A health survey of almost 70,000 French adults found those who ate large amounts of organic food had much smaller cancer rates.
"If our findings are confirmed, organic food consumption may contribute to cancer prevention", Baudry said, though the study did not prove they directly caused cancer risk to drop.
The participants were asked to provide information on how often they ate organic food, drinks, and even dietary supplements.
They would monitor these volunteers to make sure they were keeping to their assigned diets and observe the other things they do that could influence their cancer risk.
Mark Guinter, a postdoctoral fellow with the American Cancer Society, said, "More importantly than anything is making sure you consume your fruits and vegetables, avoid your red and processed meat, and eat whole grains".
Can Eating Organic Food Really Help Prevent Cancer?
The NutriNet-Santé study is an ongoing web-based in which investigators are studying the association between nutrition and health. Volunteers were tracked and observed for around 4.5 years.
If future research bears out the lower cancer risk of organic foods, he says, ways must be found to lower their costs. The participants weren't screened based on other lifestyle choices, so it is hard to say what other external factors are playing a roll. Before a product gets labeled "organic", the producer must follow strict standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that bar the use of synthetic fertilizers, irradiation, genetic engineering, etc. Those who ate the most organic food were 25% less likely to develop cancer.
That actually gets to the main problem of the study, which is that eating organic foods is very complex behavior - it's not only about eating organic food, but why is it that we choose to eat organic foods?
"Whenever you see a result that's replicated like that, you find it a little more believable". France's Center for Research in Epidemiology and Statistics and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health of America claimed this in their research.
"It can be hypothesised that obese individuals with metabolic disorders may be more sensitive to potential chemical disruptors, such as pesticides".
While previous studies have shown a correlation between organic foods and pesticide levels found in urine, some products are more prone to contamination, especially certain fruits and vegetables which are more vulnerable to harm.
In the current study, reported in JAMA Internal Medicine, nearly 69,000 adults completed web-based questionnaires about their diets over three 24-hour periods.
The authors theorize a "possible explanation" for the negative relationship between organic food and cancer risk stems from the "significant" reduction of contamination that occurs when conventional foods are replaced by organic foods.