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Food Fight

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U-S Dietary Guidelines say fill half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables.

Does that mean organically or conventionally farmed food?

A review from Stanford researchers in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and another in the medical journal Pediatrics, question the claim that organic is always nutritionally best.

Both studies say there’s not much nutritional difference, except organics may have a little more Vitamin C, phosphorus, and the antioxidant phenol; and no difference in risk of bacterial contamination.

But price is certainly different: almost twice as much for organic foods. They cost more than 26 billion dollars each year—a 7-fold increase since 1997.

What does “organic” mean?

For produce, it means no synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Organics have 30% less pesticide residue than conventional foods.

Wash fruits and vegetables before peeling or eating to reduce pesticide residue and get rid of bacteria.

Reducing exposure to chemicals seems sensible. But there are no good evidence-based studies showing the long term clinical implications of organic versus conventional produce.

You need plenty of fruits and vegetables. Whether you buy organic or not is up to you – and your budget.