If you are debating whether it’s worth it to spend a few extra dollars (each) on the organic versions of your grocery list items, the results are in. And… it’s still a toss-up.
According to NPR, a new meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests that organics do have higher levels of some nutrients:
“The study finds that organic dairy and meat contain about 50 percent more omega-3 fatty acids. The increase is the result of animals foraging on grasses rich in omega-3s, which then end up in dairy and meats. The findings are based on data pooled from more than 200 studies, and research in the U.S. has pointed to similar benefits.”
Another meta-analysis of over 300 studies in the same journal found that organic crops “have substantially higher concentrations of a range of antioxidants and other potentially beneficial compounds.”
And yet, some experts believe that the additional nutrients are essentially meaningless:
"‘Such small changes are unlikely to represent any nutritional or health benefit,’ writes Ian Givens, a professor of nutrition at the University of Reading. In a statement on the new findings, Givens points out that switching from conventional milk to organic milk would increase omega-3 intake by only very small margins.”
On top of that, other studies have shown that organics can actually have lower amounts of other nutrients.
To sum it up, NPR says, “Given the big picture, lots of experts say that, from a health perspective, what you eat matters more than whether you choose organic or conventional.”
There’s still not quite enough evidence in favor of organics to make it easy to want to spend the extra money.