new study: organic crops lower in critical nutrients!

lazy_gardensJuly 14, 2014

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28270803

"elevated levels of compounds often described as "antioxidants" - such as phenolic acids, flavonols and anthocyanins."

(incidentally, these are elevated in stressed plants, so maybe the organic crops are more stressed? I know that keeping herbs, tomatoes and chilis on the dry side before harvest gives more "flavor")

BUT OOPS! the levels of proteins, amino acids and nitrogen were lower in the organic crops sampled.

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pnbrown

Golly, guess we better quit gardening, is that the point?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:28PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Gee, are we reading the same article? I went to the link you posted and the new study actually claims that the organic foods were higher in antioxidants. Which is better than non organic food. Yes, they claim they were lower in proteins, amino acids and nitrogen then non organic counterparts, but since when is protein considered a critical element of vegetables and fruit? Maybe the lower amount of protein is healthier? And lower nitrogen the result of not applying synthetic higher amounts of nitrogen to plants and that could also be a good thing. They also don't say how much lower, is it a fraction of one percent? [g] If you need protein, you eat meat, or beans, or eggs, or dairy, etc.

The other thing I noticed, is this is a 'meta analysis' of 343 previous studies that have already been done. They also pointed out that the latest study's claims are opposite of two previously done meta analysis studies.

And one last think about, who is paying for these studies?

Bottom line, is either you know that organically grown food is better for you than food grown with pesticides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizers or you don't. Depending on competing studies doesn't really get you anywhere.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:42PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

"Prof Richard Mithen, leader of the Food and Health Programme at the Institute of Food Research, added: "There is no evidence provided that the relatively modest differences in the levels of some of these compounds would have any consequences (good or bad) on public health."
I think LazyGardens made invalid assumptions based on too little evidence.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:50PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize how that came across. Lazygardens, I didn't mean to be critical of you. Not a thing wrong with you posting your interest in this study. I was just trying to explain what I got out of it and that the studies don't really concern me one way or the other. I really don't understand why they would even trigger controversy, with the small differences noted.

Thanks for your post, Kim.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:05PM
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henry_kuska

This is what the full paper has to say about the lower levels of protein, amino acids, and N.

Title of subsection: "Proteins, amino acids, nitrogen and nitrate/nitrite"

"The concentrations of proteins, amino acids and N (which are known to be positively correlated in plants) were found to be lower in organic crops, and this is consistent with the results of previous studies that have linked lower protein concentrations to lower N inputs and N availability in organic crop production systems( 61 , 62 ). The nutritional significance/relevance of slightly lower protein and amino acid concentrations in organic crops to human health is likely to be low, as European and North American diets typically provide sufficient or even excessive amounts of proteins and essential amino acids. Also, while some studies concluded that protein content in most European and North American diets is too high and that this contributes to the increasing incidence of diabetes and obesity( 63 ), other studies reported that increasing protein intake levels may be a strategy to prevent obesity( 64 ). Therefore, the lower protein and amino acid concentrations found in organic foods are unlikely to have a significant nutritional or health impact.

The higher $$NO _(3)^( - ) $$ and $$NO _(2)^( - ) $$ concentrations in conventional crops are also thought to be linked to high mineral N inputs, as both $$NO _(3)^( - ) $$ and $$NO _(2)^( - ) $$ are known to accumulate in plants under high-mineral N input regimens( 65 ). The higher $$NO _(2)^( - ) $$ concentrations in conventional crops/crop-based foods are nutritionally undesirable, as they have been described to be risk factors for stomach cancer and methaemoglobinaemia in humans( 65 ). However, while increasing dietary $$NO _(2)^( - ) $$ intake levels is widely considered to be potentially harmful for human health, there is still controversy about the potential health impacts of crop-based dietary $$NO _(3)^( - ) $$ intake( 65 ��" 67 )."

Please keep in mind that the above was written by scientists in the field but the statements had to be approved by the reviewers and the editor.

Here is a link that might be useful: link to full scientific paper quoted above

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 9:10PM
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elisa_z5

Thanks for the quote from the paper, Henry.
I had always thought that higher N in foods was undesirable -- this clarifies that a bit.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:40AM
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