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Organic food--maybe it's no better for you

August 8, 2008 | 12:34 pm

We may like to think organic food is more healthful -- but is it, truly? Reports of a new study suggests it doesn't, at least, provide more minerals and trace elements.

The study, done by Susanne Bügel and coworkers at the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Copenhagen and published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, examined carrots, kale, peas, apples and potatoes grown three ways:

--with manure, no pesticides (except for a natural one added to kale);

--with manure and pesticides;

--mineral fertilizers plus pesticides.

All crops were grown under similar conditions and harvested at the same time -- and then analyzed for their content of various nutrients and trace elements: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper and oh, a few more. The scientists didn't find any differences.

Then the team fed the food they'd grown to rats over a two-year period and looked to see what amounts of these nutrients were taken in and then excreted -- and found that the amounts were no different in the animals eating organic food than those getting food not grown organically.

Of course, this is just one study. And there are other nutrients to consider when assessing organic food -- as well as presence or absence of pesticide residue and the relative effect on the environment of organically and non-organically grown crops. Lots to chew on, here.

Here's a take from the Mayo Clinic on the organic food issue.

And here's a whole slew of organic info from

-- Rosie Mestel