The Independent – Food trends come and go, but there’s one area that confounds such volatility.
Interest in – and indeed purchases of – organic food continues to rise. From 2017-18 the British organic market rose by 6 percent, while the latest Soil Association report says the past year has seen a 5.3 percent increase. By 2050, it is set to be worth £2.5 billion ($3.1 billion).
There are many reasons people incorporate organic products into their diets – the environment, biodiversity, animal welfare, avoiding pesticides and antibiotics, and, of course, health.
But whether organic produce is actually better for you is a contentious subject, largely because there’s still a dearth of hard evidence.
For example, while organic milk has been found to contain 50 percent more omega-3 fatty acids, Dr. Luisa Dillner, who heads the BMJ Group Research and Development, points out that “this translates to a tiny amount more fatty acid in organic milk.” In other words, the benefits may be minuscule.
Most doctors and health professionals are likely to echo the words of Kathy McManus of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital: “People believe these foods are better for them, but we really don’t know that they are.”
When The Telegraph asked nutritionist Fiona Hunter whether organic food was healthier her reply was: “Yes and no.”
Hunter pointed to environmental benefits and potential risk of the ‘cocktail effect’ of pesticides (when several different pesticides are mixed over a long period of time in the body), but added on whether organic food contains more vitamins and minerals, “Some studies show they do, others show no significant difference.”
Even the Soil Association, the main British organic certification body, is coy on the subject.
“The science is complicated,” says Robert Percival, head of policy for food and health. “A strong body of science now shows organic food is nutritionally different. How that translates to health benefits is less certain. More research is needed.” … Read more.