Food is called “organic” if it is grown without pesticides, antibiotics, and other chemicals. One reason people choose organic food is that they think it is healthier. But this is hard to prove.
Scientists agree that you can measure higher levels of chemicals in non-organic foods. Sometimes you can measure the same chemicals in the human body. But the difference is small when you compare people who consume organic foods with others who don’t. Doctors aren’t sure if these differences can affect your health.
To decide if a diet is healthy, you can look at nutrient levels in the foods. Nutrients include vitamins, minerals, and protein. Some studies have found some nutrient levels to be slightly higher in organic foods. Other studies have found no difference or differences that are too small to impact your health.
Another way to see if organic foods are healthier is to compare health problems among people who eat organic foods with people who don’t. It is hard to do these studies because so many other factors impact your health. For example, people who eat organic foods may make many other healthy lifestyle choices. This makes it hard to know if it is the organic foods that are making a difference to their health. Scientists have looked at problems like cancer and heart disease. They have not been able to show that organic foods lower your risk. There is some evidence that children who consume only organic dairy may have a lower risk of allergies.
The Bottom Line
Organic foods may have some health benefits. But there is no solid proof yet that they can noticeably improve your health. Eating a diet of vegetables and fruits, whole wheat grains, and low-fat protein, organic or not, has been shown to be healthier than other diets.
Organic or not, a healthy diet is what hits the spot!