Will organic food sales soar on the latest cancer research?
It’s long been argued by proponents of conventionally-produced foods that those items are the nutritional equivalent of organics, albeit sold at a much lower price. Now, a new scientific research study says that consumers who consistently eat conventional food and eschew organics may be paying a price they are unaware of with higher rates of some cancers.
According to a study carried out by researchers at the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale in France, published by JAMA Internal Medicine, individuals who had a higher frequency of organic food consumption had a reduced risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, postmenopausal breast cancer and other forms of cancer when compared to those who rarely or never ate organics. The highest consumers of organics were 25 percent less likely than the group overall to develop cancer.
The study, which covered nearly 69,000 adults in France, focused primarily on women (78 percent) with an average age of just over 44. Participants, who were followed for a mean period of five years, were grouped into four segments based on how often they reported eating 16 organic products, including produce, meat and fish, ready-to-eat meals, vegetable oils and condiments.
Researchers behind the study pointed to the need for further research to confirm or refute their findings.
A commentary by nutrition experts published by JAMA Internal Medicine pointed to flaws in the research in terms of how the questionnaire was developed and organic food consumption was measured. They also criticized the research for failing to account for factors such as price, availability and lack of interest when it came to consumers who rarely or never ate organics.
The authors of the commentary, who called the link between organic food consumption and cancer “uncertain,” stressed that focusing on other factors such as body weight, physical activity and better diet following the American Cancer Society’s recommendations were more certain ways to prevent cancer.
- Association of Frequency of Organic Food Consumption With Cancer Risk – JAMA Internal Medicine
- Organic Foods for Cancer Prevention—Worth the Investment? – JAMA Internal Medicine
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see as the primary factors influencing people who choose to eat organic vs. conventionally produced foods? Will the publicity around this new research study add to the momentum of organic food sales in the U.S.?