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Organic Foods are a Waste of Money?

Organic foods are hot – more and more consumers are looking for the term "organic."

But is organic "stuff" worth the extra money?  Sometimes organic produce costs at least double what "conventional" produce costs.

So why do people spend the extra money?
1. Less pesticides
2. More nutrients
3. More flavor

But are these valid reasons?

According to research published just the other day in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition …

… not a chance.  Organic foods didn’t turn out to be any "better" than conventionally grown foods.

Here’s the deal — the goal of the study was to measure the differences in nutrient content between organic vs. conventional food.

Very simply the researchers scoured the literature, studies published over a 50 year time span, and looked at the nutrient differences, if any.

Their conclusions?  "There is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organic and conventional foods … "

So is this the be all and end all?  Should we boycott Whole Foods — turning our noses up at the organic food "industry?" foods?

Not quite.  Here’s how we feel about this.

First, more important than organic … simply eat more fruits and vegetables.  Produce is great for you — whether you’re trying to lose fat, improve health, decrease your risk of disease, etc.  With the average American eating just 2 servings total per day, eating organic isn’t my main concern…eating MORE fruits and vegetables is my concern.

We also believe local is actually more important than organic.  Local … meaning foods that are grown close to where you live, like those found at Farmer’s Markets.  An organic food flown 3000 miles to your grocery store is not even close to the same as a fresh vegetable picked that morning from a farm that’s just a short drive from your house.  It’s also a great way to support the local economy since you’re helping local farmers.

While I mentioned this very recent study that compared some nutrient differences in conventional and organic produce, there are also other "issues" with organic foods that are a concern for many

  • Are they better for the environment?
  • Are there less pesticides used in production, meaning we eat less pesticides?
  • Are they safer with the recent disease outbreaks that have popped up lately (e coli, salmonella, etc)?
    There are still a lot of questions to be answered.  Remember that this study was just one of many … and all studies need others to support (or refute) the claims.

Here’s our take as of now:

  • Eat more produce, organic or not
  • Buy local

If you are thinking about buying organic produce, but cost is a factor, focus on those fruits and veggies where you eat the skin vs. those you don’t.  For example, you peel a banana, but eat the entire raspberry — the raspberry would therefore be more to ‘go organic’

What do you think?  Is organic worth it?  Why do you (or don’t you) buy organic foods?  Leave us a comment.
 

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One Response to Organic Foods are a Waste of Money?

  1. NT June 17, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    Just to throw a wrench in the mix:

    Much of the organic produce found in major supermarkets (trader joes, Whole Foods, safeway, etc) is grown on the exact same farm as the non organic. It’s just a few rows where the seeds don’t get sprayed and the seeds might be a bit different. I know this because my distant family owns a broccoli farm, and they have a few rows of organic and the rest is normal.

    I think the take home message in this article is really important. America needs to focus on replacing neon orance cheetos with carrots, before they worry about where those carrots come from. I also think that local is probably much more important than buying the organic apple from safeway.

    Overall as a young single woman in a down turn economy, I can’t always afford to spend the extra $ on organic. I think it’s a little ridiculous that rich people feel that they are better people just because they have the money to afford organic produce and other expensive products. If these companies really wanted change, they’d make their products at a price point affordable to those with less.

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