Organic food remains big business in Britain despite recent declines probably linked to the recession.

Eating organic food may make you fatter

they consistently assessed those labelled organic as lower in fat and sugar and higher in beneficial nutrients

A study has found that people unconsciously assume that organic food is more nutritious and contains fewer calories than conventional food and eat more of it.

So when they think they are benefiting their health and the environment by eating organic, they are at greater risk of putting on weight.

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“Some people mistakenly assume that these foods are more nutritious just because they carry an ‘organic’ label,” said Jenny Wan-Chen Lee of Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University in New York, who did the research.

“If people perceive a food to be more nutritious they tend to let their guard down when it comes to being careful about counting calories — ultimately leading them to overeat or feel entitled to indulge.”

In the study Lee asked 144 subjects to compare what they thought were conventionally and organically produced chocolate sandwich biscuits, plain yogurt and crisps. All of the products were in fact organic.

When the subjects were asked to rate the foods, they consistently assessed those labelled organic as lower in fat and sugar and higher in beneficial nutrients.