Sunday, September 16, 2018

Organic Foods vs Conventional Foods
Organic Foods vs Conventional Foods

According to a recent study, the foods produced in the conventional methods are in no way inferior to foods produced organically, in terms of the important nutritional components they contain. Alan D. Dangour, Ph.D., who is a public health nutritionist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, says, “Our aim was to find out whether organic foods are better than the food that is grown in conventional ways from the nutritional point of view. Our studies indicate that they are not.”

These findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is different from the opinions of food researchers in the USA.

The organic food crops are grown with the controlled use of chemicals and pesticides. Similarly, in the case of foods from animal products, the use of medicine is done under set standards. As per the London researchers, the worldwide annual organic food market is around $48 billion.

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The review of Organic foods & Conventional foods


The study team headed by Dangour searched and made comparisons of the organic food and conventional food during the period from January 1958 to February 2008. They deduced the nutritional characteristic of foods from 55 satisfactory studies. The list of nutritional components included the following elements:

  • Nitrogen
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Potassium
  • Phenolic compounds (polyphenols)
  • Vitamin C
  • Phosphorous
  • Total soluble solids
  • Acidity content


The review funded by the U.K. Food Standards Agency revealed that there was no difference in the nutrient contents of foods from an animal source. In the case of crops, the conventionally produced crops contained a higher amount of nitrogen and organically grown crops showed the high amount of phosphorous and acidity. The residual content of pesticides in foods was not included in the study.

As expected, members of the organic food industry in the USA were appalled by the review. Some other experts also followed suit. Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumer’s Association reacted by saying, “We believe that the organically produced food contain relatively less amount of residual toxic elements and have higher concentrations of vitamins and essential trace elements. This fact has enough scientific backing and has prompted millions of Americans to purchase organically prepared food products even at higher prices.”

Michael Hansen, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Consumers Union and food expert blamed the basis and methodology of the study. He commented, “The research took into account studies conducted as back as 1958 and many studies made prior to 1980 are inaccurate due to various reasons.”

“The nutritional level of the foods has decreased over the years and hence, studies made in 1958 should not be cited for any evaluation at present.” He elaborates further.

But Danger points out that the comparisons and evaluations were conducted for each case study and most of the studies were conducted after 2000.

Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., chief scientist for the Organic Center, a Boulder-based industry group, opines that studies at his center do not emphatically draw any conclusion. But the more recent intensive studies establish the superior quality of the organically produced foods over the conventionally grown foods. He feels that the research team in London has not highlighted the fact that organically grown foods contain about 25% higher amount of antioxidants and polyphenols.

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