Picking Organic Produce for Your Weight Loss DietPosted: Jun 19 in Weight Loss Blog by Staff
It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables are good for us. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, fresh produce is a valuable part of any diet and should remain a consistent part of your meals after weight loss surgery.
However, there are lots of different fruits and veggies out there, and even familiar ones come in many different forms. If you’re looking for apples at the grocery store, your decision may be more complicated than you initially expect. Gala or Granny Smith? Braeburn or McIntosh? Organic or conventional?
This last question causes a lot of confusion. Perhaps you’ve heard that organic food is better for you, but the reasons aren’t always so clear, due in part to the fact that we still don’t have conclusive research on the subject. Though some studies show that organic fruits and veggies are more nutritious, other studies contest these claims, and we’re left standing in the produce aisle wondering if the high price tag on the organic apple is worth it.
But as we wait for scientists to find more definite answers about organic food, it helps to have some practical advice on which type of produce to choose. Let’s start with one benefit of organic foods that we know for certain: they are not grown with pesticides.
The Problem with Pesticides
Many insects are just as fond of fruits and veggies as we are, and this causes a serious problem for farmers. To prevent pests from eating through their crops, most farmers need to use pesticides, which are chemicals designed to kill bugs and fungi. Unfortunately, pesticides can stay on produce even after it goes to the market, and many studies have shown that eating these toxic substances may lead to major health issues like cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an organization that examines pesticide levels in produce. During their research, the EWG found pesticide residue on about 67 percent of produce sampled, even after peeling and washing. Organic produce doesn’t have any of this pesticide residue, and this is one of the main reasons it’s considered healthier by many people.
Some conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables tend to have more pesticide residue than others. Because of this, the EWG releases an annual list of the most pesticide-prone produce (the “Dirty Dozen”)—they recommend buying these foods organic. They also offer a list of foods that test low in pesticide residue (the “Clean Fifteen”), which can be safely eaten in non-organic forms.
Organic food is expensive, but these lists from the EWG can save us money by helping us only buy organic when it’s most necessary. If you carry these lists with you on your next grocery run, you may find it easier to decide which foods to buy organic:
The Dirty Dozen:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hot peppers
- Nectarines (imported)
- Sweet bell peppers
- Kale & collard greens
- Summer squash
The Clean Fifteen
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
After weight loss surgery, it’s important to remember that the nutritional value of produce outweighs any of the negative effects of pesticides. Don’t let the fear of pesticides keep you from eating any fruits and veggies at all!
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