Does Eating Organic Food Reduce Cancer Risk?

The Lempert Report
December 20, 2018

New research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that people who eat organic food are 25 percent less likely to get cancer – giving the organic movement yet more fuel.

However, before you convert more SKUs to organic foods, expecting a deluge of customers – know that some experts caution that more research is needed.

A team led by Julia Baudry, an epidemiologist at Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale in France, looked at the diets of nearly 69,000 French volunteers, three-fourths of whom were women with an average age in their mid-40s, according to CNN.

They were categorized into four groups depending on how often they ate 16 organic products, then followed for an average of five years. 

The group that ate the most organic foods was found to be 25 percent less likely than the group that ate the least organic foods to develop cancer. A total of 1,340 subjects developed cancer during the study period. The findings also considered factors such as age, class, and existing health.

"If the findings are confirmed, promoting organic food consumption in the general population could be a promising preventive strategy against cancer," Baudry wrote in the study

However, other experts including Dr. Jorge E. Chavarro, an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who co-authored a commentary published with the study, advised caution.

Chavarro told CNN that it's unclear whether quantifying organic food consumption correctly calculates reduced exposure to pesticide residue.

"At the current stage of research, the relationship between organic food consumption and cancer risk is still unclear," he wrote.

However, with a study with a sample size this large, it points to a need for more research that could change the health and the lives for millions.