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Organic Food High in Antioxidants and Low in Toxic Metals

A meta-analysis of 343 studies has found that organic crops and crop-based foods are up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants and 50% lower in toxic heavy metals than conventional crops. But are these results biologically meaningful?

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“This is yet another study that shows that there is little difference in nutritional content between organically grown food and conventionally grown food. There have been many attempts to measure the nutritional differences between conventional and organic food, with largely inconsistent results. This is not surprising, as the nutritional value of foods is very variable, influenced strongly by local regional factors, variations in growing seasons and rainfall, ripeness of food when harvested and time of harvest. Even different cultivars of the same crop may vary significantly in composition due to the factors above.

“To try and avoid these limitations, several studies have looked at large numbers of these single studies (a meta-analysis), and generally concluded that there is no meaningful difference between conventional and organic food.

“The paper by Baranski and colleagues in the British Journal of Nutrition follows in the footsteps of these large comparison studies, looking at the largest group of studies to date (343). Their findings are largely similar to previous meta-analyses: only a handful of nutrients are statistically different between organic crops and conventional crops, and only one is of plausible biological significance.

“While some organic crops (typically fruits) had statistically higher levels of antioxidants than conventional, the...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.