Blog by-MELISSA JUDNICH
ORGANIC. What does it mean? Should you be eating organic? Is it “healthier”? These are questions that we as fitness professionals answer weekly. Recently, I overheard a conversation in the produce section of a grocery store between two individuals and it made me realize a lot of people who eat “organic” don’t even know what it really means. These two ladies (I assume they were sisters) were arguing over the one not wanting to buy organic, and the other one insisting on it. Finally, the one that didn’t want to buy it because it was more expensive asked, “Why should I even buy organic? What does that even mean?” and the other lady had NO CLUE! I could hear her frantically coming up anything she could think of, and they were all completely wrong!
So, to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, we are going to guide you through what it means to be organic and to answer whether or not it is “healthier”. First, what does it mean? The term organic itself simply means that the products’ soil doesn’t contain any synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, are not genetically modified, and animals that we use for organic meat were raised in their natural behaviors, were fed 100% organic feed, and were not administered antibiotics or hormones. In processed foods, organic has a couple of different qualifications. They can not contain any artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. However, there are some exceptions to this rule such as lectin and pectin. For companies to receive the USDA Organic Seal the food must contain at least 95% organic contents. For a company to say, “Made with organic… ” The item only has to contain 70% organic ingredients however, it still must be made without any GMO’s.
Is “organic” food healthier? Not necessarily. While organic means that the ingredients inside of it are not made with any nasty chemicals, the animals were treated correctly, and there are no genetically modified ingredients (which are all great things) it doesn’t automatically make whatever you are eating healthy. For example, you will notice that there is organic boxed macaroni and cheese, bread, frozen meals, and even Oreos. Those items are still unhealthy for you due to several other factors including almost zero nutritional value, sugar, and bad fats. In regard to produce and meat, organic doesn’t necessarily change the macronutrients or nutritional value but it will give you peace of mind that your food doesn’t contain other unwanted junk.
Now you can assess if you should be eating organic by asking yourself these questions: Do you care if your food is made with pesticides? Are you concerned about genetically modified ingredients? Do you not want to consume other antibiotics and hormones? If you answered yes to any of the above it might be a good time for you to make the switch to organic. Yes, it will cost more now but in the long run, I bet it is worth the investment to know what isn’t going into your body.