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What Does "Organic" Even Mean?

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

I get asked this question a lot, "Emily, what does it mean if something is organic?"

Surely, you've seen the marketing that claims that organics are better for you, they will help you lose weight and that they can prevent you from being exposed to pesticides which are harmful to our bodies.

It is true that there can be negative side effects with over use over ingestion of pesticides at high does over an extended period of time, but it's not any thing you should be overly concerned.

So what does "Organic" mean? If it's organic, that means that it was grown without the use of artificial hormones, chemicals or antibiotics. For it to be labeled "Organic", it has to comply with certain guidelines. Organic foods typically use more manure to fertilize the food, which can help with the nutrient profile of the produce. However, just because they use natural fertilizers, doesn't mean that they are safe for us to have in high quantity either.

Some studies have shown that some produce is higher in vitamins and minerals, however, there are equal amounts of studies that show that there is no difference in nutrient profile either.

Organic food typically costs more to grow as it uses more water during the growing process, as well as is more labor intensive for the farmer. If you simply wash your conventionally grown produce with water, you reduce the pesticide residue on the produce and reduce any risk.

Just because it's organic doesn't mean it doesn't use some sort of pesticides though. Often times, the pesticides are derived from heavy metals which can also cause problems. 

We have to remember that with any study that says some one the usual pesticides cause cancer, that it is typically in very high doses of it. The same is true with artificial sweeteners. However, with the end product we get, they are typically low in pesticides, therefore not enough in one sitting to cause issues.

We have to remember that organic, not as healthy food, is still not as healthy even though it is organic.

Some of the products are still highly processed, have added sugar, fat and sodium, just like the non-organic version. Often times, labels will say something is made with organic, natural ingredients, but we have to remember that in the end, it's still sugar, no matter what form it is in.

In the end, organics may have slightly more nutrients than conventionally farmed produce, but they are more expensive and can soil faster than non-organic foods. There are no clear cut answers on whether we should be eating organics or not, but in my opinion, if my grandparents were just fine on conventionally farmed produce, then I am okay.

If you're someone who would rather have organics, then that's your preference!


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