Are Organic Foods Healthier?

Ryan Phillipe, dressed as a farmer, could milk me any day.

This afternoon, I was doing some grocery shopping in my local supermarket. I found myself in the store’s “health food” department, which is really just a few small isles of organic products. I had to laugh the the department’s title, as so many of the organic foods were anything but healthy – including soups loaded with sodium, fat filled burritos and, my favorite, double chocolate chip cookies with 18 grams of fat each.

For many people, the label of “organic” signifies some nutritional benefit. This is a myth; the terms “organic” and “healthy” mean two very different things.

The term “organic food” refers to food grown without most artificial fertilizers or pesticides and in a way that emphasizes crop rotation, making the most of natural fertilizers and ensuring that the life of the soil is maintained. Animals are kept in ways which minimize the need for medicines and other chemical treatments.

In the United States, use of the term “organic” is heavily regulated – and fairly expensive to obtain. Some of the foods you buy from local growers at a farmer’s market are likely organic, though the farmers probably lack the resources to apply for the official certification. At any rate, organic refers to the way in which the product was grown – and not its nutritional content.

Some research has been done to determine if organic products do contain more vitamins and nutritionally desirable compounds. In other words, does an organic orange contain more vitamin C than it’s conventional counterpart? The official jury is still out – studies are still inconclusive on the subject – though most expects will say no. Surprisingly, studies also don’t show any longer term health benefits, like reduced risk of cancer, either. This is a conclusion refuted by organic food advocates.

So, if you want to buy organic food, research would suggest that you should do it for your extended body (this planet) and not your immediate human body. And don’t be fooled into thinking that organic products are healthy, just by virtue of being organic.

Are you a big believer in organic products? Why or why not?

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Comments

  1. It’s not always about what the food contains.. it is also about what the food *does not* contain. Check out the dirty dozen:

    http://green.yahoo.com/blog/daily_green_news/332/the-new-dirty-dozen-12-foods-to-eat-organic-and-avoid-pesticide-residue.html

    I am not interested in eating chemicals that are known to have serious long term side effects! Carcinogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, developmental and even reproductive toxicants!

  2. Yes!! It tastes nicer!

  3. @scott

    And yet billions of people eat such food every day without issues. The silliness over pesticides is just that – silliness. And “organic” does not mean that it was grown without pesticides. In the US at least – growers have wide latitude. “Organic” has turned more into a marketing term than anything else.

    If you truly care about where your food comes from – you will ignore labels like “organic”, “grass-fed”, or “sushi grade” (which has no legal definition) and go to a farm and see how things are done. There are many farms that specialize in sustainable farming in most areas of the country. While you are there – butcher your own bird.

    I generally buy meat and other items from two local farms. But fruits and vegetables I grab whatever is cheapest. Oranges don’t grow so well in Minnesota.

    • @Tim

      It might be silliness to you, but there are plenty of studies, reports, books etc out there that say otherwise. Again, these chemicals are already known to be carcinogens, neurotoxins, etc. Do some light research and see what you find. Start with the link I provided in my first comment.

      Also, USDA rules prohibit the use of pesticides on any crop with the certified organic label. It is *NOT* just marketing in the US.

  4. I don’t think that organic food is always healthier than non-organic food, but I doubt that the pesticides on apples and other fruit are good for my body.
    However, I’m sure that less pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers are good for the environment,that’s why I support organic farmers and prefer buying organic food.

  5. i share your food in double choc chip cookie but i also LOVE triple choc chip cookies too.

    eating healthly does not mean you have to eat organic food, you just hav to balance your meals and regular exercise and dont eat 3hours before you go to bed.

    but davey you look HOT anyway so dont change a thing, would love to have your body.

    Jay xxxxxx

  6. Yes organic tastes much better. The other issue is I hae trouble with some products due to the nature of what they use. Funny when I was growing up and most things were organic or low pesticide I didn’t have problems but now a lot bothers me.

  7. I try to eat local/organic not because of necessarily the organic label but because locally grown foods tend to have less “food miles” (the miles associated with the amount of transport that it takes to get the food from suppliers to markets). I am a believer in taking care of not only your body but also the environment and that is why I try to buy more so locally rather than organic. I feel like if a food is organic and came from California (I live in Chicago) rather than normal produce that was grown in Illinois or any other mid-west state, I’ll choose the normal produce any day. But that’s just little ole’ tree-hugger me lol. What do you guys think or have heard about the idea of food miles and organic products?

  8. Local >>>>>> Organic. Organic tends to be overpriced bunk shipped from the other side of the world.

  9. Eating healthy starts with reading product labels; the amount of preservatives and taste enhancers in most foods far outweighs the residual pesticides. Stay away from nitrates, corn syrup, and glutamates whenever possible. And, plain old sugar and salt are nowhere near as bad for you as the alternatives marketed to the public under the guise of being healthy.

  10. It sure as heck isn’t “silly” to want to avoid carcinogenic pesticides.

  11. Buying local produce is a great way to help local farmers and to help end the tyranny of industrial agriculture, which is destroying family farms, reducing biological diversity, and limiting our choice of food products. Organic production of crops renews the land, as it seeks to produce sustainable agriculture that does away with the needs for commercially produced fertilizers and pesticides. Raising meat organically is much more humane and clearly products like grass-fed beef and free-range chickens are much better for us.

  12. So I’m seeing here that people don’t mind consuming toxins and chemicals that are harmful to the body. Yup, it certainly makes sense why this is the fattest country in the world, and why the average american has a cabinet full of medication. Hmmm…. 🙂

  13. I agree that Organic does not equal health when you are buying processed and packaged foods. When you process and package food it tends to be made for the general public, which in North America happens to be the overweight and sick.

    The reason for organic food is not just for crop rotations and sustainable farming. It is about not allowing GMO plants and animals into our bodies.

    If you are interested in organic food and living healthier get away from packaging. It is better for the environment, but more importantly for YOUR environment. You know what you are eating if you are the one putting it in your food yourself. All of the food you eat then includes the love that Davey is always sharing 🙂

    I believe very much in a raw food life style as well. When eating 100% raw you can taste the difference of organics/non-organics as well as feel it.

    I also understand that in this country you can only do so much. But at least try your best. Eat better where and when you can.

Trackbacks

  1. […] few months ago, we looked at a number of studies that compared organic and conventional produce. The term “organic food” refers to food grown without most artificial fertilizers or pesticides […]

  2. […] talked about the differences in organic vs. conventional foods, and that people often mistakenly assume that organic means healthy. It doesn’t. You can find […]

  3. […] talked about the differences in organic vs. conventional foods, and that people often mistakenly assume that organic means healthy. It doesn’t. You can find […]

  4. […] organic farming practices are certainly good for the environment, there’s been little evidence to show that organic produce is any healthier. In fact, with the exception of organic milk, the vast majority of research has found no link […]

  5. […] While organic produce may not necessarily be higher in vitamins and minerals, many consumers are concerned with pesticide use and contamination. In the United States, the amount of pesticide residue left on produce is limited to levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency. These levels are considered safe by the government, but many consumers aren’t willing to take the chance. […]

  6. […] it comes to nutrient content, the research is mixed. A Stanford study concluded that there’s probably not a nutritional advantage to organic […]

  7. […] how it is grown or handled – can become increasingly important. While organic foods may or may not be healthier (the debate is ongoing), there’s an energetic benefit in knowing that your food […]