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AAP: Little Evidence Supporting Health Benefits of Organic Food

Last Updated: October 22, 2012.

Organic foods expose consumers to fewer pesticides associated with disease, but current evidence does not demonstrate nutritional benefits or deficits compared with conventionally farmed foods, according to a study published online Oct. 22 in Pediatrics to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 20 to 23 in New Orleans.

MONDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Organic foods expose consumers to fewer pesticides associated with disease, but current evidence does not demonstrate nutritional benefits or deficits compared with conventionally farmed foods, according to a study published online Oct. 22 in Pediatrics to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 20 to 23 in New Orleans.

Joel Forman, M.D., and Janet Silverstein, M.D., from the Committee on Nutrition and Council on Environmental Health at the American Academy of Pediatrics, reviewed the health and environmental issues related to production and consumption of organic food.

The authors report that there is convincing evidence that organic diets expose consumers to fewer pesticides associated with human disease. Compared with conventional approaches, organic farming has been shown to have less environmental impact. Based on current evidence, there are no meaningful nutritional benefits or deficits for organic versus conventionally grown foods. There is a lack of well-powered studies demonstrating direct health benefits or disease protection that arise from consuming organic food. Well-designed farming studies show that the costs of organic foods can be competitive, with yields similar to conventional farming, although there is often a significant price premium for organic foods.

"Pediatricians should incorporate this evidence when discussing the health and environmental impact of organic foods and organic farming while continuing to encourage all patients and their families to attain optimal nutrition and dietary variety consistent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate recommendations," the authors write.

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