Something that’s always had me curious is the separation and designation of certain foods within supermarkets that are labeled as “organic.” For years, I’ve walked past these displays while doing groceries and had a laugh at the pop suckers who paid almost twice the price in some instances, for the very same food I was buying from the regular section. My laugh would be accompanied but a mumbled comment to the effect of, “Idiots! ALL food is organic…”
I wasn’t wrong in my assessment… About all food being organic, not the people being idiots! But I digress… The truth is, yes all food is organic. But what’s being referred to is the method in which the food is grown and harvested. To be specific, “organic” foods are foods that are grown without the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, growth regulators and additives. In the case of livestock, they’re bred without the use of hormones and antibiotics.
Depending on who you talk to and what source you research, choosing between organic and traditional food can be a tough nut to crack. Although consuming foods that don’t involve everything listed above may SOUND like a good idea, there are pros and cons to “organic” food, just like everything else in life. I apologize ahead of time for the quotation marks I keep using; I can’t get past the fact that all food is organic, so I consider it a label as opposed to a proper description.
First of all, it needs to be understood that organic foods, for the most part, contain the same nutritional value as conventional foods. There are some mild exceptions, and this is where your sources may differ. For example, an article posted by HealthLine.com indicates that some studies have shown that organic foods may be higher in antioxidants and vitamins. One advantage to the lack of pesticides is that the crops need to defend themselves using natural means, namely increased antioxidants.
The evidence is an overall mixed bag of whether the organic version is better for you or not. Either way, you can’t lose. But the cons come into play when you consider how much more expensive the organic option is. The reason behind this is because the lack of pesticides and chemicals means that farmers need to perform most of their weed removal and crop care by hand, which takes more time, labour and extra hands. Hence, why it costs so much more.
The big takeaway is that most studies agree that although consuming organic foods may help reduce the amount of chemicals and pesticides you ingest, the amount contained in conventional foods is negligible at best, and no worse than you’d be exposed to during contact with your day-to-day life. Another important fact is that although organic foods are grown and harvested in a specific way, it doesn’t make them any healthier to your overall health goals. “Organic” baked goods, butter and fatty foods will still be JUST as bad for you as their conventional counterparts.
Last but not least, you want to be careful when spotting the difference between “organic” and “natural,” as they don’t mean the same thing AT ALL. And besides the increased cost, “organic” produce has a tendency of spoiling quicker than their conventional counterparts. At the end of the day, an apple is an apple and both will be just as nutritional and good for you. The choice to buy “organic” is a personal and subjective one, and should be based on preference. ☯