(Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence
of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature
review and meta-analyses)
-Bu makale, New York Times, Huffington Post, TIME, BBC News, Telegraph vs. yayın organlarına konu ve üzerinde çok tartışmalar oldu.
-Bu konu önemli, çünkü yalnız sağlık değil, sosyoekonomik, politik etkisi mevcut.
-İnsanların sağlığa ulaşması gibi, sağlıklı gıdalara ulaşması toplumsal iç barış için önem arz etmektedir.
-Bu çalışma 343 çalışmanın dahil edildiği bir metaanaliz. Başlıkta anlaşılacağı gibi, organik gıdalar( sebze, meyve, tahıl vs.) daha yüksek oranda antioksidan içermekle beraber, daha az koruyucu madde içeriyor. Fakat protein ve vitamin açısından daha zengin değil.
- Yüksek oranda koruyucu madde yada yüksek antioksidan oranın insan sağlığı üzerine olumlu olacağını öne süren yayınlar olmakla beraber, bu konuda kanıtlamış çalışma bulunmamaktadır.
-Makalenin yazarlarınında belirtiği gibi, organik gıdanın yüksek antioksidan , düşük katkı madde içermesi (böcek ve zararlı canlılara karşı kullanılan vs.) insan sağlığına diğer gıdalara göre uzun dönemde daha faydalı olacağını öne sürmemiz için daha kapsamlı çalışmaya gerek vardır.
Sonuç: Çok sorulan bir soru, kanser gibi istismara açık olan guruba doğru bilgi vermeli, ağız tadı ve lezzet için organik gıda yenilebilir fakat henüz kanıtlamış mevcut bir bilgiye sahip değiliz.
Organic Foods Found To Have Higher Levels Of Antioxidants, Lower Levels Of Pesticides.
The New York Times (7/13, Chang, Subscription Publication, 9.65M) reports that “a comprehensive review of earlier studies found substantially higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides in organic fruits, vegetables and grains compared with conventionally grown produce.” The full findings will be published in the British Journal of Nutrition, and the Times notes that they “stop short of claiming that eating organic produce will lead to better health.”
The Huffington Post (7/12, 11.54M) reports that the study is “said to be the largest of its kind.” Lead study author Carlo Leifert said in a news release, “This study demonstrates that choosing food produced according to organic standards can lead to increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic heavy metals.” He added, “This constitutes an important addition to the information currently available to consumers which until now has been confusing and in many cases is conflicting.”
NPR (7/14, Charles, 519K) reports in its “The Salt” blog that antioxidants “can protect cells from the effects of aging, or from the sort of damage that can lead to cancer,” and study co-author Charles Benbrook, from Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, “says this is a big reason why public health experts want us all to eat more fruits and vegetables.” Furthermore, “if organic produce provides more” antioxidants, “he says, ‘we think that’s a big deal.’”
Also reporting this study are TIME (7/14, 24.1M), BBC News (7/14, Morgan, 1.17M), and the Telegraph (UK) (7/14, Sawer, 3.23M).
Study of Organic Crops Finds Fewer Pesticides and More Antioxidants
By KENNETH CHANGJULY 11, 2014
New York Times
A hydroponic greenhouse in Connecticut. An estimate says that domestic organic food sales reached $32.3 billion last year. Credit Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times
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Adding fuel to the debates over the merits of organic food, a comprehensive review of earlier studies found substantially higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides in organic fruits, vegetables and grains compared with conventionally grown produce.
“It shows very clearly how you grow your food has an impact,” said Carlo Leifert, a professor of ecological agriculture at Newcastle University in England, who led the research. “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.”
However, the full findings, to be published next week in the British Journal of Nutrition, stop short of claiming that eating organic produce will lead to better health.
“We are not making health claims based on this study, because we can’t,” Dr. Leifert said. The study, he said, is insufficient “to say organic food is definitely healthier for you, and it doesn’t tell you anything about how much of a health impact switching to organic food could have.”
A review of earlier studies found significant differences between organic and conventionally grown produce. Credit Paul O. Boisvert for The New York Times
Still, the authors note that other studies have suggested some of the antioxidants have been linked to a lower risk of cancer and other diseases.
The conclusions in the new report run counter to those of a similar analysis published two years ago by Stanford scientists, who found few differences in the nutritional content of organic and conventionally grown foods. Those scientists said the small differences that did exist were unlikely to influence the health of the people who chose to buy organic foods, which are usually more expensive.
The Stanford study, like the new study, did find pesticide residues were several times higher on conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, but played down the significance, because even the higher levels were largely below safety limits.
Organic farming, by and large, eliminates the use of conventional chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Those practices offer ecological benefits like healthier soils but produce less bountiful harvests. The Organic Trade Association, an industry organization, estimated organic food sales last year in the United States at $32.3 billion, or just over 4 percent of the total market.
What is disputed, vociferously, is whether organic fruits and vegetables provide a nutritional lift. Many naysayers regard organic as a marketing ploy to charge higher prices.
“The other argument would be, if you just eat a little bit more fruits and vegetables, you’re going to get more nutrients,” said Alan D. Dangour, a researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Dangour led a review published in 2009 that found no significant nutritional differences between conventional and organic foods.
Such differences are difficult to discern, because other factors that can vary widely from place to place and year to year, like the weather, also influence the nutrients. Even if differences exist, it is unclear whether they would affect consumer health.
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In the new study, an international team of scientists did not conduct any laboratory or field work of their own. Instead, they compiled a database from 343 previously published studies and performed a statistical procedure known as a meta-analysis, which attempts to ferret robust bits of information from studies of varying designs and quality.
Some of the studies reported many measurements, some only a few. Some included several crops grown over multiple years, while others looked at only a few samples. But if done properly, the results of a meta-analysis can be greater than the average of its parts.
Over all, organic crops contained 17 percent more antioxidants than conventionally grown crops, the new study found. For some classes of antioxidants, the difference was larger. A group of compounds known as flavanones, for example, were 69 percent higher in the organic produce. (At very high quantities, as in some supplements, some antioxidants have been shown to be harmful, but the levels in organic produce were not nearly that high.)
The researchers said they analyzed the data in several different ways, and each time the general results remained robust.
The study cost $429,000, which came from the European Union and the Sheepdrove Trust, a British charity that supports organic farming research. The scientists said the money came with no strings, and their research passed the rigor of scientific peer review for publication.
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Two valid reasons to spend more on organic produce - Bees and kids.There is growing evidence that the bee population is declining as a...
The question of greater nutrients is less important to me than avoiding the consumption of pesticides. That, by itself, is plenty!
It has been clear to me for awhile that we need to redistribute how we spend money on our health. Why not pay more for growing truly healthy...
• See All Comments
Charles M. Benbrook, a professor at Washington State University and another author of the paper, said this analysis improved on earlier reviews, in part because it incorporated recent new studies.
The findings fit with the expectation that without pesticides, plants would produce more antioxidants, many of which serve as defenses against pests and disease.
The study also found that organically produced foods, particularly grains, contain lower levels of cadmium, a toxic metal that sometimes contaminates conventional fertilizers. Dr. Benbrook said the researchers were surprised by that finding; there was no difference in other toxic metals like mercury and lead.
Even with the differences and the indications that some antioxidants are beneficial, nutrition experts said the “So what?” question had yet to be answered.
“After that, everything is speculative,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “It’s a really hard question to answer.”
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Dr. Nestle said she buys organic foods, because she believes they are better for the environment and wants to avoid pesticides. “If they are also more nutritious, that’s a bonus,” she said. “How significant a bonus? Hard to say.”
She continued: “There is no reason to think that organic foods would be less nutritious than conventional industrial crops. Some studies in the past have found them to have more of some nutrients. Other studies have not. This one looked at more studies and has better statistics.”
Dr. Dangour, however, remained entirely unconvinced. He said the researchers erred in not excluding the weaker studies from the analysis. “To my mind, there’s no convincing evidence that these foods are different in nutritional composition,” he said.
Organic Food Has More Antioxidants, Less Pesticide Residue: Study
The Huffington Post | By Dominique Mosbergen
• Organic food really is better for your health than its conventional counterparts. At least, that's the conclusion of a new study conducted by researchers at Newcastle University and published this week. But not everyone is convinced.
Specifically, the researchers said that organic fruits, vegetables and cereals contain significantly higher concentrations of antioxidants than conventionally grown crops. They added that organic produce and cereals were found to have lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides.
For the study -- said to be the largest of its kind -- the researchers analyzed more than 340 international, peer-reviewed studies that looked at compositional differences between organic and conventional crops.
According to the paper, researchers found that organically grown produce and cereals have between 19 and 69 percent higher concentrations of certain antioxidant compounds than conventionally grown crops.
"Many of these [antioxidant] compounds have previously been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including [cardiovascular] and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers, in dietary intervention and epidemiological studies," the paper reads.
The researchers added that pesticide residues were four times more likely to be found in conventional crops than organic ones. Organic produce and cereals were also found to have significantly lower concentrations of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal.
"This study demonstrates that choosing food produced according to organic standards can lead to increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic heavy metals," lead study author Carlo Leifert said, per a news release. "This constitutes an important addition to the information currently available to consumers which until now has been confusing and in many cases is conflicting."
The question of whether or not organic food is really better nutritionally has plagued health-conscious foodies for years; but despite Leifert's confidence, it doesn't seem that his new study will put this debate to rest.
When it comes to antioxidants, for example, the jury is still out as to whether the compounds really have a substantial impact on health. In addition, as The Guardian notes, "the higher levels of cadmium and pesticides in the conventional produce [referenced in the study] were still well below regulatory limits."
The BBC also pointed out that levels of proteins and amino acids "were lower in the organic crops sampled" in the study.
"You are not going to be better nourished if you eat organic food," Tom Sanders, a professor of nutrition at King's College London, told The Guardian this week. "What is most important is what you eat, not whether it's organic or conventional. It's whether you eat fruit and vegetables at all. People are buying into a lifestyle system. They get an assurance it is not being grown with chemicals and is not grown by big business."
A number of earlier studies that have looked at the differences between organic and conventional crops seem to support Sanders' comments.
In 2012, for instance, a large study conducted by Stanford researchers found that organic foods are, on average, "no more nutritious" than conventional ones, per The New York Times. A 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition similarly concluded that there's "no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs."
But there are also studies that seem to support the idea that organic crops are indeed better for health. A 2010 study by Washington State University researchers found evidence that organic strawberries contained more vitamin C than conventional ones.
In addition, there is some scientific evidence to support the idea that consuming pesticides could be harmful to health.
Ultimately, it seems that more research still needs to be conducted to determine conclusively whether or not organic produce is really better for health.
Leifert himself acknowledges that his team's study should only be used as a "starting point" and that more research needs to be done into the possible health benefits of organic food.
"We have shown without doubt there are composition differences between organic and conventional crops, now there is an urgent need to carry out well-controlled human dietary intervention and cohort studies specifically designed to identify and quantify the health impacts of switching to organic food,” he said, per a press release.
Leifert's study, which was peer-reviewed, was published Friday in the British Journal of Nutrition. Read it here.
Also on HuffPost:
Are Organic Vegetables More Nutritious After All?
by Dan Charles
July 11, 2014 6:28 PM ET
Listen to the Story
All Things Considered
hide captionOrganic fruits and vegetables deliver between 20 and 40 percent more antioxidants than conventional fruits and vegetables, a new study finds.
There may never be an end to arguments over whether organic food is more nutritious. But a new study is the most ambitious attempt so far to resolve the issue — and it concludes that organic fruit and vegetables offer a key benefit.
It's a scientific reply to an analysis that some researchers at Stanford University published two years ago. That paper, which generated lots of media coverage and much controversy, reviewed more than 200 studies of organic and conventional food, and concluded that organic foods do not really offer any significant nutritional benefit.
This new analysis, from a group of scientists mostly based in Europe, crunched data from an even bigger pile of studies: 343 of them, carried out over the past several decades. It will be published Monday in the British Journal of Nutrition.
The new analysis repeats some of the Stanford group's findings. It finds that organic and conventional vegetables offer similar levels of many nutrients, including minerals, vitamin C and vitamin E. Conventional crops are higher in protein. And there are fewer pesticide residues on organic foods, as you'd expect.
But the group found a significant difference in the levels of special compounds called antioxidants. "Across the important antioxidant compounds in fruits and vegetables, organic fruits and vegetables deliver between 20 and 40 percent higher antioxidant activity," says Charles Benbrook, from Washington State University's Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, a co-author of the study.
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These antioxidant compounds, which go by names like flavonoids and carotenoids, are getting a lot of attention lately. Their effects remain somewhat murky, but scientists say they can protect cells from the effects of aging, or from the sort of damage that can lead to cancer.
Benbrook says this is a big reason why public health experts want us all to eat more fruits and vegetables: They deliver a good dose of antioxidants. And if organic produce provides more of them, he says, "we think that's a big deal."
Benbrook thinks there are a couple of reasons why they're seeing this result.
First, plants make these compounds to protect themselves when they run into challenges like insects or diseases. And organic crops, because they aren't protected by as many chemical pesticides, have to fight off more hungry bugs. "Plants in an organic field are getting chewed on," he says.
The second reason, Benbrook says, is that organic crops aren't getting as much fertilizer. More heavily fertilized conventional crops may grow faster and get bigger, but as a result, their nutrients may get diluted.
"That's why when you buy these great big juicy apples that are just sweet as sin, it's that extra moisture and carbohydrate that dilutes the vitamin C and the anthocyanins," he says.
This analysis, however, probably isn't the end of this debate.
Jeffrey Blumberg, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University, says attempts to draw conclusions from collections of hundreds of different studies, each one comparing organic and conventional food, are beset by a host of methodological problems. For one thing, there's no single "organic" or "conventional" production system.
Some organic crops get lots of organic fertilizer; some don't. Some are protected with lots of natural pesticides; some are not. Conventional practices vary widely, too. So it's difficult to know, in the end, what you really are comparing. And food that's compared in these studies may not be the same as the food you're buying in the store.
In any case, Blumberg says, the difference in nutritional quality between organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables really isn't that big — especially when you consider the gap between what Americans should eat, and what they really consume.
"Most Americans are getting only a couple of servings of fruits and vegetables every day," he says. "We're recommending that they get up to nine servings."
What really will make a difference in people's health, he says, is just eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. If you eat plenty of these foods — whether they're organic or not — you'll get plenty of antioxidants.
Study: Organic Produce Has Fewer Pesticides, More Antioxidants
• Sam Frizell @Sam_Frizell
July 12, 201
New research comes down on the side of organic food, but doesn't make any claims about health effects
Organically-grown fruits, vegetables and grains have substantially higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides than conventionally-grown produce, according to a comprehensive review of earlier studies on the matter.
Organic crops contain 17 percent more antioxidants than conventionally grown crops, according to the study, to be published next week in the British Journal of Nutrition.
“It shows very clearly how you grow your food has an impact,” Carlo Leifert, a professor of ecological agriculture at Newcastle University in England who led the research, told the New York Times. “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.”
The findings contradict a similar analysis published two years ago by Stanford scientists, who found that there are only minor differences in the nutritional content of organic and conventionally-grown foods.
However, the new study does not claim eating organic food leads to better health. However, many studies have suggested that antioxidants have been linked to a lower risk of cancer and other diseases.
Organic food purchases accounted for just over four percent of the total food market in the United States last year, or $32.3 billion.
Study sparks organic foods debate
By James Morgan Science reporter, BBC News
Continue reading the main story
• Organic food 'not any healthier'
• Organic 'has no health benefits'
• How much fruit and veg should we eat?
A new scientific review claims organic foods are higher in nutrients and lower in pesticides compared with conventionally grown varieties.
Its authors carried out an analysis of 343 peer-reviewed studies looking at the composition of crops and foods.
They concluded organic crops had higher levels of certain antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which have been linked to health benefits.
But critics of the review said its claims had been overstated.
They argued the differences found between organic and non-organic crops were not significant, and that public health would be best served by getting people to eat more fruit and veg, irrespective of the farming methods used in the crops' production.
The latest study runs counter to two previous systematic reviews which found that organic and non-organic foods were broadly comparable in nutritional terms.
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Ultimately, we all need to eat more fruit and vegetables regardless of whether they are organic or not”
End Quote Dr Alison Tedstone, Public Health England
'Five a day'
The new review, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, was funded by the EU and the Sheepdrove Trust, an organic farming charity.
Its international team of scientists reviewed the available literature comparing the chemical content of foods - primarily cereals, vegetables and fruit - and crop-based products, such as seed oils, wine and baby food.
The meta-analysis found differences between organic and non-organic varieties which the team concluded were "significant and meaningful".
Organic foods had elevated levels of compounds often described as "antioxidants" - such as phenolic acids, flavonols and anthocyanins.
"Many of these compounds have previously been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers," the authors wrote.
However, levels of proteins, amino acids and nitrogen were lower in the organic crops sampled.
Lead author Prof Carlo Leifert of Newcastle University said: "This study demonstrates that choosing food produced according to organic standards can lead to increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic heavy metals".
However, the study noted, "it is important to point out that there is still a lack of knowledge about the potential human health impacts of increasing antioxidant intake levels and switching to organic food consumption."
The new findings stand opposed to two previous meta-analyses that found no significant composition differences between organic and conventionally farmed crops.
In 2012, a study by Stanford University scientists looked at 237 papers and concluded that: "No consistent differences were seen in the vitamin content of organic products, and only one nutrient - phosphorus - was significantly higher in organic versus conventionally grown produce."
In 2009, a Food Standards Agency report led by Dr Alan Dangour analysed 55 studies and found organic and non-organic foods were "broadly comparable" in their nutrient content.
There was no difference in the majority of nutrients analysed, and "no good evidence that increased dietary intake of the nutrients identified to be present in larger amounts in [organic crops] and livestock products would be of benefit to individuals."
Prof Leifert said: "The main difference between the two studies is time. Research in this area has been slow to take off the ground, and we have far more data available to us now than five years ago."
However, his conclusions were questioned by two nutritional science experts independent of the research group.
Prof Tom Sanders, head of the Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division at King's College London's School of Medicine, said: "This article is misleading because it refers to antioxidants in plants as if they were a class of essential nutrients, which they are not.
"In terms of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat), the organic products contained less protein. Other nutrient differences were trivial and well inside the normal range of variation that occurs with different varieties, soil types and variations in weather.
"This study provides no evidence to change my views that there are no meaningful nutritional differences between conventional produced and organic crops."
Prof Richard Mithen, leader of the Food and Health Programme at the Institute of Food Research, added: "There is no evidence provided that the relatively modest differences in the levels of some of these compounds would have any consequences (good or bad) on public health.
"The references to 'antioxidants' and 'antioxidant activity', and various 'antioxidant' assays would suggest a poor knowledge of the current understanding within the nutrition community of how fruit and vegetables may maintain and improve health."
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: "PHE welcome this addition to the evidence base but we cannot assess the potential impact of organic foods on public health from this study alone.
"Ultimately, we all need to eat more fruit and vegetables regardless of whether they are organic or not to form part of a healthy balanced diet, which will help protect health."
New study to split opinion on organic food
A new study claims organic fruit and vegetables can lead to better health
Organic fruit and vegetables may be better for your health after all, a study has found Photo: ALAMY
By Patrick Sawer
4:58PM BST 11 Jul 2014
The benefits of organic fruit and vegetables are once again set to split public and scientific opinion after a study linking them to better health has been challenged by academics and nutritionists.
In one of the most comprehensive analysis to date researchers found that organically grown fruit and vegetables contain more of the antioxidant compounds linked to better health, along with lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides.
The international scientific team behind the research suggests that switching from regular to organic fruit and vegetables could proved the same nutritional benefits as adding one or two portions of the “five a day” currently recommended.
Professor Carlo Leifert, from Newcastle University, and his team concluded that there are “statistically significant, meaningful” differences between organic and conventional fruit and vegetables, with a range of antioxidants “substantially higher” – between 19% and 69% – in organic.
The researchers say the increased levels of antioxidants are equivalent to “one to two of the five portions of fruits and vegetables recommended to be consumed daily and would therefore be significant and meaningful in terms of human nutrition, if information linking these [compounds] to the health benefits associated with increased fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption is confirmed”.
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The results are based on an analysis of 343 previous peer-reviewed studies from all over the world – a greater number than ever before – which examined the differences between organic and conventional fruit, vegetables and cereals.
But opinion over whether organic food is better for people is likely to remain divided following the report’s publication next week.
Prof Richard Mithen, Leader of the Food and Health Programme at the Institute of Food Research (IFR), said the study had failed to show that consumers should switch to organic for the sake of their health.
He said: “There is no evidence provided that the relatively modest differences in the levels of some of these compounds would have any consequences (good or bad) on public health. The references to ‘antioxidants’ and ‘antioxidant activity’, and various ‘antioxidant’ assays would suggest a poor knowledge of the current understanding within the nutrition community of how fruit and vegetables may maintain and improve health.”
Prof Mithen added: “The additional cost of organic vegetables to the consumer and the likely reduced consumption would easily offset any marginal increase in nutritional properties, even if they did occur, which I doubt. To improve public health we need to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables, regardless of how they are produced.”
Tom Sanders, a professor of nutrition at King’s College London, said the research did show some differences, but added: “The question is are they within natural variation? And are they nutritionally relevant? I am not convinced.”
Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England, also expressed scepticism over the findings. She said: “PHE welcome this addition to the evidence base, but we cannot assess the potential impact of organic foods on public health from this study alone. Ultimately we all need to eat more fruit and vegetables regardless of whether they are organic or not to form part of a healthy balanced diet, which will help protect health. Currently the population is eating on average 4.1 portions of fruit and vegetables per day and we need to increase this to a minimum of 5-a-day.”
However, Helen Browning, chief executive of the Soil Association, which campaigns for organic farming, welcomed the findings. She said: “The crucially important thing about this research is that it shatters the myth that how we farm does not affect the quality of the food we eat.”
Prof Leifert and his colleagues conclude that many antioxidants “have previously been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers”. But they also note that no long-term studies showing health benefits from a broad organic diet have yet been conducted.
The study, funded by the European Union and the Sheepdrove Trust, an organic farming charity, also found that pesticide residues were found on conventional crops four times more often than on organic food.