FYI Friday – Organic is NOT a Synonym for Healthy

Happy Friday everyone, sorry my post is coming a little later than usual today. For the past 3 days I have had a massive migraine. I had to go home from work yesterday and I couldn’t bring myself to even look at my computer because it made it worse. Today, I went to the chiropractor though to get my neck readjusted and am feeling much better.

Today I wanted to discuss a topic that has really been bugging me lately…organic food.

organic

 

The concept of organic food is certainly not new. However, what once started as a small section in the produce department at the grocery store seems to be spreading to every item in the grocery store. You can now find organic chips, crackers, ice cream. juices, etc. Basically you name it and there is a product on the shelf touting an organic label. Just a quick walk around my local grocery store and I found these products:

organic

The presence of organic items on the shelves is unconcerning to me, however, what does concern me is the misconceptions that are being brought about by these labels. Somewhere along the way, organic became a trendy marketing term and people lost sight of what it truly means. Organic refers solely to the method of farming and processing used for agricultural products, it has no relevance to the nutritional value of the product. Yet despite the definition of organic, the term is now readily used or perceived as being a synonym for healthy.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t organic food have higher vitamin/mineral content? This has been a highly debated topic over the years and I think it’s been beaten to death. Therefore, I don’t want to focus on that topic but the short answer is no. In a 2012 systematic review by the Annals Of Internal Medicine concluded: “The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods”.

Because of the misconception of what organic means, consumers are often choosing organic products over non-organic at the supermarket assuming they are more nutritious without consulting the nutrition facts label. Or worse yet, choosing organic products with zero nutritional value assuming they have health benefits.

Here is a great example:

juice

Many consumers might choose this Mango juice because they see it is organic. However, upon taking a look at the ingredient label I notice the second ingredient is organic evaporated cane juice, which is a fancy word for sugar. So the consumer who thought they had made a healthy choice actually is drinking a beverage full of added sugars versus a non-organic 100% fruit juice, which has no added sugars.

A second example:

icecream

This product has many health claims on it -organic, gluten free, agave sweetened, dairy free. All these marketing terms almost has the consumer thinking this is some sort of healthy product. However, once again after taking a look at the ingredient list and nutrition facts table, we find that this product is a glorified ice cream substitute. It may be organic but there is no nutritional value to this product what so ever. It’s fat & sugar. (FYI organic agave syrup is another fancy term for sugar).

What’s the bottom line? There is no right choice between choosing organic vs non-organic. The choice is personal and dependent upon your own values. However, if you are looking for the “healthier” product, choose based on it’s nutritional value, not because of an organic label.

Do you buy organic foods? Have you ever boughten organic food because you thought it was more nutritious?

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Great post!! I’ve done lots and lots of research on organic foods and have found that it is vital to read labels and read the ingredients list and to know what you’re eating. Don’t trust false claims. Not everything in Trader Joe’s/organic health food stores is great, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for. I shop at Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods and find they have a lot of wholesome foods to offer, but before I put an item in my cart, I always read the ingredients list!!

  2. Roxi says

    Great post. I do buy some organic food not because I think it is healthier but for the lack of pesticides. I usually buy my soft skin produce organic like carrots apples celery and grapes.

  3. says

    I love this post! The organic craze has been a huge pet peeve of mine for awhile…even if sugar is organic, it’s still sugar and doesn’t magically become healthy! I kinda feel the same way about a lot of vegan desserts, too (though I still eat those alll the time :) ).

  4. says

    Yes, I do buy organic as much as I can. I totally agree with you that organic is not a synonym for healthy. However, when I want to buy junk food, I still try to buy organic junk food. I’d rather have ice cream that doesn’t have hormones or pesticides, for example. Or crackers that aren’t made with hydrogenated oils or GMO products. So yes, junk food is junk food, but some junk food is healthier than others. :)

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