Skip to main content

Food Trends: To Be Organic Or Not To Be, That Is The Question

I recently purchased Netflix and have been watching all the food documentaries.  If you’ve watched any of them and are like me, you may have felt quite nauseas by the end of most of the movies.  Shortly after watching all movies I have been known to say “that’s it we’re eating all organic.”  Honestly, I do not purchase all organic right now.  It becomes quite expensive and also research can still not prove that organic is healthier from a nutrient composition. So, I pick my battles. Being a registered dietitian has its upsides when reading food labels, but when I speak to clients, friends, or even my husband, the labels can be quite confusing. 

The term organic references the way farmers grow and process dairy, meat, fruit, vegetable, and grain products.  Instead of farming the conventional way, utilizing pesticides, and such or regulating where livestock lives and matures, organic farmers utilize crop rotations, mulch, manure, compost and such to prevent disease.  Animals are given organic feed, allowed to be outside, and live in a clean household.

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) regulates and certifies organic products and different foods have seals that state where they stand organically.  It is important to realize that the seal is voluntary and that producers who sell less than five thousand dollars of product a year are exempt from certification, but still need to follow USDA standards.

So what does each seal or statement mean?

100% organic
Everything plus ingredients is organic. Usually a single ingredient food
95% - 100% of everything plus ingredients is organic
Made with Organic Ingredients
70% of ingredients are organic
Contains Organic Ingredients
Contains less than 70% of organic ingredients

A lot of times meats will utilize different terms instead of organic. Here's some clarification.

Minimally processed, no artificial flavors or coloring but may still receive antibiotics
Grass Fed
Fed grass or hay, access to outside. Usually healthier/leaner
Free Range
Not caged, allowed to be outdoors, however this label is unclear. Best to call to get clarification
No Hormones Added
No growth hormones are added. Keep in mind by law poultry and pigs cannot be given hormones

To be organic or not to be is the question.  Research is inconclusive regarding if organic foods are healthier from a nutrient composition, but I feel there is an argument worth stating that organic foods are free of hormones, genetically modified organisms (foods that have altered DNA), food additives, food coloring, and many more. 

If on a budget it is always worth checking out your local farmer markets, food co-ops, and community supported agricultural farms as prices may be more reasonable.  Do you do organic? What’s your trick to the trade? 



Kathryn said…
I try to follow the dirty dozen and clean fifteen rule. It strikes a reasonable balance for me.

Popular posts from this blog

Make it Happen

Parents, I see you. I see you putting everyone else's needs in front of yours. I see your dark circles under your eyes, your gray hair, that your wasting away, or that you've collectively gained weight over the years. It's time to put yourselves first because if you don't take care of yourself you won't be around to keep taking care of everyone else.

So often friends, acquaintances, or clients say to me, "I don't know how you find the time to exercise." "How can you take the time away from everything else and get away to exercise?" "I wish I could actually focus on myself and exercise."

Exercise to me is self care. It produces endorphins faster than any other activity I engage in. It  reduces my stress, keeps me healthy, increases flexibility, and gives me more energy to be on point with my busy kids and my demanding job.

My exercise isn't extravagant and it doesn't take too much time. Here's my secret. I always work e…

The Truth Behind Clean Eating

A quick trip to the grocery store or chain restaurant and you will likely be bombarded with the concept of “clean eating” foods that claim to be “organic”, “natural”, “non GMO”, and “gluten free”. There is also the laundry list of foods you should avoid such as high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, and various toxins or chemicals. As a consumer it can be very overwhelming and intimidating to choose which foods are best for you.
While clean eating is not a new sensation, it has become increasingly popular in part due to misinformation on social media. Fear mongering is the latest marketing strategy in which companies are deliberately arousing fear in consumers to help sell their product. For example, products claim to be non-GMO when in fact it is not produced as a GMO food in the first place. There are only 8 genetically modified crops commercially prepared in the U.S. Products that have never contained gluten have a “Gluten free” label on them. Then there is the irrational conce…

Why this Dietitian Cares more about your PREbiotics than your PRObiotic Pill

Clients ask me all the time what I think of their brand of probiotic or which one they should start taking.  Studies have shown that probiotic supplements definitely have their place in certain circumstances (that’s a whole other blog for another time), but my bigger concern is... what are you feeding the ones you have already?
“Probiotics” is just a fancy word for helpful bacteria.  Even if you don’t take a pill, you have these little guys in your digestive track.  The problem right now is that current probiotic supplements can only include the bacteria that scientists have been able to 1) identify and 2) put in a pill without them dying right away.  
However, we (probiotic and non-probiotic users alike) have so many different strains of bacteria (somewhere in the neighborhood of billions) who do so much good for us such as make vitamins and help battle bad bacteria.  BUT - just like us - they need to eat!  A recent study showed that a diet high in protein is not in their best interest…