Should I Buy Organic?
“Should I buy Organic?”
As dietitians, we’ve heard this question from clients time and again. Given the higher
cost of organic foods and new questions being raised regarding their health benefits, you are
right to ask.
The most important thing to consider when choosing to buy organic foods is the reason
you are buying them. There is no evidence based research to suggest that organic foods contain a
higher nutrient content than conventional foods. So if you are spending the extra money to buy
organic foods for more vitamins and minerals the good news is you don’t have to anymore!
If you are taking the environment into account then, yes, organic produce is what you
should look for. Farmers can’t apply synthetic pesticides to organic produce, however, inadvertent
or indirect contact from neighboring conventional farms or shared handling facilities may reach
organic farms with their pesticides- so please wash your produce!
So where do we stand with organics? Unless your intent is to help the environment, there is no
reason to choose organic produce over conventional. The same goes for things like ‘organic
potato chips’, protein bars, etc, there will be no nutritional benefit to these products. The one
thing we will say that is definitely worth the money is organic meats, poultry, and pork. The
animals’ organic feed cannot contain animal by-products, antibiotics or genetically engineered
grains and cannot be grown using persistent pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Also, the animals
must have access to the outdoors.
Whether people buy organic or conventional, it’s the nutritional quality of the overall diet
that matters. The key is to enjoy a wide variety of foods!