ORGANIC FOOD

OTHER NAME(S):

Alimentation biologique, Alimentos orgánicos, Green Labels, National Organic Program, Natural Food, NOP, OFPA, Organic Farming, Organic Foods Production Act, USDA Organic.

Overview

Overview Information

Organic food is grown without man-made chemicals and uses farming that is safe for the environment. Interest in organic food has been increasing over the years. People believe that organic food is healthier and safer than regular food. However it is not clear if this is always the case.

Organic food has been tried for conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and many others. However, there is not enough evidence to say that organic food is better for these conditions than regular food.

How does it work?

Some people believe that organic food is healthier and safer than regular food. Organic food seems to contain less pesticides. Some research also shows that organic food contains more antioxidants than regular food. It's unknown whether these antioxidants help make people healthier. Finally, some research shows that organic milk and meat contain a higher amount of healthier fats compared to regular milk and meat. This might contribute to better heart health.
Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Asthma. There is limited evidence that people who regularly eat organic food don't have a lower risk of asthma compared to those who eat mainly nonorganic food.
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis). There is limited evidence that infants and young children who regularly eat organic food until the age of 2 years don't have a lower risk of eczema compared to those who eat mainly nonorganic food.
  • Prone to allergies and allergic reactions (atopic disease). There is limited evidence that infants and young children who regularly eat organic food until the age of 2 years aren't less prone to allergies compared to those who eat mainly nonorganic food.
  • Cancer. Some limited research has found that people who eat more organic food have a slightly lower risk of cancer compared to those who eat mainly nonorganic food. But not all research agrees.
  • Heart disease. There is limited evidence that people who regularly eat organic food don't have a lower chance of heart disease compared to those who eat mainly nonorganic food.
  • Diabetes. There is limited evidence that people who regularly eat organic food have a lower chance of diabetes compared to those who eat mainly nonorganic food.
  • High cholesterol. There is limited evidence that people who regularly eat organic food have a lower chance of having high cholesterol compared to those who eat mainly nonorganic food.
  • High blood pressure. There is limited evidence that people who regularly eat organic food might have a lower chance of having high blood pressure compared to those who eat mainly nonorganic food.
  • A grouping of symptoms that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (metabolic syndrome). There is limited evidence that people who regularly eat organic food have a lower chance of metabolic syndrome compared to those who eat less organic food.
  • Obesity. There is limited evidence that people who regularly eat organic food have a lower chance of being obese or overweight compared to those who eat less organic food.
  • Ear infection (otitis media). There is limited evidence that children of mothers who eat organic food during pregnancy have a lower risk of ear infection compared to those whose mothers eat mainly nonorganic food.
  • A pregnancy complication marked by high blood pressure and protein in the urine (pre-eclampsia). There is limited evidence that pregnant women who eat more organic vegetables have a lower risk of pre-eclampsia compared to those who eat less organic vegetables. But there is no link between intake of organic fruit, cereals, eggs, or milk during pregnancy and the risk of pre-eclampsia.
  • Feelings of well-being. There is limited evidence that people who eat more organic food have increased life satisfaction compared to those who eat less organic food.
  • Alzheimer disease.
  • Lead toxicity.
  • Migraine headache.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of organic food for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Organic food is LIKELY SAFE when eaten as part of the diet. There is no reason to expect safety issues.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Organic food is LIKELY SAFE during pregnancy and breast-feeding. There is no reason to expect safety issues.

Interactions

Interactions?

We currently have no information for ORGANIC FOOD Interactions.

Dosing

Dosing

Organic food is produced differently in different countries. In general, organic food refers to food grown without man-made chemicals. Also, the style of farming to make organic food has to be safe for the environment.

View References

REFERENCES:

  • Arvaniti, F., and Zampelas, A. Organic food: nutritious food or food for thought? A review of the evidence. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2003;54(5):357-371. View abstract.
  • Baranski M, Srednicka-Tober D, Volakakis N, et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. Br J Nutr. 2014;112(5):794-811. View abstract.
  • Baudry J, Assmann KE, Touvier M, et al. Association of Frequency of Organic Food Consumption With Cancer Risk: Findings From the NutriNet-Santé Prospective Cohort Study. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(12):1597-1606. View abstract.
  • Baudry J, Debrauwer L, Durand G, et al. Urinary pesticide concentrations in French adults with low and high organic food consumption: results from the general population-based NutriNet-Santé. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2019;29(3):366-378. View abstract.
  • Baudry J, Ducros V, Druesne-Pecollo N, et al. Some differences in nutritional biomarkers are detected between consumers and nonconsumers of organic foods: Findings from the BioNutriNet project. Curr Dev Nutr. 2018;3(3):nzy090. View abstract.
  • Baudry J, Lelong H, Adriouch S, et al. Association between organic food consumption and metabolic syndrome: cross-sectional results from the NutriNet-Santé study. Eur J Nutr. 2018;57(7):2477-2488. View abstract.
  • Baudry J, Méjean C, Péneau S, et al. Health and dietary traits of organic food consumers: results from the NutriNet-Santé study. Br J Nutr. 2015;114(12):2064-73. View abstract.
  • Bourn, D. and Prescott, J. A comparison of the nutritional value, sensory qualities, and food safety of organically and conventionally produced foods. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2002;42(1):1-34. View abstract.
  • Bradbury KE, Balkwill A, Spencer EA, et al. Organic food consumption and the incidence of cancer in a large prospective study of women in the United Kingdom. Br J Cancer. 2014;110(9):2321-6. View abstract.
  • Brantsæter AL, Torjusen H, Meltzer HM, et al. Organic Food Consumption during Pregnancy and Hypospadias and Cryptorchidism at Birth: The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). Environ Health Perspect. 2016;124(3):357-64. View abstract.
  • Buscail C, Chevrier C, Serrano T, et al. Prenatal pesticide exposure and otitis media during early childhood in the PELAGIE mother-child cohort. Occup Environ Med. 2015;72(12):837-44. View abstract.
  • Curl, C. L., Fenske, R. A., and Elgethun, K. Organophosphorus pesticide exposure of urban and suburban preschool children with organic and conventional diets. Environ Health Perspect 2003;111(3):377-382. View abstract.
  • Fenske, R. A., Kedan, G., Lu, C., Fisker-Andersen, J. A., and Curl, C. L. Assessment of organophosphorous pesticide exposures in the diets of preschool children in Washington State. J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol 2002;12(1):21-28. View abstract.
  • Grinder-Pedersen, L., Rasmussen, S. E., Bugel, S., Jorgensen, L. V., Dragsted, L. O., Gundersen, V., and Sandstrom, B. Effect of diets based on foods from conventional versus organic production on intake and excretion of flavonoids and markers of antioxidative defense in humans. J Agric Food Chem 2003;51(19):5671-5676. View abstract.
  • Juhler, R. K., Larsen, S. B., Meyer, O., Jensen, N. D., Spano, M., Giwercman, A., and Bonde, J. P. Human semen quality in relation to dietary pesticide exposure and organic diet. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 1999;37(3):415-423. View abstract.
  • Kesse-Guyot E, Baudry J, Assmann KE, Galan P, Hercberg S, Lairon D. Prospective association between consumption frequency of organic food and body weight change, risk of overweight or obesity: results from the NutriNet-Santé Study. Br J Nutr. 2017 Jan;117(2):325-334. View abstract.
  • Kopke, U. Organic foods: do they have a role? Forum Nutr 2005;(57):62-72. View abstract.
  • Kummeling I, Thijs C, Huber M, et al. Consumption of organic foods and risk of atopic disease during the first 2 years of life in the Netherlands. Br J Nutr. 2008;99(3):598-605. View abstract.
  • Lu, C., Barr, D. B., Pearson, M., Bartell, S., and Bravo, R. A longitudinal approach to assessing urban and suburban children's exposure to pyrethroid pesticides. Environ Health Perspect 2006;114(9):1419-1423. View abstract.
  • Magkos, F., Arvaniti, F., and Zampelas, A. Organic food: buying more safety or just peace of mind? A critical review of the literature. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2006;46(1):23-56. View abstract.
  • Palupi E, Jayanegara A, Ploeger A, Kahl J. Comparison of nutritional quality between conventional and organic dairy products: a meta-analysis. J Sci Food Agric. 2012;92(14):2774-81. View abstract.
  • Petrariu, F. D., Gavat, V., and Cozma, A. G. [Current issues regarding organic food]. Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi 2005;109(4):866-870. View abstract.
  • Seconda L, Péneau S, Bénard M, et al. Is organic food consumption associated with life satisfaction? A cross-sectional analysis from the NutriNet-Santé study. Prev Med Rep. 2017;8:190-196. View abstract.
  • Smith-Spangler C, Brandeau ML, Olkin I, Bravata DM. Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier? Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(4):297-300. View abstract.
  • Srednicka-Tober D, Baranski M, Seal C, et al. Composition differences between organic and conventional meat: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Br J Nutr. 2016;115(6):994-1011. View abstract.
  • Torjusen H, Brantsæter AL, Haugen M, et al. Reduced risk of pre-eclampsia with organic vegetable consumption: results from the prospective Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. BMJ Open. 2014;4(9):e006143. View abstract.
  • Zhang Y, Cao S, Zhang Z, et al. Nutritional quality and health risks of wheat grains from organic and conventional cropping systems. Food Chem. 2020;308:125584. View abstract.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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