This main issue arises with organic junk food. We’re talking oreos made from organic flour, organic fizzy drinks and organic ice cream. There are organic chips, organic crisps, organic pastries, cookies and muffins. Organic is not a magic health wizard that casts a spell on nutritionally barren snacks and makes them equal to a piece of fruit. Sorry to burst that bubble.
Organic junk food is still junk food.
Now, this doesn’t mean that they can’t have a place in your diet. What it does mean is that you’re wallet and health will be better off from buying a slice of cake from your local bakery opposed to downing an entire cake made from organic ingredients from Whole Foods in the belief that it’s healthy.
One thing that really annoys me are the organic smoothies and drinks. These are the type you see on the shelf with large labels saying “no added sugar” and “vitamin rich”. Vitamin Water in the US has more sugar than snickers bar. Now, I’m not saying that they are nutritionally compatible, but the vitamin water may not be as good for you as you think. Stick a squirt of lemon, orange or lime in a water bottle instead to spruce up your H20.
This Water has 21.3g sugar while Innocent superfood smoothie has 31g sugar. Pret-A-Manger orange juice has 51g sugar in it per bottle! All these drinks are sold as healthy alternatives to fizzy drinks but many have hidden ingredients to improve the taste.
A lot of organic flavoured yogurts are the same. People will buy them for the organic label without realising all the added ingredients they stick in for the taste. Soup, too. You may not think that soup would have anything other than vegetables in it but you’d be surprised what companies get away with when they stick an organic label on top. They can charge a much higher price and people are also more likely to buy them because they think they’re “healthier” (healthy is subjective, there is no factual definition for something being healthier.)
Sugar is not the enemy at all but what the aim of this article is to get you to be a bit more skeptical about so called “healthy-options.” If you dig a little deeper, a lot of them are just really good branding.
What would be better for your health is maintaining a balanced diet consisting of moderate amounts of food from a wide range of sources. Try and include a fist full size of fruit or vegetables with every meal alongside a protein source. That’ll keep you full, healthy and happy. Then, when you’re in the mood for a bit of a treat, have it knowing that you’ve been good the rest of the week. “Unhealthy” food is good for your mental health too, don’t forget that. You can’t be healthy if you’re obsessing over the nutritional content of every meal and restricting yourself.
Organic may mean that it’s lower in pesticides and antioxidants but that’s not the only thing that matters, so do the nutritional labels. You have to also ask yourself whether foods lower in pesticides are actually better for you and the research shows otherwise. Research at Stanford University looked at more than 200 studies of the content and associated health gains of organic and non-organic foods. Overall, there was no large difference between the nutritional content, although the organic food was 30% less likely to contain pesticides.
There may be slightly less risks of getting diseases or illnesses but the research is inconclusive. What we do know that works, however, is eating nutritionally dense foods such as fish, unprocessed meats, fruit and vegetables in the first place.
There’s no need to spend twice the price on organically produced crisps and cookies when the conventional alternative will be 99% the same. Some people think that organic produce taste better but some people also drink their own urine. Does that mean we all should?
I for one am going to continue drinking my free-range, gluten-free and low-fat dihydrogen monoxide a.k.a. water.