Monday, May 19, 2008

Organic Foods

By: Preeti Wilkhu, RD/LD - UCF Health Center Dietitian

There is big craze for organic foods these days but before you spend your money read this.

What is organic food?
Certified organic animal foods are produced from animals who are not given any hormones or antibiotics. Organic plant foods are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers made with manufactured components, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. No national standards exist for organic seafood.

Is organic food more nutritious?
No. The content of organic and nonorganic foods are the same. The only differences are in the production and processing methods utilized. The American Dietetic Association states that the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant levels in organic foods are no different from the nutritional qualities of conventional foods. A cookie is still a cookie nutritionally, whether it’s organic or not, and moderation in consumption is still needed.

So, why do people purchase organic food?
The two main reasons are the environment and health. People are concerned about the chemicals used in traditional food production. Some people insist that organic food tastes different than conventional food, but this statement is not proven by any studies or surveys.

How do I know if a food is organic?
The USDA organic food label, which is a green and white circle, guarantees that the food is at least 95% organic. Foods labeled “made with organic ingredients” must consist of at least 70% organic ingredients.

Which nonorganic foods carry the most pesticides?
Many groups, including the Environmental Working Group, think that the following 12 foods are most likely heavily dosed with pesticides. You may want to consider purchasing organic varieties of the following types of produce, if you’re concerned about pesticides:

▪ Peaches
▪ Apples
▪ Sweet bell peppers
▪ Celery
▪ Nectarines
▪ Strawberries
▪ Cherries
▪ Pears
▪ Grapes (imported)
▪ Spinach
▪ Lettuce
▪ Potatoes

No comments: