The popularity and growth of organic foods has skyrocketed in recent years. Organic sales surpassed the $50 billion mark for the first time in 2018, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Whether you are currently buying organic or not, you have probably found yourself at least wondering whether you should. A recent Pew Research Center study showed that Americans are divided on whether eating organic is actually healthier – which goes to show, people may be confused on the information that is available. Let’s take a quick look at the organic food industry and help answer the question, “Is buying organic really worth it?”
What does organic mean?
First of all, what does the word organic actually mean? Organic refers to the way a food is grown or produced. It is a whole system from production to processing, distribution and sales to ensure that a food contains:
✅ NO toxic and synthetic pesticides or fertilizers
✅ NO GMO ingredients
✅ NO antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones
✅ NO artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
✅ NO sewage sludge or irradiation
Are organic foods healthier?
Yes! Organic foods are healthier, and science shows that. Dozens of studies show very promising results. Check out some of their findings:
- A 2016 study in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that organic meat and milk can have as much as 50% more omega-3 fatty acids than their conventionally produced counterparts. The same study showed that organic milk was also lower in saturated fat.
- A 2018 JAMA Internal Medicine study followed 70,000 French people over 7 years. Those with the highest consumption of organic foods showed a 25% decrease in cancer incidence.
- A 2019 study by the researchers at Emory University showed that samples of non-organic milk tested positive for antibiotic residues, 2 of which are illegal and banned in the U.S. The samples also tested positive for growth hormone residues and controversial pesticides.
Which organic foods are worth buying?
Each year, the Environmental Working Group publishes a list called The Dirty Dozen, which is an annual ranking of the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides. If you are looking for a good place to start to make the organic change, these twelve foods would be excellent. The top 2020 list includes the following items:
EWG Dirty Dozen:
Buying organic goes way beyond just your food though. This is where buying for life truly shines! If you’re able and willing to make the upfront investment, buying organic products that last is another step in the right direction. If you’d like to take a deeper dive into the benefits of buying organic, check out our blog Why Buy Organic Products. We’ll give you eight more reasons to consider!