The Truth About Organic Food
Aug. 12, 2015
Just about everyone has heard that organic food is healthier than food grown with the assistance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Yet many question whether organic food is worth the extra money. It’s a topic we’ve talked about in some of our classes at Concorde, too; and the discussions are lively! Let’s take a closer look at the ins and outs of organic foods.
ORGANIC VS. NON-ORGANIC: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
The main difference between organic and conventional food is the manner in which each is grown. Organic foods are grown without the assistance of synthetic pesticides, ionizing radiation, hormones, bio-engineering and harmful chemicals. Proponents of organic food argue that the natural growing process is better for human health as well as the environment.
IS ORGANIC FOOD REALLY HEALTHIER?
Those who have invested the time to research organic foods typically find that there is no definitive answer as to whether organic is actually healthier. It is logical to think that the consumption of foods laced with pesticides will be harmful to human health. However, proving this seemingly obvious statement is much more difficult than most assume. According to the American Dietetic Association, there is no evidence that organic foods are superior over traditional foods.
Those in the organic camp point to the fact that the United States government has set strict limits for the quantity of pesticides that can be sprayed onto food during the growing process. This essentially amounts to governmental testimony that pesticides are indeed harmful. Yet according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic foods are not safer, healthier or more nutritious than conventional foods. It is worth noting that supporters on both sides agree that pesticides are harmful to youngsters with developing immune systems.
THE “DIRTY DOZEN”
According to the Environmental Working Group, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit organization, some of our favorite fruits and vegetables are particularly overloaded with potentially harmful pesticides. They are referred to as the “dirty dozen” and adults who would like to avoid as much pesticide residue as possible should take care to eat their organic varieties: potatoes, apples, spinach, lettuce, sweet bell peppers, peaches, pears, cherries, celery, nectarines, grapes and strawberries.
BEST OPTION? AIM FOR FRESHNESS
Sometimes, organic food travels thousands of miles before it reaches your neighborhood supermarket. These foods might remain on your kitchen counter or in your refrigerator for several days before you consume them. As a result, they will lack the nutritional content that you can obtain from fresh, locally grown food that was pulled right out of the ground only days ago.
So if you are ever in doubt, try choosing locally grown food regardless of whether it is organic or non-organic. This way, you’ll receive as many nutrients as possible from food that is fresh and supports your local economy. We’ll keep talking about it and educating ourselves and students at Concorde. You keep yourself informed, too. We all make better decisions with more information.