The SparkPeople Blog

All Entries For organic food

Should You Believe the 'Organic Isn't Healthier' Study?


It's been all over the news this week: A new study conducted by researchers from Stanford University, and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, finds little evidence that organic foods are any healthier than conventionally grown foods.
 
If you've been shelling out the extra cash for organic (which does cost more than conventional in most cases), you may feel as if you've been duped!
 
Before you wallow in all of your wasted dollars, let's stop and think: Could this really be true?
 
Don't put those pesticide-free carrots back on the shelf just yet! Like any study, it's important to read past the attention-grabbing news headlines and think critically about the information being presented. If you ask me, this study (and its news coverage) is questionable.
Posted 9/7/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 136 comments   22,639 views
Read More ›

Which Fruits and Vegetables Are on the New Dirty Dozen List?


I love vegetables! From broccoli to peppers, beets to zucchini, I'll eat them all, morning, noon and night. I aim to exceed the recommended five servings a day and usually I eat double that many servings.

That said, I'm also on a budget and I try to eat local, pesticide-free, and organic produce whenever possible. I rely on a handy-dandy annual list from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to help me stretch my food dollars and buy organic versions of the "dirtiest" fruits and vegetables.

The group recently updated their "Dirty Dozen" list, along with the companion list of the "Clean 15."

On which list will you find your favorite fruits and vegetables?

Posted 6/14/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 36 comments   15,638 views
Read More ›

'Organic' Labels May Lead to Overeating


It's no secret that I am a strong supporter of organic foods and agriculture. Probably 95% of the food I buy is organic. While research on the health benefits of organic is mixed, I don't think it could hurt to limit my exposure to pesticides and genetically modified organisms, but more importantly, I believe in the environmental benefits of growing food organically.

It was about 10 years ago that I first discovered organic food and started shopping at "natural" foods stores. I didn't know much back then about nutrition or healthy eating, but all the new-to-me foods I encountered in those small markets piqued my interest. I would fill my cart with organic cookies, soy ice cream (I never knew that existed!), and other goodies, fully believing that these foods were "healthier" for me than the products in my local grocery store. And of course, healthy meant "lower in calories," as far as I was concerned. I'd munch away on exotic flavors and new foods, certain I was doing something good for my health.

I've since learned, thanks to my own research, a little more experience, and a good college education that also included nutrition classes, that the term "organic" doesn't necessarily mean healthy. Unfortunately, "organic" is yet another label that falls under the health halo, meaning that consumers read into it, well, things that aren't really there, like that it's healthier, lower in fat, lighter in calories, or promotes weight-loss.
Posted 5/21/2010  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 66 comments   11,636 views
Read More ›

Natural vs. Organic: What's Truth and What's Hype?


Pop quiz: Which is the best product description to read on a food label?
A. “100% natural”
B. “All natural ingredients”
C. “100% organic”
D. “Certified organic ingredients”

(Keep reading for the answer!)

This spring, Eco Pulse, a recent survey conducted by the Shelton Group, asked that same question, and though natural and organic foods are now available in seven in 10 supermarkets nationwide, according to the Food Marketing Institute, most of the 1,006 respondents didn't do so well.

We're paying more attention to the food that goes into our mouths.

Sales of natural and organic food topped $28 billion in 2006, according to the Nutrition Business Journal, with demand for organic foods alone increasing 22 percent, to almost $17 billion.

However, as consumers try to become more discerning at the supermarket, the buzzwords used on food labels are growing more complicated and convoluted. Whether you want the greenest option or products that are minimally processed and free of laboratory-created ingredients, all those grandiose marketing claims can confound even the savviest shopper.

“Many consumers do not understand green terminology,” said Suzanne Shelton of the Shelton Group.

In a world where burgers are "now made with real beef," carrots are labeled cholesterol-free and sugary drinks are sold as vitamin supplements, what's hype and what's healthy?

Posted 7/14/2009  10:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 56 comments   28,562 views
Read More ›

Does Organic Food Really Taste Better?


Conventional vs. organic: Which is really better? You hear both sides of the debate all the time. Organic proponents say that their food is better for your health, the planet and animal welfare. Conventional producers say they can produce more food per acre, and that synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are harmless. You could probably find 100 scientists who could each cite 100 different studies for both sides of the "Is organic really better?" debate.

But what about taste? Some people claim that organic food has more flavor than conventionally-grown food. Taste is a subjective thing though—how can you really measure that in scientific terms? Well, a groundbreaking study has done exactly that and the results are in. Which tastes better, organic or conventional?
Posted 3/10/2009  2:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 163 comments   25,790 views
Read More ›