Is Organic Healthier? Finally, the Scientific Answer!

Nutrition // 12WBT Staff


If someone mentions organic do you immediately get the guilts about your grocery-buying habits? Whether it’s from overspending ‘for the taste’ or from choosing the cheapest option ‘to stay on budget’, at 12WBT we know that the concept of ‘going organic’ comes with a host of health, nutrition and cost questions.

You’ve heard this before: organic food is tastier, it leaves a smaller eco footprint, uses less pesticides, has less toxic packaging, is kinder to the earth, comes in nicer colours… and costs more, can be harder to get hold of and is sometimes covered in dirt.

These pros and cons are pretty obvious so, tastebuds and wallets aside, what about scientific answers to the question: Is organic healthier?

Out rockstar 12WBT dietitian Chantelle Curtis-Latchford weighs up the costs of going organic.

If you were to look at all the research out there that tests metal traces and toxin levels in fruit and veggies, you’d get an organic-size headache!

One way of making sense of all the information is to look for meta-analysis – this is research that researches all the research (phew!) and combines all the studies and statistics to come up with a few good averages.

Here’s a great example. According to a UK meta-analysis of 343 studies, organic crops and crop-based foods are up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally grown crops. While it’s no surprise, it IS nice to know it’s scientifically proven.

According to the British Journal of Nutrition, the same meta-analysis shows lower levels of toxic heavy metals including cadmium, in organic crops – as much as 5% lower!

“Although most people’s intake of cadmium in conventional foods is below that associated with any health risk, this is one area where organic foods may have a larger margin of safety,” says Dr Ian Musgrave from the School of Medicine Sciences at the University of Adelaide, SA.

So, if antioxidants are high on your must-have list, and keeping toxic metals out of your diet is a priority, you now have scientific proof that organic produce ticks those boxes.

Whether you go organic or not, the 12WBT recipes are the same. So take the hard work out of planning daily menus for a healthy, balanced diet and sign up now!