First of all, we should clarify what it means to be organic. To grow organic means to grow without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. But the truth is, organic farmers can still use pesticides or fungicides to prevent insects from destroying their crops and still call it organic farming. However, the key difference is that the pesticides and fungicides cannot be synthetically made.
So, is organic food really better or healthier as they say it is?
I asked this question to my mom and she absolutely agrees that organic is the best choice. She said that “regular foods contains harsh chemicals whereas organic foods will decrease your chance of health problems”. Like her, many people tend to buy organic foods feeling healthier and a little bit more environmentally friendly. My mom thought organic foods were so much better than regular foods that she had me eat fully organic for a while.
Organic labels are a whole issue in themselves because although they may say organic, the foods may not be fully organic. Organic labelled foods only has to contain 95% organic ingredients, while “made with organic” need only 70% organic ingredients. Labels that say “containing organic ingredients” may only have 50% of their ingredients being organic. If the food says 100% organic, only then does it actually have to be made with 100% organic ingredients. Therefore, labels can be somewhat deceiving if you are not fully aware of these facts.
Consumers also tend to buy “free range” (meaning that they are produced under natural conditions) believing that they fall under the organic label. The issue with free range when referring to eggs for example is that the chickens are only given 5 mins of outside time per day and then are allowed to be labelled as organic.
Organic foods may be no more nutritious than regular fruits and vegetables. But long term organic food diets are hard to establish and maintain. Short term diets however do increase your level of carotenoids, vitamin C, cholesterol (LDL), immune system, vitamin E, polyphenols, and antioxidants. Therefore, eating organic food is linked to better health as compared to eating regular foods.
Cost is another concern when it comes to buying organic vs regular foods. Although organic foods tend to be much more expensive than regular produce, this may cause one to think twice about choosing organic.