By Vivian Zhang
You pick up a box of eggs and as you are about to put it in your shopping cart, you notice the organic alternative. “Wait a second. Maybe I should get these instead…but they cost so much more!” After about a minute and half of pondering, you finally decide to go for the organic product, despite the extra cost.
The reason you bought the organic eggs is because they are supposedly healthier, right? What other benefits are there to eating organic foods? According to Marissa Lippert, M.S., R.D., there are at least two reasons to go organic. First, organic produce has fewer pesticides. Chemicals used on conventionally grown produce can be absorbed into the fruits and vegetables, leaving trace residues.
Second, a study by Newcastle University in the United Kingdom found that organic produce contains up to 40 percent more nutrients (vitamin C, zinc, iron, etc.). This is due to soil fertility because with organic methods, the nitrogen present in composted soil is released slowly. Plants can therefore grow at their normal rates and contain balanced nutrients.
Although these benefits seem convincing, Michael J. Potter of The New York Times thinks otherwise. Potter bought a “hippie” café back in the seventies, which has now become a major organic foods producer and wholesaler known as Eden foods. However, he noticed that nowadays, big food companies care more about how lucrative the organic business is, rather than the well-being of consumers.
These companies claim that their “locally produced ingredients” come from “small family farms.” If this is the case, then why have the ingredients lists include things like carrageenan, a seaweed-derived thickener with negative health benefits, and synthetic inositol, which is chemically manufactured?
Potter ridiculed, “Either they don’t have a clue, or their interest in making money is more important than their interest in maintaining the integrity of organics.” Perhaps these big name organic companies are giving off a misleading image.
So the next time you go to the grocery store, what will you pick? The truth is that there is no definite truth about organic foods. Yes, they have been shown to have health benefits, but they have also been shown to be a total scam. “Organic” products manufactured by big companies may not be the best idea since they are usually processed with artificial chemicals. However, going to your local farmer’s market for produce grown without pesticides is a great option. Rule of thumb: the less the foods have to travel, the fresher they are.