The Lies Behind Organic Food

Let me start by saying that I FULLY support the organic food movement! I think it is a wonderful thing for our health. The point of this article is not to make you start buying conventional food but to make you more aware that organic food is not ALWAYS healthy. 

Over the last decade the organic food movement has gained a lot of steam. You can find most of your favorite conventional products in organic form.But before gobbling them up in the name of health there are a few things you need to know…

1. Organic Processed Food IS NOT 100% Organic

Surprised??? Well, according to the FDA, to label a processed food organic the ingredients only need to be 95% Organic. So what’s the other 5%? Well it’s really hard to say…which is a good reason to be leery of processed organic foods.

So what processed “snack”  foods can I eat??? You can find some great options here. Organic fruit and nuts also make great on the go snacks!

2. Organic or not….Processed Foods are Typically NOT Healthy.

Here’s a great example, let’s look at the ingredient list of a very popular organic granola bar brand:

Granola (Organic) (Rolled Oats [Organic], Brown Rice Syrup [Organic], Sugar [Organic], Sunflower Oil [Organic], Sea Salt, Baking Soda, Vanilla [Organic]), Tapioca Syrup (Organic), Vanilla Chips (Organic) (Sugar [Organic], Cocoa Butter [Organic], Nonfat Milk [Organic], Soy Lecithin [Organic], Vanilla Flavor [Organic]), Crisp Rice (Organic) (Rice Flour [Organic], Sugar [Organic], Sea Salt, Malt Extract [Organic], Annatto Color), Rice Maltodextrin (Organic), Soy Lecithin (Organic), Sunflower Oil (Organic), Vanilla Flavor (Organic), Sea Salt.

So yes these snack bars are organic, but did you also notice that the SECOND and THIRD ingredients are sweeteners? In fact, almost 1/3 of the bar is a form of sugar!. While the fourth is a polyunsaturated fat otherwise known as a PUFA. Sugar and PUFA’s are both unhealthy foods that are over-consumed in our country. You can find out more about the ill effects of sugar and polyunsaturated fats here and here.

3. They Might Have Harmful Additives You Don’t Know About

 Recently carrageenan was allowed as an additive in organic products. It is used as a thickener and stabilizer and is typically found in organic cow milk, soy milk, rice milk and other dairy products like cheese and cream. What’s so bad about carrageenan?” Dr. Joanne Tobacman, a physician-scientist at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and the nation’s foremost independent expert on carrageenan says that:

  1.  Exposure to carrageenan causes inflammation which is harmful;
  2.  The amount of carrageenan consumed in the human diet is sufficient to cause inflammation;
  3.  Both undegraded and degraded carrageenan cause inflammation.”(cornocopia,20130)

 4. Organic Animal Products DOES NOT Guarantee a Healthy, Happy Animal

You might be surprised to know that I love and care about animals. The thought of animals mistreated to bring food to my table is sad and disturbing. Often, when we think of organic meat or dairy we envision these animals living a happy life on a farm. The criteria for an organic animal product is not as humane as you might imagine. 

Here is the criteria: 

  • Must be fed 100% organic diet 
  • Free of antibiotics, steroids, preservatives and GMO’s
  • The animals have year round access to the outdoors.

Do these look pretty good to you? Here’s the problem. While it’s great these animals get organic feed it’s not always the natural feed for the particular animal. For example, organically raised cows are usually fed grains instead of grass and chickens eat large amount of soy instead of bugs. 

And secondly ,when they are given “access” to the outdoors this simply means they need to be given a small area to be outside. Large organic meat and dairy manufactures have small outdoor areas for their animals, but the animals typically remain inside in close quarters. 

What do I do now?

 Locally grown organic and/or raised animal products are your healthiest option. And guess what??? It’s typically more affordable! When it comes down to it buying REAL food from your local(organic) farmer is better for you and for the environment! 

 

I have a series all about buying organic food locally that can be a great help! 

The Lies Behind Organic Food 4 things you need to know www.cocoswell.com

 

Read more from Don’t Mess with Mama about foods not to buy and about toxins that are hidden in health foods

14 Comments

  1. This article misses the point of organic food. It is about how any inputs used in food production process actually use the land. Organic farming is a net benefit to the planet. Local non-organic can be an environmental nightmare. Locally produced is not usually best choice if they are using traditionally based chemical farming methods. If you are choosing local over organic you better know what they are putting on the land and what they are feeding their animals.

    • Hi Bill!
      I appreciate your feedback. I read over the article and to be honest I think you made a great point! I think I made some assumptions that people would understand I meant “sustainably grown, pesticide free local food”.
      I think we need to be supporting our local organic small farmers the best we can! It is by far the most sustainable system.
      Thanks again!
      Julia (CoCo)

  2. Thanks for the great article. We need to be aware that having an organic label doesn’t automatically mean the product is good for us. Although it is a good start, it is not the total picture. What you and Bill say in the comments is important because the impact on our environment is very important. However there is a big difference in health building and simply not making us sick. Organic “junk food” is still junk food.

    It is hard to cover all the points but I’m sure you both get the idea.

  3. Wow, some really great points there. Some people hear how organic is better for us and better for the environment but not necessarily realising buying organic packaged food isn’t guaranteed to be healthy.

    We’ve shared this article on our Facebook page as we think there’s some very good info in there for people to read!

    Thanks 🙂

  4. Lisa

    I appreciate that you brought up the subject of Carageenan. So many people don’t know it is bad, and sadly it is in so many products from yogurt to puddings and even whipping cream. I heard it was bad years ago and have been trying to avoid it since then, but it is not easy. It does disturb me that even “health” food is full of it. I can literally only find one kind of whipping cream at our healthfood store that doesn’t have it. It is also the only place I can find pastured eggs since learning that all the other titles like free range and cage free mean nothing when it comes to a healthy animal.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing.

    Lisa

  5. BW

    Carageenan is nasty stuff. Last year I was sure I was developing Krohns, which runs in my family. I was having serious bathroom issues. My husbands friend mentioned the Carageenan thing; he is lactose intolerant like me and was eating non dairy ice cream and creamer and was having issues. I eliminated Carageenan and was almost 100% better. At this point, if I start having that particular issue, I can usually rummage in my fridge and find some hidden Carageenan. Terrible.

  6. Jacqueline

    Some companies have switched from carageenan to gellan gum. I researched it a little; it does not come from seaweed, so it is somewhat different from carageenan. However, I’m concerned that since it serves the same purpose in food, does it do the same bad things in our bodies? Any info anyone?

  7. I agree completely with your article, but I always tell my readers that organic is ALWAYS best, then comes the part about eating healthy in more details and eating real food. But if someone will eat junk food no matter what, I’d much prefer they eat organic junk food so that it has a much lesser impact on the environment. 🙂
    But you are absolutely correct that just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
    It’s always nice to read someone else who thinks like me. haha

  8. Karla Guillen

    Just read before you buy. Organic will be better than conventional food.

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