Are you confused how to spend your monthly food budget – whether to buy organic food or conventional food? Are your always looking to make the healthiest food choices for your kids and family but unable to make up your mind whether to switch from conventional to organic foods? We bring to you the pros and cons of organic foods to take the best decision for healthy eating.

Pros of buying organic foods

  • Organic produce has far less chemicals because chemicals, synthetic fertilizers, artificial sweeteners, chemical preservatives and other additives.
  • Organic farming is good for environment. It saves soil and water, reduces pollution. Humane methods are used for the treatment of livestock for animal produce.
  • It is also widely believed that organic foods have superior nutritional value and health benefits as compared to conventional foods.
  • Researchers contend that reduced exposure to pesticides and chemicals is the primary reason for the health benefits of organic produce.
  • Organic produce is not genetically modified.

We spoke to Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., R.D., C.D.N., an internationally recognized nutritionist and portion control expert about her thoughts on the organic foods. She says, “In general, I recommend organic where possible, and it is better overall for environment. While it is more expensive, I would recommend organic produce in particular–from the “dirty “dozen”—i.e., apples, lettuce”, says Lisa.  

So what you can do is start with buying certain items as organic such as organic apples, organic spinach, organic lettuce, organic potatoes, organic grapes, organic strawberries and organic peaches. This is because the conventional varieties of these fruits and vegetables are sprayed with lot of pesticides.

Cons of buying organic foods

  • Organic foods have shorter shelf life and therefore, they get spoiled fast.
  • Organic farming is labor intensive with lower production rates and higher overheads, this makes organic produce more expensive.
  • Many research studies point out that there is not much difference between the nutrient levels of organic produce.

Weighing these pros and cons, we feel what one can do is, wherever possible one must shell out that little extra to buy organic foods. We must always go to farmer’s market and pick up locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables. Avoid junk foods such as cookies etc. even if they say it’s organic, it still does not add any nutrients to our body. Organic cookies are just ‘little worse.’

When asked whether she recommends children eating organic foods, Lisa R. Young  also reiterates our belief, “Oh yes, kids should especially eat organic when possible.”  Lisa warns, “Only one caveat–beware the health halo-organic cookies are still cookies!”

 

Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., R.D., C.D.N. is an internationally recognized nutritionist and portion control expert. Dr. Young’s accomplishments include: author, international lecturer, media consultant, private practice nutritionist, and adjunct professor of nutrition in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University (NYU). She is the author of  The Portion Teller Plan. You can know more about her here