How Much Difference Does Organic Make?
If you're concerned about your family's health, it's likely that you've considered switching to organic produce. While hype would have you believe this is the right thing to do at any cost, that isn't necessarily so. Organic produce can be beneficial to your family, but non organic produce has its place too. Our guide to organic vs non organic produce will help you make important decisions about what fruits and vegetables to feed your family.
Move Over to Organic for Health Sake
For many people, the word "organic" is synonymous with "healthy." In some ways, this is true. The most common organic foods available are fruits and vegetables, which, in and of themselves, are healthy and nutritious. However, consumers should always be ready to read labels and think skeptically. An organic doughnut may be made with organic flour, sugar, and oil, but it's still fried dough and not any healthier than a regular doughnut.
1. Is organic produce more nutritious?
No. Scientific studies have shown no major differences in nutritional content between organic produce and non organic. However, organic produce does contain significantly lower amounts of pesticides, and organic foods like cereals and baked goods can't use any food additives like preservatives or artificial sweeteners.
2. Is organic the same thing as all natural?
No. Terms like "natural" or "hormone free" are not the same as organic. While these labels are required to be true, only items grown organically, without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers, can be labeled organic. The USDA regulates the use of the term organic, and farmers must meet stringent guidelines in order to use the term. Look for the USDA Certified Organic
seal to ensure that the product is truly organic.
3. Why is organic produce more expensive?
There is sometimes a huge price difference between organic vs. non organic produce. This is because organic farming is more expensive than traditional agriculture and often involves crop rotation and weeding and pest removal by hand. Organic fertilizers and pesticides are more expensive than traditional chemical ones, and all these factors contribute to the bottom line.
4. What are the benefits of organic produce?
There are distinct advantages to organic produce. Organic produce has far fewer pesticides than regular produce. While the levels of pesticides found on traditional produce are still within government guidelines for what is considered "safe," many people prefer not to expose themselves to pesticides at all. Organic produce is also created using farming methods that promote healthy water and soil and create far less pollution and damage to the environment.
5. Do some foods contain more pesticides than others?
Yes. There are some foods that are more likely to lead to pesticide exposure than others. Essentially, any produce item with a thin skin that is customarily consumed is a good candidate for buying organic
. This includes apples, plums, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, berries, pears and summer squash. Fruits and vegetables with thick skins that are usually peeled are of far less concern. Things like avocados, winter squashes and pumpkins, bananas, citrus fruits and onions are foods that have a low incidence in pesticides, though some people claim that their organic versions taste better.