There's no question that organic food is better for the planet, but there's no evidence that it's better for the person eating it, according to a new study. Scientists analyzed four decades of research, and found that organic meat and produce have no more nutritional value or other health benefits than conventional—and cheaper—foods, reports the New York Times. Much more pesticide residue was found in conventional fruits and vegetables, but only three of the 237 studies analyzed found residue above allowed limits.
"When we began this project, we thought that there would likely be some findings that would support the superiority of organics over conventional food,” says the lead researcher. “I think we were definitely surprised." But organic food advocates say that some of the study's findings, including the higher levels of pesticide residue, validate consumers' decisions to buy organic, and note that the organic food movement started out as a way to help the environment, reports USA Today. "The health benefits really ended up being almost inadvertent, a nice fringe benefit" of sustainable farming, says a scientist at Consumers Union.