Large Study Adds to Evidence that Organic Food Is Superior

It’s higher in antioxidants and lower in pesticide residues.
A comprehensive new study published this week in the prestigious British Journal of Nutrition shows very clearly that how we grow our food has a huge impact. “If you buy organic fruits and vegetables, you can be sure you have, on average, a higher amount of antioxidants at the same calorie level,” according to lead researcher Carlo Leifert, a professor of ecological agriculture at Newcastle University in England.
This was a meta-analysis, that is, a study that collected and assessed hundreds of other studies. Although it stops short of making any health claims for organic food—it didn’t study how much of an impact switching to organic food could have on one’s health—it definitively shows that organic food contains a higher level of antioxidants, and the authors note that other studies have suggested that antioxidants have been linked to a lower risk of cancer and other diseases.
In addition, the study found that pesticide residues were dramatically reduced in organic foods. Conventional crops had four times the amount of pesticide residue, and significantly higher concentrations (48%) of the toxic metal cadmium. Cadmium, which also is present in cigarette smoke, can cause damage to the liver and kidneys at certain levels.
The study was undertaken, according to the researchers, because scientific opinion is “divided” on whether there are significant nutritional differences between organic and non-organic foods. This prompted them to carry out meta-analyses based on 343 peer-reviewed publications that indicate statistically significant and meaningful differences in composition between organic and non-organic crops or crop-based foods. The “substantially higher” concentrations of antioxidants were found across the board in organic foods—and in the case of a group of compounds known as flavanones, as much as 69% higher in the organic produce.
Dr. Jessica Shade, director of science programs for the Organic Center in the UK, says the new analysis “corrects many shortcomings of earlier studies” and “should put to rest any doubts about the benefits of organic. Based on the findings, if an individual were to switch from a conventional to an organic diet, they could receive a 20–40% increase in antioxidants.”


  1. Thank you for your ongoing excellence. You seem to know about things of importance before anyone else.

  2. Maria Rodale, author of the Organic Manifesto has been shouting about the fact that organic is superior for years since her grandfather was owner of the first organic farm in the US.

  3. Every once in a while, there is hope for the FDA. Now that they will allow Dr. Burzynsk’ig cancer treatment to proceed, I wonder how many could have been saved, while the FDA sat on its collective ass.
    Secondoy, most organic food concumers already know and accept what the British Journal of Nutrition has published. Hello Monsanto and the GMA, and oh yes, GMO’s.

  4. I use to grow, what I thought was, organic vegetables until I got to thinking that ever since the invention of the nuclear age the world is no longer capable of organic anything. Please explain to me how anything can be grown in today’s atmosphere and still be called organic?

  5. This meta-analysis still doesn’t answer the question about health, because the new science is that anti-oxidants aren’t that important. My information is from a Scientific American article on food from 2013. What I would like to know: are there more nutrients in organic foods?
    Don’t get me wrong: I buy organic not just to avoid the pesticides, but to avoid GMOs and to support the health of our farmland and farm workers, who are predominantly young migrants, including many children.

    1. the problem is, as long as we are polluting the air, there is never a REAL ORGANIC, because the neighbors DIRT flies on the organic crop, and I don’t mean my neighbor next door. We had SAHARA dust flying around in TEXAS, there is polluted rain from JAPAN in the USA etc.
      at least if we try to stay organic, then we can reduce a lot of poison,
      we can be the leader for others to stay local and support the local vendors
      we have enough food in our own country, we don’t need imported goods
      we have to stop the BIG moneymaker and politician from killing our own agriculture
      we once lived healthy – think about the time you grew up – try to get back to the ways you ate
      stay away from GMOs
      plant more trees to clean the air – maybe a petition to your town – do you too see all the big parking lots of the big businesses – I see tar / I don’t see shade/trees enough

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