Organics. What are they and are really healthier?
First, organic is a term that can mean anything living or made of carbon compounds. It can refer to how something is organized, as in “growing a business organically.” But you’ll hear it most as the production of food without laboratory-made fertilizers, growth substances, antibiotics, or pesticides.
Here’s a piece of information you need to know, however. The USDA, (United States Department of Agriculture) is in charge of the term “organic” as it is labeled on food, just like “low in sugar” or “high in fiber.” On their website they outline what is required to be “organic.”
This document lists the fertilizers, substances, and pesticides allowed for growing organic food.
So while Webster might disagree, organic foods are grown with chemicals. I find this surprises a lot of people.
Fact two of What You Really Need to Know. Studies show that organic buyers are not healthier than non-organic buyers. Mayo Clinic, Stanford Medicine, and the University of Arizona all state that there is no scientific evidence showing organic food is more nutritious or that the difference in the level of chemicals is safer.
It won’t take more than a quick Google search to “disprove” these studies with a thousand articles showing organic food is safer, healthier, and will save the planet. It’s important to know all sides of an argument, so by all means, read these articles. Then check the source. I quickly found a post by Eating Well magazine, which sounds trustworthy. But the study proving organics are better was done by the Organic Center. It would be hard for them not to be biased!
The third major reason people choose organics is that they feel the practices used by organic farmers are better for the environment. While lumping a large group of people into one category is never a good idea, I’d guess many organic farmers really do care about the land, water, and air around them.
But that leads me to fact three. Non-organic farmers care about the land too. Okay, so that is also a stereotype, but farmers own the land. Who would benefit more from taking care of the soil than they do? And consider this. Some chemicals allowed in organic farming are not as effective as conventional ones, which means a farmer needs more of it. Every time a tractor or sprayer goes over the plants it compacts the soil, uses diesel fuel, and costs the farmer money. So sometimes conventional farming is better for the environment.
Obviously what you put in your shopping cart is your decision. If you choose organics, fine. I’m not going to stop my kids from playing with your kids. But if the price of organics deter you, or you’d prefer to spend your energy getting your kids to eat a banana rather than stressing over which bananas to buy, then put some of that mommy guilt away.
These are just the facts.
Don’t miss Resolve to Learn About Your Food in the New Year
Resolve to Learn about Antibiotics