Top Health Stories of 2012: Is Organic Food Better?

The Dr. Oz Show medical staff chose the top most innovative, interesting and influential health headlines of 2012. Each day until the new year, we’ll round up and revisit the major headlines that had a profound effect on science, medicine and your health over the last 12 months.

Headline #10: Stanford Study Questions Nutritional Value of Organic Foods

Researchers at Stanford University released a study in the September 2012 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine that questioned the nutritional benefits of buying organic foods. The study found very little nutritional difference between organic and conventional produce and meat. It immediately sparked a controversy that rippled through the media and had consumers revisiting the issue.

Many believe the study ignored the reasons why most people purchase organic food. In fact, a 2010 Nielsen Wire poll found that 76% purchase organic foods because they believe “they are healthier;” 53% so they “can avoid pesticides and other toxins;” 51% because “they are more nutritious;” and 49% because “organic farming is better for the environment.” As indicated by the poll, many bought organic food for more than one reason.

Others, who do believe organic foods are more nutritious, took issue with the quality of the study –mentioning that a meta-analysis-type of study, which compares years of previous research, doesn’t work as well in agricultural studies because of “differences in plant species, weather, soil and other conditions.” Similar studies, including one from Newcastle University in England, found conflicting results.

Whether organic food is actually more nutritious is still up for debate; however, the reasons for buying organic are clear for those who do.

Learn three simple rules for knowing which organic foods should get your attention, and get a list of foods that you must buy organic to avoid pesticides and additives.

Read More of 2012’s Top Health Stories: