Organic foods can be expensive, sometimes costing nearly twice as much as their non-organic counterparts, yet many of us cling to one thought when shelling out the extra dough: Organic foods are better.
Not when it comes to nutrition. Mineral for mineral, vitamin for vitamin and protein for protein, organic foods stack up just the same as non-organic foods. In 2012, researchers at Stanford University and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System reviewed more than 200 studies comparing nutritional levels in organic and conventional foods, as well as the health of people who ate both types. What they found is that plant and animal foods have the same amount of vitamins, no matter how they're grown. The only possible exception resides in the dairy section, where organic milk, cheese and yogurt were sometimes reported to have elevated omega-3 levels.
If you continue to cling to your free-range sensibilities, take heart: Organic food does have one overriding benefit. If it's on the menu, you won't be as likely to ingest antibiotic-resistant bacteria or pesticides because of the animal-raising and produce-growing methods. In fact, one study detected pesticide levels on about one-third of the non-organic produce tested, as opposed to 7 percent of the organic produce examined. However, even conventional foods rarely exceeded the U.S. government's allowable level of pesticides [source: Pittman].