All across the United States people are looking for ways to improve their health. They want to have more energy, get sick less often and improve their overall quality of life. For many years now, Americans have believed that organic foods were healthier than food grown using conventional methods. Those people might be very upset to find out that there really isn’t any difference between the organic Gala apple they just bought at Whole Foods and the regular apples readily available at the corner Walmart. Well, other than the fact that the organic ones cost twice as much.
Why do most people buy organic? They believe that:
- Organic farming is better for the environment
- Organic foods are safer (no pesticides)
- Organic foods taste better
- Organic foods are more nutritious
The problem is that each of these strongly held beliefs are based in very shrewd marketing done by the organic farmers and organic food purveyors. Of course these organic food sellers want to make their products look amazing, can you really blame them? After all, the organic food industry brings in over $60 billion a year worldwide. Then again, there is that pesky little issue in such that there is ZERO science showing any of these concepts are correct.
Shocking? Maybe a little. Especially if you tend to believe everything you hear. Wink wink.
The thought that organic farmers don’t use pesticides or that the ones they do use are somehow magically better for the environment is a very commonplace belief, but it is not only completely wrong but oddly enough, the polar opposite is true. Organic farming, as per USDA regulations, is allowed to use “natural” pesticides to kill off insects, weeds and other pests that might damage a crop. The difference between “natural” pesticides and synthetic pesticides lies in their effectiveness, not their toxicity. The reality is that natural pesticides are less effective and therefore a larger amount of them must be used to accomplish the same goal of keeping the crops growing. Kinda goes against the whole idea stuck in most people’s minds huh?
How about that whole “safety” issue? Well it turns out that even someone like Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), admits that an “organic label does not promise a necessarily safer product." Her words, not mine.
Do organic foods taste better? On the whole, blind taste tests have proven the opposite. With conventional farming techniques, fruits and vegetables are able to grow larger and tend to have higher concentrations of natural sugars, which in most cases translates to better taste. Things aren’t looking so good for the organic foods.
Well, at the very least organic foods are far more nutritious for you, right??? Well… I know I have been a serious bummer throughout this entire article, but my job is to tell you the truth, even when it hurts a little. Stanford University did a meta-analysis on the subject and their findings? Nope, sorry, organic foods aren’t more nutritious than foods farmed with conventional methods. Darn!
So, am I trying to convince you to stop buying organic kale for your next salad? Heck no! I am just trying to let people know that when you are looking to improve your overall health, you don’t have to break the bank buying a $5 banana because you think it’s somehow magically better for you. Eating healthy can be affordable for everyone. Don’t believe the hype!