As a Registered Dietitian one of the biggest questions I get is “Should I buy organic VS non organic food? What is better?” And I get it, this stuff is confusing! So, today, we are going to break it down and get to the bottom of the great food debate between organic VS non organic foods.
What Is Organic Food?
Firstly, let’s start with what the heck the work “organic” even means. The term “organic” means that food has been produced according to a set of strict standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
It is, per the USDA organic factsheet, the “application of a set of cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that support the cycling of on-farm resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. These include maintaining or enhancing soil and water quality; conserving wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife; and avoiding use of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering”. Animals must be given access to outdoors and not be given any growth hormones, antibiotics, must be fed no animal by products and all organic feed, with no use of other drugs.”
What Are The Benefits Of Organic Food?
The first potential benefit when thinking about if you’re going to purchase organic VS non organic foods is typically the nutritional value, are there nutritional benefits of organic foods? Well, yes and no.
One 2012 study states that there is limited scientific evidence to support the increased nutritional benefits of organic foods, with the exception of organic foods having an increased phosphorus content. Another study found that organic farming benefits included higher phytochemical (compounds found in plants said to have protective health benefits) and vitamin C content.
In that same study from 2012 pesticides were found to be 30% lower in the organic VS non organic foods, however both were considered to have very low risk of going over the maximum allowed, deemed to be safe.
Another one of the organic farming benefits that draws consumers in is the environmental impact, or, lack thereof. Organic farming practices have shown to benefit sustainability with a reduction of pollution and conservation of resources (wildlife, energy, nutrients, etc),
Lastly, some do say that they prefer the taste of the food more and attribute this as a reason to pick organic vs non organic foods.
Is There a Downside To Organic Food?
Organic foods can cost more than non organic food. Now, I say CAN because this is not always the case. The price difference will depend highly on the store, the food (is it in season? Out of season?) and the brand producing the food.
Here are a few reasons why the cost may be higher with organic foods:
- To provide better living conditions for livestock
- To cover the cost of Organic certification
- Due to crop loss (since certain chemicals are not used in order to prevent loss)
- Higher labor needs
Some also say that organic produce may go bad more quickly than non organic produce when purchased fresh. So, it’s important when purchasing fresh, organic produce to ensure you have a plan to eat it.
Now, like I said, organic food CAN be more expensive, but it isn’t ALWAYS. This is one of the reasons that I love the brand Inspired Organics, which I’ll tell you more about soon.
Is Non Organic Food Okay?
One of the largest concerns in the organic VS non organic debate is whether or not those pesticides that are 30% higher in the non organic food is safe. The pesticides found in conventionally grown foods (non organic food) is said to be well below the limit deemed safe. So, yes, they are said to be safe to consume.
Another concern is over growth hormones and antibiotics in non organic food. The concern of antibiotics is the possible antibiotic resistance in humans. Hormones and antibiotics are said to have potential adverse health effects, however further research is needed to support this.
So, which is better? Organic VS Non Organic Food?
The decision to purchase organic VS non organics food is a personal one. As a Registered Dietitian myself I always suggest purchasing a non-organic produce than no produce at all, as we are well aware of the overall protective health benefits that produce has. And, you know me, and my intuitive eating beliefs, I never want anyone to live in food fear by any means! Eat the strawberry- organic or not! But, you can also use some gentle nutrition if your budget allows and your views align with organic foods.
Like I said, if purchasing organic foods is something you are financially able to do, that’s fabulous! Personally, a big reason for me to purchase organic would be for the environmental impact, or should I say the less environmental impact, over the non organic food.
When deciding to purchase organic I’d recommend focusing your finances on produce VS packaged foods. I’d also suggest looking into frozen veggies VS always purchasing fresh organic foods. This will help further elongate your budget, making buying organic food much easier. Then, if your budget allows more further organic products, like sure, go for it!
It’s also important to choose organic food brands that you can trust and that offer a product at a fair price. I love Inspired Organics for this reason in particular. Plus, they do offer a wide range of those frozen products, which in combination with their super affordable price, make them even more budget friendly!
Inspired Organics has a huge range of products from their frozen fruit and veggies, like I mentioned, to their organic honey, maple syrup, ketchup, mustard, dressings, dried fruit, etc! Plus, they taste absolutely amazing! You can find out more about where to find Inspired Organics, a very affordable organic option, near you by using their store locator and also find loads of recipe inspo right on their website.
So, now, I’m curious. What is YOUR stance on organic VS non-organic food? Let me know in the comments!
If you loved this post and found it helpful be sure to pin it to your Pinterest board and send it to a friend! Trust me, they’ll thank you for FINALLY clearing up the organic vs non organic food debate and truly understanding the TRUE benefits of organic food coming from a credible source.
**This blog post has been sponsored by Inspired Organics. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own**