reasons cited in the article. Shame on this writer for such distortion of the truth and for putting down people’s attempts to eat a pesticide free diet! As usual….$$$$ rules the day over common sense and the welfare of the planet and the people who inhabit it! Shameful, really.

  • Rab gemini

    Is the media so stupid? Makes me wonder who sponsored this research in the first place. People buy organics because they don’t want pesticides in their body and organic milk because cows are raised humanely with their familiar food and not grown like plants in one place, fed with grass, not treated with artificial growth harmones. No one ever said organics are most nutritious. Whole foods and traders joe will continue to do well but not the skeptics.

  • Aj Janssen

    No, because studies are flawed and I know for a fact that I can pick out the organic apple in a taste test, I’ve done it! Organic foods taste better and thus are better for you because you will eat more of them. GMO foods do not taste as good and neither do foods laced in pesticides.

  • GregX

    This is like comparing a 1961 Corvair and a 2012 Volvo in a 2 mile an hour crash test. Yup – you would survive both. This is the result – not of shoddy research – but of shody reporting by the media at large AND shoddy understanding by the media-consuming public. We are singe-fact based sychophants. We don’t bother to review the broader base of comparitve studies, we don’t bother to ask about methodology, study size, or repeatability. We don’t want to find out if this was a pure/simple chemical analysis or a multi-year review of 20,000 participants on their bodies ability to process the various nutrients from different food sources. We just wanna read the blurblet and be another of informed unknowing.

  • GregX

    “Organic foods taste better and thus are better for you because you will eat more of them.” – – –

    Taste is subjective. I’ve had some hideously awful organic apples, oranges, banana’s. Same for the corporate foods. The difference – cost primarily. Organics have to clear a higher hurdle – but that is primarily for “branding quality”. Sort of like paying more for Acura than a Honda or a Cadillac instead of a Chevy. Made by the “same” process – but not really.

    I do agree – fewer pesticides on the food has got to be far better for me than more pesticides.

  • Steve the Cynic

    No, because I’ve never bought into the superstitious idea that “natural” is always better and “chemicals” are always bad.

  • John

    Chemicals from big business farming has been polluting ground and run-off water for years and we will see the affect in increased disease and illnesses. One of the biggest benefits of buying organic is that you won’t have to wait anxiously to see the ramifications of these additives, and the lasting detrimental effects that they may have on our lives.

  • Kate G.

    Here’s why I eat organic: oversight. Conventional agriculture has zero oversight. To be certified organic, your operation is inspected on a regular basis AND can be inspected at any time without notice. This ensures both food quality AND food safety. The system isn’t perfect, but I trust organic food much more than I trust conventional food.

    For taste, freshness, and health reasons I eat LOCAL. There are credible studies that suggest food that is grown locally and eaten soon after harvested is much better for you. Local AND organic is the key!

  • David Korb

    Once again, MPR caves into the stories handed to them by the Press List, yes, the same list used by Faux News. Proof that one million dollars trumps one million votes…every time

  • Jim G

    No. We can’t afford to buy all organic food.

    However, this will be another chance to educate the populace on how the numbers are crunched to determine a studies’ conclusion. As Bob Collins notes in his News Cut there are different ways to analyze the authors’ own numbers to support an 81% percent reduction in risk or incidence of pesticide residues in the organic samples compared to the conventional sample.

    On antibiotic usage for farm animals raised for meat the study did find a notable difference. When germs do lurk on non-organic meats they have a 33% percent higher risk of being resistant to multiple antibiotics. That seems significant, especially to those unfortunate enough to eat contaminated food. There are consequences for our frail and youngsters: sometimes grave consequences.

  • Gary F

    No. I wont spend the extra money to buy organics. I could afford to spend the extra money, but choose not to.

  • Regnar James

    So,, if I hunt and gather my own food does that count as organic:-)


  • Bear

    This is some really bad reporting.

    The following is extracted from primary report:

    Limitation: Studies were heterogeneous and limited in number, and publication bias may be present. (which means the primary data probably does not cover the whole population or time scope)

    Conclusion: The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

    Reduced exposure to “antibiotic resistant bacteria” with outbreaks of MRSA and other flesh eating bacteria, isn’t this a good thing?

    Let’s have a more rigorous study before publishing lame headlines like this.

    And, consider that Stanford is in California, California is the largest agricultural economy in the world. Could this have influenced this highly questionable conclusion?

  • Melina

    No. My family tries to eat healthy and we will continue to do so. I don’t feel pesticides are healthy. One study is not going to change my mind.

  • Paul

    I’ll still eat too much and no study seems to be able to change that.

  • Mark

    No. Saying that I am reminded of an ethics course in college where I took the position against organic foods. My reasoning was organic foods use more water and more rich soil to grow, harming and using more of the environmental resources than other types of growing. Hence when people purchase and consume organic products they are actually commiting a self centered act and not helping the environment but rather only helping themselves at the environment’s expense.

  • Mike

    from a life well lived to a dollar well spent according to recent studies funded by…

  • Dave

    No, I’ll still veer towards organic. As far as I can tell the study was just about nutrition, not about the affects of pesticides and fertilizer on the human diet.

  • Em

    I most certainly will continue to eat organic for many reasons. It tastes better, I feel better (organic does not have all the disgusting additives/chemicals/preservatives/ingredients you can’t produce made in a lab), I am helping local farmers who have a much smaller crop and less livestock and can actually tend to it all, i’m not contributing to large scale factory farm practices that are destroying and degrading natural prairie, groundwater, lakes, streams, etc from polluted and toxic runoff, and this is how food is supposed to be! It is natural and fresh, it is unaltered, it is coming from the earth the way food is intended to come from the earth. I understand that it can be expensive, but if you are a savvy shopper and spend some time researching, you can often find coupons, sales, bulk deals, etc… and I’ve come to realize that by buying organic I am typically spending $25 more during each grocery visit – a minimal cost when you consider that $25 can be re-budgeted quite easily in most people’s lives. It is a lifestyle choice for me.

  • Gary F

    The question should be stated

    “Do the studies you read/hear about food quality and it’s medical benefits change your eating habits?”

    I turn the radio station when I hear a “new report that this or that is now good or bad for you”.

  • david

    Some how i think the oil industry has their hand in this study. It sounds like koch funded sudo-science. We’ll know when mitt “the empty suit” romney brings it up in his next speech.

  • Steve the Cynic

    It would be hard to feed the 8 billion people that will soon be occupying the planet with boutique foodstuffs, which is what “organic” food is.

  • suestuben

    No, the study is fatally flawed. How on earth can genetically-modified foods covered with poisons be as good for you as non-GMO, non-poisoned food? It is impossible.

    The USA is a very large laboratory using people as test subjects for corporate scientists who are working to give their bosses more money, not healthful food. It takes work to be a smart consumer and refuse to participate in this great experiment. If you have children you owe it to them to offer high-quality food; children deserve the chance to acheive their full potential, to not be dragged down by allergies, autism, ADHD, etc. When I look at the elderly folks I’ve known, they accomplish more and have more energy than today’s 20 year-olds. The difference is being raised with organic food versus highly-processed, non-nutritious, genetically-modified, mildly poisonous food.

    The study lacks a longitudal component and so should be taken with a grain of salt. We are a long-lived species who ofttimes develop health problems many years after an event. Organic food is the way to eat, if, for no other reason, that we don’t know the long-term impact of GMO foods.

  • Ann

    For those of us who are unemployed or in low paying jobs, there is no choice.We buy the cheapest food we can get. Dial-up Internet is my only “luxury.” I can’t also afford the luxury of organic food. I am hearing reports about the foods being offered in schools. It would be nice to be able to buy the things that they are serving. I have heard that many kids throw it away.

  • Patrick

    Ah, those hidden costs lurking in the shadows few consumers see. Fact–conventional farming is destroying the land, water, air. There is more to nutrition than the next bite of calories.