There are so many myths surrounding the term “organic” and I think this article I found recently does a good job of dispelling those. Keep in mind this is one viewpoint, and not found in any peer-reviewed journal, but I do think the author makes some valid points. It challenges some of the ideas surrounding organic food and since we live in a society that glorifies buzz words like “organic”, it is good to have an opposing view to help us be more level-headed about our food decisions.
While I think buying organic food can be a great addition to a healthy eating plan, I think most Americans see the term organic and immediately feel like the product must be good for them or superior to other brands. For example, a box of crackers can be an organic product, but made of organic refined white flour (remember to look for the word ‘whole’ in the first ingredient listed!), organic oils, and/or organic sugar or juices. In other words, it isn’t a whole grain, low in fat or low in sugar, which are the recommendations we really need to look at. Furthermore, as far as fat and calories are concerned, you have to watch portion size and I think many people think they can eat unlimited amounts of foods that are “all-natural”, “organic”, “range-fed”, “hormone free”, etc. That clearly isn’t the case so don’t be fooled by tricky labeling or preconceived ideas about nutrition.
The bottom line is focusing 90% on whole foods (organic if you wish) and 10% of the time treating yourself to the foods that you love. Be sure to be aware of what you are buying by reading the nutrition facts labels and ingredient lists rather than relying on the terms manufacturers paste on the box.
Click here for a previous post on buying organic and here for a previous post on reading nutrition labels.
Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD