The Honest-to-Goodness Truth About Organic Foods
Organic foods are becoming more and more popular these days as people are increasingly becoming more health-conscious. After all, what could be safer and more natural than organic foods? Researchers say that organic foods are more healthful because they are free from chemical pesticides. However, there are some who argue that organic foods are just like any other types of foods and that eating them won’t make any difference at all. So what’s the real score?
Why Organic Foods are Good
Organic foods offer benefits that nobody can refute. Farmers who grow organic fruits and vegetables steer clear of harsh and possibly toxic chemicals. Instead, they find other ways to control weeds, insects, and diseases. They use natural fertilizers rather than synthetic chemical fertilizers.
As for organic meats, there’s a whole lot of difference there, too. For instance, it is common for farmers who raise livestock for food to inject these animals with hormones, antibiotics, and other types of medication to make them grow faster and larger. This is a no-no for organic farmers. Instead, they feed their animals organic foods, allow them to roam freely, and take measures to prevent their livestock from getting sick. Overall, organic farming is better for the animals, the environment, and you.
The Trouble with Organic Foods
Just like anything, organic foods have their disadvantages. Price is the first thing that would come to mind. Organic foods are more expensive because the costs to produce them are high, thus the consumer bears the production costs. To help with your budget it is recommended that you go to the Environmental Working Group’s website (ewg.org) and obtain a list of foods that have a low pesticide load (the clean fifteen) and therefore are usually safe to buy non-organic vs. foods which have a high pesticide load (the dirty dozen) and are therefore better to purchase organically.
Organic foods are not easy to find. While many grocery stores now carry organic foods, quite a number of them, especially those located in smaller cities, have very limited choices. You may have to look for a specialty store to buy what you want.
Other Things to Consider When Buying Organic Foods
You must keep in mind that not all organic foods are created equal. The USDA follows certain guidelines when certifying organic foods. Interestingly, when you buy food that is labeled “organic,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the ingredients in the product are organic. For USDA to certify a food product as organic, at least 95 percent of the ingredients should be organic. Products that are 70 percent organic are not labeled with the USDA seal. Instead, they are marked “made with organic ingredients.”
When you’re at the grocery store trying to decide whether to go organic or not, remember a few things. Studies have not conclusively shown that organic foods are more nutritious than other types of foods. The USDA certifies organic food products but does not say that they are safer or more nutritious. Also, organic foods may look different from their non-organic counterparts. That’s because no wax or preservatives have been used to improve their appearance and prolong their shelf lives. They spoil faster, too.
While the USDA doesn’t vouch for the safety and the nutritional benefits of organic foods, it is quite obvious that the risk of ingesting harmful chemicals from fertilizers and pesticides is virtually zero with organic food products. When it comes to safety, money should be your secondary concern. Then it wouldn’t be difficult to decide whether you should go organic or not.