Why Choose Organic vs Non-Organic?

 
 Marie Louise Munkegaard; Photographer; Copenhagen; Denmark, Dr Smood, Lifestyle, healthy food, foodphotography

When it comes to your food, does organic really matter?

Always choose 100% USDA certified organic foods. Do it for your short term and long term health. Do it for your wallet. Do it because it simply tastes better. At Dr Smood, each and every ingredient in every performance food product we offer is 100% USDA certified organic. And we go beyond organic - we go to the end’s of the world to source the best quality ingredients for our food.

“Organic food is an investment in your health. The premiums we pay for health insurance are astronomical. And what we typically pay for are reactive treatments to disease. We don’t focus on the ways we can preventatively avoid disease through the foods we eat and drink,” says René Sindlev, founder of Dr Smood. “The difference between a few dollars now and thousands of dollars and pain down the line when disease comes is obviously worth it.”

Organic

What are organic foods? More specifically, USDA certified organic foods are foods grown and processed according to federal guidelines that address soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives like artificial sweeteners, preservatives, coloring, flavoring and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Produce can be called organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Animal meat, eggs, and dairy can also be USDA certified organic. Regulations require that animals are raised in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviors (like the ability to graze on pasture), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not administered antibiotics or hormones. Here’s why this is important:


“Buying USDA certified organic food is important to avoid exposure to dangerous and toxic chemicals used in conventional agriculture. Besides the potential long-term negative effects of pesticides, herbicides etc. studies are also showing higher antioxidant content in organic produce,” says Dr. Etti Ben-Zion, VP of Research & Development at Dr Smood.

 
 

According to the British Journal of Nutrition, organic crops on average, have higher concentrations of antioxidants and less pesticides compared to non-organic crops.

Organic food has more vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and micronutrients, keeps our bodies healthy, and is helpful for those who have allergies to certain foods, chemicals or preservatives.

For example, observational studies in humans have linked organic foods to a lower risk of allergies and eczema in children and infants. Another study found that antioxidant levels were higher in men following an organic diet. Organic foods have higher heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids (found in organic meats, dairy and eggs) due to the grass or alfalfa that cattle are fed according to organic farming practices.

And if you’re worried about “the dirty dozen foods list,” going all-organic resolves any fear or anxiety.

The 2019 Dirty Dozen Foods List released by the Environmental Working Group includes: Strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, and potatoes. But enjoying these foods is not something you have to worry about when you go all-organic.

“Even though research is still being conducted about the day-to-day moderate exposure, is it really worth the risk to consume chemicals when you can so easily avoid it by eating organic?” says Dr. Etti.

The term “organic” also ranges depending on labeling. The USDA allows foods to be labeled organic if they pass with the agency’s certification process. The agency allows four types of organic food labels. Here are the basics of what the labels mean:

  • 100 Percent USDA Organic (every single ingredient and product at Dr Smood): All ingredients and processing are organic. No GMOs. Complies with national list of ingredients and processing allowed in certified-organic foods.

  • Organic: 95 percent of ingredients certified organic. No GMOs. Complies with national list of ingredients allowed in certified-organic foods.

  • Made with Organic: Organic seal not allowed. At least 70% of ingredients certified organic. No GMOs. Complies with a list of ingredients allowed in certified-organic foods.

  • Organic Ingredients: Organic seal not allowed. No specific percentage of ingredients required to be organic. They may contain GMOs. Not required to comply with national list of ingredients allowed or not allowed in organic foods. Does not have to undergo USDA certification process.

Non-organic

What’s more is that certain studies from the Environ Health Perspective show that high exposure to pesticides have neurotoxic effects.

Food produced grown from non-organic farming practices results in higher levels of a toxic metal called cadmium in conventionally grown crops and higher bacteria levels in conventionally produced meat. This meat may have a higher rate of bacteria resistant to antibiotic treatment.

Because of soil depletion, crops grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today from conventional (non-organic) food.

A landmark study published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Analyzed U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century. More studies show that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27%,  iron levels 37%, Vitamin A levels 21%, and Vitamin C levels 30%. Another study concluded that one would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of Vitamin A from several decades ago.

This means that you have exponentially eat more conventionally grown produce than one cold physically handle in order to receive the same nutritional benefits.

And don’t confuse “natural” and “organic.” Though the word “natural” on a food label may mean that the product does not contain artificial flavorings, preservatives, or other additives.

“Even so-called ‘natural food’ builds up toxins in your body and are depleted from nutrients,” says Dr. Etti.

Also, buyer beware:

When a food or packaged product says they are “made with organic [specific ingredient or food group],” this means they contain at least 70% organically produced ingredients. This does not mean that what you are getting is 100% USDA certified organic. What this means is that the remaining non-organic ingredients are produced without using prohibited practices (genetic engineering, for example) but can include substances that would not otherwise be allowed in 100% organic products. These will not have USDA organic seal, so will still contain potentially harmful, non-organic ingredients.

 
Marietta Leung