Last month Kelly Austin emailed me saying she was interested in writing a guest post for us about purchasing and eating organic foods. Being the nutrition junkie that I am, I was interested to see what Kelly had to say. After all, when you shop at your local supermarket, the prices for organic produce and other items can be mind-blowing.
Let’s see what Kelly has to say . . .
Is Organic the Way to Go? The Truth About Organic Food
Nowadays, organic food is all the rage. Many consumers are convinced that anything labeled organic is healthier than other options. Even snack foods that claim to be organic are considered healthy. But does that organic label really make a difference? What are the differences between organic and regular options? Before buying into the craze, these are the questions that consumers need to be asking themselves.
The Difference Between Organic and Regular Food
Organic means that a food is grown naturally, without help from pesticides, ionizing radiation, synthetic fertilizers, organisms that have been genetically modified, and/or sewage sludge. If meat products are organic they have been raised without growth hormones and antibiotics. Organic foods should not contain chemical preservatives, additives, or other synthetic ingredients.
Regular produce is usually grown with the help of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and substances that sound dangerous, like sewage sludge and genetically modified organisms. Animals are given growth hormones to make them larger and antibiotics to make them healthier. Processed foods also contain a variety of synthetic additives, dyes, and chemical preservatives.
Are People Falling for Clever Marketing Ploys?
It is important for people to realize that there are three different categories of organic foods. If a food is 100% Organic, it contains all organic ingredients. Foods that are only labeled as Organic‚ contain at least 95% organic ingredients. And foods that are Made With Organic Ingredients‚ must be at least 70% organic. Products that contain organic ingredients, but not quite 70%, may advertise those ingredients without claiming that the entire product is organic.
If a consumer purchases a product labeled Organic‚ they are essentially getting a product that is 95% organic. The other 5% could be preservatives, additives, ingredients raised with pesticides, and other things that health conscious consumers want to avoid. Without knowing how to read the label, a person could easily be duped into believing that they are consuming a chemical free diet.
Is Organic Really the Way to Go?
Consumers should also be aware that organic farmers do use pesticides. There are around 20 different chemicals that are approved by the US Organic Standards. Organic farmers have to make money too. Without these approved chemicals, they may not have much of a crop. It is also important to note that produce raised organically is nutritionally equivalent to that raised traditionally.
It’s not easy to tell people whether or not they should choose organic foods. Sometimes purchasing organic is beneficial. Certain foods, like peaches, celery, lettuce, bell peppers, strawberries, nectarines, apples, spinach, grapes, cherries, pears, and potatoes, are notorious for containing traces of chemical pesticides. Other times, it is just a more expensive option that offers the same same benefit as regular foods.
If you are interested in which foods are the least contaminated you can check out this list from Organic.org.