By Let’s Move Quad Cities Nutrition Blogger Jeni Tackett, RD, LD
The organic food market has blossomed over the past decade. But is organic actually healthier for you?
A systematic review of the nutritional quality of organically grown foods did not find them to have more nutritional value than conventionally grown foods.
6 facts about organic foods:
1. Products labeled “100% organic” must contain only organically produced ingredients – meaning no antibiotics, hormones, genetic engineering, radiation or synthetic pesticides or fertilizers can be used.
2. Products labeled “organic” must consist of at least 95% organically produced ingredients.
3. Processed products that contain at least 70% organic ingredients can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients.”
4. Benefits: Fewer pesticides, often fresher, better for the environment, animals not given antibiotics, growth hormones or fed animal by-products.
5. Drawback: More expensive.
6. More nutritious? Evidence in unclear.
Some of the most contaminated produce include apples, bell peppers, carrots, nectarines, peaches, pears, and strawberries. Some of the least contaminated produce include onions, avocados, pineapples, mango, asparagus, bananas, and papaya.
Carefully washing produce helps to remove dirt, bacteria, and chemicals. Not all pesticide residues are removed through washing, though. So, you may choose to buy organic produce, especially the fruits and vegetables which are most contaminated.
Many processed foods labeled “organic” are not healthy choices. For example, organic sweet potato chips are still fried and salted!
Make sure to read the food labels of all organic foods that are packaged in boxes and bags. The term “organic” makes the food sound healthy, but you need to make sure the item is truly low in fat, sodium, sugar, and high in fiber. Otherwise you are paying premium prices for a junk food.
Buy your foods from a variety of sources and, to save money, choose produce that is in season. Support our local economy by frequenting the Farmers’ Market. Make an informed decision about buying organic fruit and vegetables and do not fall victim to over-priced organic junk foods.
|Meet Jeni Tackett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Nutrition Blogger. Jeni is a registered and licensed dietitian for Rock Valley Health. Jeni counsels her clients on weight loss and nutrition. You can read Jeni’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.|