What Organic Means for your Diet

What Organic Means for your DietAs you peruse your local grocery’s produce aisle you may notice signs indicating which items are “certified organic.” You may also notice that these organic items come with a rather hefty price tag in comparison to their conventional counterparts, or don’t look quite as large or vibrant as the genetically modified produce in the next bin.

After weight loss surgery, fruits and vegetables will likely become a more regular component of your diet. When you head to the store, you should know what you are looking for and why you should buy it. There are arguments both for and against organic foods.

Once you understand what they are, and how they are different from conventional and genetically modified foods, you can make an educated decision about what produce you are going to feed yourself and your family.

What does “organic” mean?

Organic refers to a growing method. When a product is grown organically, no chemicals, pesticides or other modifications were done to the plant to enhance its growth. The result is all-natural produce that develops just the way Mother Nature intended.

The label organic is highly regulated. No food can be labeled as certified organic without first meeting certain stipulations from the FDA. When you purchase an organic product you can know that your produce has not come into contact with anything out of the norm. This cannot be said for conventional or genetically modified produce:

  • Conventional produce: Chemicals like pesticides and herbicides are often used in conventional growing practices. While the foods themselves are not altered in any way, it is possible that chemicals could seep into the skin of the fruit or vegetable.
  • Genetically modified organisms: GMOs are fundamentally altered at the molecular level to change the way a fruit or vegetable is shaped, tastes or stands up to weather and bugs. GMOs are relatively new, and research is still being done to determine the long term effects of these foods in our diet.

Are organic foods more nutritious?

The nutrient value of fruits and vegetables does not change across organic, conventional and genetically modified produce. There have been health advocates for organic foods who have believed organic produce holds a higher nutrient content, but this has not proven true through research. A 2012 study from Stanford University found that organic produce boasts no nutritional benefit over other forms of produce.

However, the same study did find that organic produce is close to 30 percent less likely to have pesticide contamination, and consuming chemicals used in pesticides could have dangerous consequences for your health.

Eating any form of fruit or vegetable is a healthier choice than eating highly processed, fattening foods. If you aren’t sure which is best for you and your family, then consider conducting a brief taste test to gauge the flavor difference between conventional, GMO and organic produce. Whatever you decide on, keep up the healthy eating!