A lot of people think that organic rice Krispie treats, organic vegetables, or organic fruits are better. They think that they have to eat 100% organics to be healthy. Health is a relative term and organic might not fit into everyone’s lifestyle and that’s ok. So let’s talk about a few myths about organic foods.
Organic food is pesticide-free.
If food is labeled 100% organic that means meats eggs or dairy it is free of antibiotics and growth hormones. If it is produced it’s grown with fertilizers and free of synthetic components and is non-GMO. But that doesn’t mean that zero pesticides or herbicides are used or that farm crops aren’t exposed to pesticides even if inadvertently.
If food is labeled with the USDA organic label then 95% of the ingredients must be organic, not 100%. So the other 5% could be sprayed with pesticides and even the 95% could be sprayed with pes controls or chemicals that the USDA “approves of” to be safe for humans. Even if they aren’t safe for animals or bugs or weeds.
If the label is “made with organic ingredients” it only requires 70% of the content to be organic. A bag of corn chips could be made with organic corn but non-organic oil. About 25% of a chip is oil and that means it still meets the standard to say “made with organic ingredients”.
You really do need to understand the different labels if you’re concerned with things being organic.
But do you need to be concerned?
Now we’re not here to tell you to not eat organic food or to eat organic food. We’re just debunking some of the myths flying around and discuss what’s really going on.
Organic food is expensive.
So if you choose to buy organic food make sure that it’s worth your money. If organic costs the same as conventionally grown food sure, buy it organic! It isn’t gonna hurt you but do you need it to be digging so deep in your wallet?
Maybe not. A few other myths:
Organic food is more nutritious.
Actually, there isn’t really much evidence showing that consuming organic food will lead to improved health or lower risk of disease. The occasional study here or there shows what organic tomatoes have more vitamin C or something like that but overall nutrients aren’t particularly different and the qualities that are different don’t factor much into the nutritional quality.
The truth is that the loss of nutrients is much more dependent on how long the produce is sitting out on the shelf. Which for organic food can be a long time because a lot of organic food is transported for long distances. Remember, organic does not mean local, and local does not mean organic.
Organic food is better for the environment.
So yes, obviously keeping farmland free of pesticides is great but organic farming isn’t as productive as conventional farming. It requires way more land to produce the same amount of food and many organic farms still do use some pesticides if they can keep it under that 95% seal.
Organic food tastes better.
So most studies actually say no. Most people can’t tell the difference. I personally do notice a bit of a difference with a few things. Berries, strawberries, spinach, tomatoes are things I can tell a difference with but in all fairness, it happened over time. When I was eating a diet that was mostly made of processed food I couldn’t tell the difference. It depends on what it is and where you get it.
That being said remember that not all organic farms are tiny local farms run by the wonderful people that you encounter at your farmer’s market. There are many and there are huge and the conditions aren’t really much better than conventional farms.
Try to go for local before going for organic. Even if the local food isn’t certified organic it often is still grown with organic conditions but the local places can’t afford the certification. It’s best to ask where the produce is coming from.
What about processed organic foods.
Organic Oreos, organic rice Krispie treats, organic Cheetos, organic cereal, organic gummies… It’s ALL THE SAME! I hate to break it to you but organic doesn’t mean healthy or even less processed. An organic chip is just as processed as a non-organic chip. It has just as many calories and fat as the non-organic chip but it costs three times more.
Nutritionally it is not doing anything for your body. Processed foods are not fuel. Whether they are organic or not.
Is organic food worth your money?
Don’t waste your money on organic processed snack foods. Studies show that most people do think that organic cookies and snacks are healthier and have fewer calories and fat. That’s not how it works.
Organic doesn’t mean anything when it comes to processed foods. If you’re someone who buys organic processed foods we would advise you to stop worrying so much about organic start trying to wean off of the processed snacks. If you wanna buy organic produce if it makes you feel better to go for it. Don’t convince yourself that processed organic snacks are any better for you.
Remember they are not food as fuel choices. If you really want to make efforts to be healthier consider trying to get more whole foods into your daily diet.