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Is Buying Organic Worth It?

by Libby Aneskewich

Many grocery stores today have organic sections and more and more people are choosing to purchase organic foods for themselves and their children. Buying organic foods can be expensive as they may cost up to 60% more than regular produce items. There are several different organic food labels to look for like “100% organic” or “certified organic.” Certified organic food items must meet a long list of requirements at a greater cost to the farmer, therefore justifying their higher market price. If you are someone who prefers organic foods, there may be quite a few reasons why - you may be buying organic foods including greater nutrient content, fewer pesticides, a smaller footprint, you prefer the taste, or to avoid antibiotics and food borne illnesses.


If you are concerned about the nutrient content:

Most studies show that there are only slightly fewer nutrients (antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals) in organic produce versus conventional produce options. No matter what the label says, organic junk food is still junk food and conventional fruits and vegetables are still packed with nutrients.


If you are looking for fewer pesticides:

Organic produce has been shown to have far less pesticide residue on the skins than conventional produce – up to 30% less! Both types of produce, however, still have under the USDA recommended levels of pesticide and are safe to consume. If this is something that is of concern, think about the types of produce you are selecting and choose organic for those with greater amounts of pesticides (like berries) and go conventional for fruits and vegetables with thicker skins that the pesticides are harder to penetrate (like bananas).


You are concerned for the environment:

Millions of tons of chemical fertilizers are used every year on growing conventional crops and there are countless toxins released into the atmosphere. To protect the environment, try buying local or growing your own! Most farmer’s markets have strict regulations about the food they are selling and you are more likely to leave a smaller footprint by shopping local.


You prefer the taste:

This one is totally up to you! If you prefer the taste of organic produce and it encourages you to make healthy choices – go for it.


You want to avoid added hormones, antibiotics, and food borne illnesses:

Buying organic may not protect you against food borne illnesses caused from consuming or handling undercooked meat and eggs but there is research to suggest that it helps to purchase meat with fewer hormones and antibiotics. The added hormones can be dangerous for children (especially girls) and the antibiotics in these foods are causing “super bugs” to form in humans that we are not equipped to fight off.

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