Does Eating Organic Foods Reduce Cancer Risk?

The argument over whether or not organic really is that much better for, may be finally coming to an end.  That’s because a new French study has learned that people who regularly consume organic food are, in fact, less likely to develop cancer than people who do not eat organic food (on a regular basis).

This study examined 68,946 adults (in France) who volunteered information on their eating habits, focusing mostly on how often they at organic food and drinks, and even if they used organic dietary supplements. Each participant received a score based on this organic food consumption frequency. The score range included terms like “most of the time” and “never” and even “I don’t know.”

After the initial study, the researchers conducted a follow-up appointment in 2009 and then again in 2016.  After these follow-ups, the researchers then looked at cancer diagnoses.   The most prevalent of these cancers, they found, was breast cancer; but they also looked at instances of prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, lymphomas, skin cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

Sure enough, those who reported higher frequency and consistency organic food consumption were found to be less often diagnosed with cancer.  For one, those who were found to consume the most organic food were determined to be 25 percent less likely to have cancer. In the cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, that number escalated to more than half!

Nutrition experts, as well as the study authors, advise that the parameters of the study are imperfect so it is important not to focus too intently on the link between organic food and cancer. Appropriately, the density of this link is still not clear.  In light of this, then, they advise the consuming public should make their own dietary decisions based on current nutrition and dietary recommendations (whether by a national advisory board or by your doctor).

For example, if you focus on a heart-healthy diet, it will definitely help you reduce cancer risk.  Eating more fruits and vegetables—regardless of whether or not they are organic—and minimizing processed foods will simply improve your health.  But if you really are looking to reduce your cancer risk, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to opt for organic fruits and vegetables.  It is also a good idea to look at other potential risk factors (smoking, alcohol, exercise, etc).

The results of this study have been published in JAMA.