Can eating organic foods cut cancer risk?

A new study indicates that adults who most frequently consumed organic fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat and other foods had 25% fewer cancers when compared with adults who never ate organic food. But Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health nutrition experts caution that the study has limitations and that more research is needed to confirm the results.

Harvard Chan School researchers Frank Hu and Jorge Chavarro co-authored a commentary that accompanied the JAMA Internal Medicine study, which they were not involved in. In the commentary, they raised concerns over the fact that the researchers didn’t test pesticide residue levels in study participants in order to validate exposure levels.

“From a practical point of view, the results are still preliminary, and not sufficient to change dietary recommendations about cancer prevention,” said Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School, in an October 23, 2018 New York Times article.

In an October 22, 2018 CNN article, Chavarro, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology, called the study as “incredibly important,” noting that its findings are consistent with those of some other studies. But he also cited the study’s limitations and pointed out that assessing organic food intake is “notoriously difficult.”

Read the New York Times article: Can Eating Organic Food Lower Your Cancer Risk?

Read the CNN article: You can cut your cancer risk by eating organic, a new study says

Learn more

When should you consider buying organic? (Harvard Chan School news)

Health benefits of organic food, farming outlined in new report (Harvard Chan School feature)