Cracking the “Organic” Code

Hey Everyone! First, I want to say thanks to everyone who completed the survey I put out there on Wednesday. Your feedback really helps me to blog on more specific topics that you guys are interested in. If you haven’t taken the survey yet, there is still time! Just click here to share your thoughts. A surprising number of you answered that you were interested in health and fitness, so definitely more of that to come. In the mean time, I think you could probably file this under health, organic foods! Some people swear by them, some people curse them, some people still don’t have any idea what organic really means. If you fall under that category, follow me. It’s going to be an opinionated ride.

Organic foods have been around for a fairly long time but in past few years they’ve really gotten their time in the limelight. Celebrities and health nuts everywhere swear by organic food as the only choice if you want to take care of yourself and your family properly. Now I like to do my research before making an investment, and that’s what food is! It’s an investment into your health and future. So let’s get the facts first.

The Organic Haters:

For the sake of time, I’m going to stick strictly to the health benefits of choosing or not choosing organics. We could discuss forever the effect pesticides have on the environment and the treatment of animals but that’s a discussion for another time. Today we’ll just be looking at health. Most people who disagree with buying organic say it’s really no healthier for you than foods grown with conventional methods. They are somewhat right. Here are some facts:

  • A recent study found that organic foods are no more nutritional than organic foods. In the same study, they found that people who eat only organic foods were no healthier than those who ate food grown conventionally.
  • Second, although people most associate organic foods as being grown without chemicals, this is also untrue. There is relatively small, but still existent list of chemicals and substances that are permitted in organic farming.
  • Third, farmers who report sales of less than $5,000 a year can claim their foods as organic with no certification or verification necessary.

The Organic Lovers:

Unsurprisingly, most of the articles I found about why organic foods were nutritionally better had no scientific evidence to back it up. That’s not to say definitely that they are not better, but organic food is a trend. People tend to believe what everyone is saying, even if there may be no evidence. Organic foods being better for you may not completely be a lie though. Fact check time!

  • An unbiased article from Web MD wrote about how researchers found that organic produce had 30% less pesticide residue than foods grown conventionally. Although they do contain less pesticides, the FDA monitors pesticide levels of all produce so it is very unlike that both organic or non-organic foods would go beyond the limits of what is safe to consume.
  • The same article found that organic meat does in fact contain less bacteria resistant to antibiotics. This may be enough to convince some people to switch but consumers should know that most antibiotic resistant infections in people come from a misuse of antibiotics, an error on the part of the consumer not the food.
  • To make matters more confusing, a British study found opposite results to the former nutritional study. Their research revealed that organic fruits and vegetables contained 12% more nutrients than their non-organic counterparts.
  • Another point on the organic lover’s side, foods grown by non-organic methods by the FDA are permitted to come in contact with a fairly lengthy list of synthetic chemicals and even sewage sludge as long as they still fall under the FDA’s limit for pesticide safety.
  • Finally, some people swear by organic foods simply tasting better.

All in all, it is the choice of each individual consumer to decide what is best for their family, their health, and their budget. If consumers eat more fresh produce and home cooked meals and less processed packaged fast food, I call that a win regardless of wether or not it’s organic. Thanks for stopping by! Until next time,

The Navy Wife xoxo

Where I got my info:

  1. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/20120904/organic-foods-not-necessarily-better?page=1
  2. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/08/the-low-down-on-organic-foods/#.VpejdMArLR0
  3. http://organic.lovetoknow.com/Permitted_Chemicals_List_for_Organic_Farming
  4. http://www.earthfuture.com/earth/Organic%20-%2010%20Reasons.pdf
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