As health and wellness become growing trends across the world, grocery stores and food companies have mastered the art of using buzzwords like “organic,” “natural,” “GMO-free” … the list goes on! You might often find yourself in a dilemma while grocery shopping over which brand of potato chips is best for you. While it is refreshing to see companies working to be healthier and more natural in their processes, sometimes it is hard to tell what they actually mean by these labels. The responsibility lies with consumers to do their research and understand how to read food packaging. We want to help you become a smarter shopper.
With the overwhelming rise in health products, it is more and more important to understand what their labels really mean. We discussed the meanings behind different organic labels in a previous blog post, which you can check out here. We recommend reading it over to understand what the word “organic” really means. While you think you may know, there might be some shocking information that could impact your grocery shopping decisions. In short, organic foods are those that have been grown and processed in more environmentally sustainable ways. From planting and rotating to treating and cropping, the overall processes of growing organic products is better for the environment and human health. When grocery shopping, be sure to check the labels to get a sense for how the product was made.
There is a lot of unknown information and pre-conceived notions about what organic food actually is. We’re here to separate the right from the wrong when it comes to organic produce myths. Knowing the truth about these products will make you a smarter grocery shopper.
1. Organic food isn’t healthier – MYTH
When it comes to nutrients, organic food is not necessarily healthier or less healthy than non-organic alternatives. However, there is a huge difference in healthiness between the two. The truth is, organic products are definitely better for humans to consume. In the long run, buying organic products is the healthier option as they do not contain pesticides, which can stay in your body for a long time after ingested and cause a slew of health issues in humans. Considering that they have no added preservatives or synthetic chemicals, they may contain more nutrients. In this way, organic products are healthier because you are not poisoning your body.
2. Organic food is more expensive – MYTH
While they definitely can be more expensive, organic products probably are not as pricey as you think. Every now and then you can find an organic option that is cheaper than the non-organic alternatives. It is also important to think about why these organic products might have a higher price tag. If you consider the potential health costs that could arise from consuming non-organic products that contain pesticides (not to mention the environmental costs), organics are much cheaper! This goes to show there is a lot more behind the price tag than you may think. Plus, you are often supporting local farmers when you buy organic products. Buying your organic produce at a farmers’ market is your cheapest, and freshest, option.
3. Organic food is better for the environment – FACT
This couldn’t be truer. When it comes to planting, growing, and treating organic products, the processes are way more environmentally friendly compared to non-organic products. It is proven that organic processes reduce pollution and require less water. Without the added pesticides, the soil ends up healthier which leads to less erosion. Organic products are also grown with less carbon dioxide emissions, meaning they contribute less to climate change. Even runoff from pesticides used on non-organic products can harm the plants and animals that live near the farm. Traditional farming methods contribute to pollution and require more energy. There are so many environmental benefits to buying organic produce. Buying organic products means you are supporting a healthy, green environment.
4. Organic food contains fewer pesticides – FACT
This is true! In fact, organic food contains no chemical pesticides, which, as discussed earlier, is what makes them healthier than conventional products. On normal products, the pesticides used remain attached to the food even when we eat them. There are a lot of health risks to synthetic pesticides used on most crops. They can weaken your immune system, increase your risk for certain cancers and are especially harmful to children and pregnant women.
Organic products are certified to be poison-free, unlike conventional products. They are grown with natural fertilizers, like manure and compost, instead of with pesticides, insecticides or other chemicals. Organic products also do not contain artificial preservatives, sweeteners, colorings or flavors. They are GMO-free, meaning the DNA of the plants have not been altered in any way. Overall, organic products are the most naturally grown option with no added chemicals, making them a healthier and safer alternative to conventional food products.
5. Organic labels are just used for marketing – MYTH
While it may seem that brands just slap the word “organic” onto anything, there are actually defined sets of standards used to determine whether a product is organic or not. If something is labeled “organic,” then it has been certified by the USDA because it meets these standards. These labels ensure that products uphold standards for sustainability, safety and biodiversity. There are also different levels of organic labels. A product that is “made with organic ingredients” is not as organic as a “100% organic product.”
As healthy eating becomes such a popular topic, some grocery stores and food companies take advantage of the word “organic” or even “natural” in order to influence consumers. We strongly recommend reading through the blog post mentioned at the top to get a true understanding of organic labels. It will help you differentiate between truly organic products and those without any real health benefits. If organic practices are important to you, be sure to look for the USDA seal on your grocery products!
For more information on our organic produce, please visit our website www.organicsunlimited.com. If you have any questions regarding organic products, please don’t hesitate to contact us!