Friday, November 5, 2010

Organic vegetables 'no better for health' than conventionally grown ones

Really, no surprises here in my opinion.

Organic vegetables are no healthier than those grown conventionally, according to a university study. Agricultural scientists grew potatoes, carrots and onions under both organic and traditional conditions then tested the health-giving properties of each.

They found there was little difference in the amount of polyphenols, the chemical compound in vegetables that helps fight cancer, heart disease and dementia.

Organic crops are more expensive and are often perceived as being healthier, though consumers also cite environmental concerns, taste and texture and animal welfare as other reasons for spending more.

The researchers reported: ‘The demand for organic food products is steadily increasing, partly due to the expected health benefits of organic food consumption. ‘On the basis of the study carried out under well-controlled conditions, it cannot be concluded that organically grown onions, carrots, and potatoes generally have higher contents of health-promoting secondary metabolites (polyphenols) in comparison with the conventionally cultivated ones.’

In their two-year study, Danish researchers cultivated 72 plots of land. On half they used traditional farming methods including treatment with pesticides, non-organic fertilisers and nutrients. The other plots were farmed organically, which meant using only natural aids such as manure instead of fertiliser.

Crops were grown at different times of year and in different parts of the country to get a balanced result. This is because the kind of soil, the difference in climate and attacks by pests are major factors in the amount of polyphenols produced by plants.

The study, undertaken by environmental scientists at the University of Copenhagen, was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


No comments: