Just because a food is pesticide-free doesn’t mean it’s necessarily more nutritious, according to a study just published by the American Academy of Pediatricsp (AAP). Dr. Janet Silverstein, a professor at the University of Florida found that there is actually no nutritional difference between pesticide-free and foods that are traditionally produced. Silverstein and her colleagues analyzed a number of factors, including the effects of hormones on the food and exposure to chemicals, and even the environmental impact. And their results applied to dairy products, meats, and produce.
In an official statement, the AAP said, “In the long term, there is currently no direct evidence that consuming an organic diet leads to improved health or lower risk of disease.” A few months back, researchers at Stanford reviewed 237 studies looking at organic vs non-organic and found the same thing: that neither has an advantage over the other. The biggest difference between organic and non-organic foods is price—a factor that puts the organics at a distinct disadvantage, given that the prices can be anywhere from 10-100 percent higher.
It’s important to understand that this in no way changes nutritionists’ recommendations that kids and eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. But it does mean—at least until researchers have a chance to do more extensive research—that it doesn’t really matter where those products come from. So if budget is an issue for mom or dad, it’s more important to have the fruits and vegetables themselves than it is to go organic.