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Does There Exist Differences Between Organic And Non-organic Foods?

Organic 021616

While the opinion is divided over whether organic foods are healthier than conventional options, a new study that analysed data on milk and meat has found clear differences between organic and conventional milk and meat.

In the largest study of its kind to date, an international team of experts led by Newcastle University, UK, reviewed 196 papers on milk and 67 papers on meat, and analysed fatty acid composition and concentrations of certain essential minerals and antioxidants.

According to the analysis:

- Both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products. Omega-3s are linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and function, and better immune function, says Chris Seal, Professor of Food and Human Nutrition at Newcastle University.

- Organic meat had lower levels of myristic and palmitic acid. The long chain saturated fatty acids - myristic and palmitic - are known to raise LDL cholesterol levels and contribute to cardiovascular diseases.

- Organic milk had higher levels of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin E and carotenoids, 40% more conjugated linoleic acid and a lower omega-6/omega-3 ratio.

- Conventional milk had 74% more iodine. Accordingly, half a liter of milk would supply 53% of and 88% of the daily recommended intake from organic and conventional milk respectively.

The more desirable fat profiles in organic milk can be attributed to outdoor grazing and low concentrate feeding in dairy diets, as prescribed by organic farming standards, says the study. The information about iodine content is important as it can help to avoid excessive or inadequate intake, say the researchers.

The findings are published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

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