Organic food is not health food per se

organic potatoe chips shining Organic food is not health food per seDeep down inside, most people really do want to eat right. It really isn’t rocket science – you are what you eat and poor eating choices, do ultimately impact on your overall health and well being.

But eating right is so damn complicated and well, there seems to be a universal law that says,

“Things that taste good are bad for you, and things that taste bad are good for you”.

So to help make decisions, we look for trigger words that will help ensure we are making good food choices. Words that are commonly associated with superhealth include :

  • Organic
  • Natural
  • Fat free

But the trouble is, the words don’t always translate into great health choices. A lot of the time, it is all in the mind (or in the marketing hype).

The organic mindset

Researchers at Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, explored the perception that organic food is good for you, by surveying shoppers in a local mall.

144 subjects were asked to compare conventionally and organically produced chocolate sandwich cookies, plain yoghurt and potatoe chips. There was absolutely no difference between the organic and conventional product, other than the label.

The participants then did a little taste comparison, rating the products in terms of 10 different attributes, including overall taste, perception of fat content etc. Consumers were also asked to estimate the number of calories in each product and indicate how much they would be willing to pay.

Organic foods are superior

The “organic” products won hands down.

  • They tasted far better than the conventional products
  • They were lower in fat
  • They had fewer calories
  • They had more fibre
  • They were more nutritious

Overall they were so much better, that the consumers were willing to pay a higher price for the superior product.

Organic is not about quality but a production technique

First let’s get one thing clear, organic food is by no means free of chemicals, since food is in fact a mixture of chemicals.

By definition organic food, is food produced using only natural chemicals i.e. no synthetic chemicals were used when it was on the farm. If the food has subsequently been processed and packaged, then normal food processing technologies would have been applied.

Food on the farm is effectively bug heaven. Every bug in town will arrive to gorge itself on the “free” food. For this food to make it to market, something had to be done to keep the bugs from filling up their bellies, so odds are the food was treated with some kind of bug spray.

In the case of organic food, the bug spray was not something concocted in a laboratory by human chemists , instead it was created by the greatest chemist of all time, Mother Nature.

Choosing organic products is making a choice to eat chemicals made by Mother Nature. Bare in mind, Mother Nature makes good chemicals and some real nasty ones as well, some of the most toxic chemicals known to man are produced by, Mother Nature.

Make an informed choice

Organic products typically attract a price premium.

But, don’t be misled into believing that organic = healthy.

The natural ingredients in organic chocolate sandwich cookies,  are still calories.  Plus, the cookies have been subject to the normal processing procedures, so  trans-fats are likely to be among the extra chemicals. 

A cookie now and again is okay, stuffing any kind of cookie in (organic or not), will ultimately upset the basic equation

Calories in = calories out

Too many calories in, without a compensatory calories out process, will produce poor health outcomes in the long run.

Go for products by Mother Nature

Better health is about eating more of what Mother Nature provides and less processed foods.

If it is important to you to only consume chemicals produced by Mother Nature, then by all means pay the premium and buy organic.

But when making decisions in the grocery store, err towards things that resemble what mother nature put together, rather than selecting packages merely advertising their connection with Mother Nature via the  marketing term – ORGANIC .

Do organic snack foods taste healthier because of their label?  FASEB J. April 2010 24 (Meeting Abstract Supplement) 949.3.  Jenny Wan-Chen Lee

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Further reading

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Sausages beat up your heart but steak is heart neutral How to raise a child that loves vegetables Eating a tub of yogurt or two does change the gut zoo 

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

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Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..

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