ORGANIC FOODS. WHY THE HYPE? WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE CONVINCED YOU HAVE TO EAT ORGANIC TO BE HEALTHY, FIT, AND LOSE WEIGHT? YOU’D BE SURPRISED HOW MANY PEOPLE DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT “ORGANIC” IS. YES, I’M NOT KIDDING ABOUT THAT. SO WHAT IS ORGANIC FOR THE ONES WHO MAY NOT KNOW
ORGANIC FOODS ARE GROWN BY ORGANIC FARMING. NO SYNTHETIC PESTICIDES OR CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS ARE ALLOWED, HOWEVER CERTAIN PESTICIDES MAY BE USED. ORGANIC FOODS ARE NOT PROCESSED USING IRRADIATION, INDUSTRIAL SOLVENTS, OR SYNTHETIC FOOD ADDITIVES.
THE ORGANIC FOOD CRAZE STARTED TAKING THE WORLD BY STORM IN 2002 WHEN THE USDA RELEASED ITS NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR ORGANIC PRODUCTS. THE POPULARITY OF ORGANIC FOODS GREW BY 3% A YEAR WITH WHOLE FOODS LEADING THE WAY. PEOPLE COULDN’T GET TO THE NATURAL FOOD STORES FAST ENOUGH TO BE A PART OF THE NEW HEALTH TREND. 14 YEARS LATER THE ORGANIC CRAZE HAS NOT LESSENED, IN FACT, IT HAS GROWN. NOT ONLY IS IT BIG IN THE GENERAL POPULATION BUT IT’S ALSO BIG IN THE FITNESS INDUSTRY. YOU MOST LIKELY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FIND A COMPETITOR WHO IS AGAINST ORGANIC. IN FACT, MOST OF THEM WILL SAY IT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLE IN YOUR HEALTH AND MUSCLE DEVELOPMENT. NO ONE SEEMS TO MIND SPENDING THE EXTRA MONEY ON THIS. AFTER ALL, TO LIVE A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE, THERE’S NO AMOUNT OF MONEY WE WON’T SPEND. NEED MORE PROOF OF THAT? ACCORDING TO THE ORGANIC TRADE ASSOCIATION, IN 2015 THE ORGANIC FOOD INDUSTRY TALLIED A WHOPPING $35.9 BILLION EVEN WITH THE USDA ORGANIC CERTIFICATION STATING THAT HOW FOOD IS GROWN, RAISED, AND PROCESSED DOES NOT DETERMINE ITS NUTRITIONAL VALUE. BUT IS IT REALLY WORTH ALL OF THIS? WELL, LET’S DIG A LITTLE DEEPER AND FIND OUT.
 
Do Organic Foods Have More Nutritional Value?
THE BIGGEST SELLING POINT OF BUYING ORGANIC IS ITS NUTRITIONAL VALUE. ONE BENEFIT OF ORGANIC FOOD IS, OF COURSE, THE HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF ANTIOXIDANTS.  A STUDY HAS SHOWN THAT ORGANIC CROPS, ON AVERAGE, HAVE HIGHER CONCENTRATIONS OF ANTIOXIDANTS, LOWER CONCENTRATIONS OF CD AND A LOWER INCIDENCE OF PESTICIDE RESIDUES THAN THE NON-ORGANIC COMPARATORS ACROSS REGIONS AND PRODUCTION SEASONS. BUT WHAT ARE THEY? ANTIOXIDANTS ARE A NATURAL COMPOUNDS FOUND IN SOME FOODS. THE BEST SOURCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS ARE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, AND PRODUCTS DERIVED FROM PLANTS. GOOD SOURCES INCLUDE BLUEBERRIES, RASPBERRIES, APPLES, BROCCOLI, CABBAGE, SPINACH, EGGPLANT, AND LEGUMES. ANTIOXIDANTS ARE ALSO FOUND IN GREEN TEA, BLACK TEA, RED WINE AND DARK CHOCOLATE.  ANTIOXIDANTS HELP NEUTRALIZE FREE RADICALS WHICH ARE SUBSTANCES THAT OCCUR NATURALLY IN OUR BODIES. FREE RADICALS MAY BE NATURAL BUT THEY ATTACK THE FATS, PROTEIN AND THE DNA IN OUR CELLS, WHICH CAN CAUSE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DISEASES AND ACCELERATE THE AGING PROCESS. ANTIOXIDANTS HAVE CLAIMS TO HELP PREVENT DISEASES SUCH AS HEART DISEASE, CANCER, AND AGE RELATED EYE DISEASESSOUNDS PRETTY HEALTHY, RIGHT?
ARE ANTIOXIDANTS ALL THEY’RE CRACKED UP TO BE?
WELL, WITH WHAT WE’VE ALL READ SO FAR AND HAVE ALWAYS HEARD ABOUT ANTIOXIDANTS IT WOULD APPEAR THEY ARE ALL THEY ARE MADE OUT TO BE. STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT VITAMIN E PLAYS NO ROLE IN PREVENTING CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE. I’LL PROVIDE SOME ADDITIONAL STUDIES FOR YOU 2.3.4. RESVERATROL, A POLYPHENOL FOUND IN GRAPES, RED WINE, AND CHOCOLATE, IS CONSIDERED TO HAVE ANTIOXIDANT, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY, AND ANTICANCER EFFECTS IN HUMANS AND IS RELATED TO LONGEVITY IN SOME LOWER ORGANISMS. HOWEVER, ANOTHER STUDY ON THESE EXACT FOODS SHOW NONE OF THESE WERE ASSOCIATED WITH INFLAMMATORY MARKERS, CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE, OR CANCER OR PREDICTIVE OF ALL-CAUSE MORTALITY. 
ANTIOXIDANTS ALSO HAVE CLAIMS TO PREVENT AGE-RELATED EYE DISEASES. NOW THIS IS A LITTLE OF A POSITIVE SIDE FOR ANTIOXIDANT VITAMINS. A STUDY HAS FOUND THAT A COMBINATION OF VITAMIN C, VITAMIN E, BETA-CAROTENE, AND ZINC OFFERED SOME PROTECTION AGAINST THE DEVELOPMENT OF ADVANCED AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION,  BUT NOT CATARACTS, IN PEOPLE WHO WERE AT HIGH RISK OF THE DISEASE1
. IN A STUDY ON LUTEIN, VISUAL FUNCTION IS IMPROVED WITH LUTEIN ALONE OR LUTEIN TOGETHER WITH OTHER NUTRIENTS. BUT, FURTHER STUDIES ARE NEEDED WITH MORE PATIENTS OF BOTH GENDERS, AND FOR LONGER PERIODS OF TIME TO ASSESS LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF LUTEIN OR LUTEIN TOGETHER WITH A BROAD SPECTRUM OF ANTIOXIDANTS, VITAMINS, AND MINERALS IN THE TREATMENT OF ATROPHIC AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION.
SO, THE HIGHER LEVELS OF ANTIOXIDANTS IN ORGANIC FOODS SHOWS NO BETTER BENEFITS THAN CONVENTIONAL FOODS. WE CAN MARK THIS OFF THE LIST OF WHY YOU SHOULD BE EATING ORGANIC.
IS ORGANIC MORE NUTRITIONAL?
THE BIGGEST SELLING POINT OF ORGANIC FOODS ARE THE HIGHER LEVELS OF ANTIOXIDANTS. SO WITH ALL OF THIS BEING SAID ABOUT ANTIOXIDANTS AND STUDIES BACKING IT, IT SEEMS PRETTY CONCLUSIVE THAT ORGANIC FOODS CONTAIN NO MORE NUTRITIONAL VALUE THAN CONVENTIONAL FOODS. STUDIES BY STANFORD UNIVERSITY AND THE DEPARTMENT OF EPIDEMIOLOGY HAVE CONDUCTED STUDIES ON THE OVERALL NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF ORGANIC FOODS AND BOTH CONFIRMED THAT ORGANIC IS NO MORE NUTRITIONAL.
ARE ORGANIC FOODS AT LEAST SAFER?
THERE’S JUST GOT TO BE AN UPSIDE TO ORGANIC FOODS. NOT TAKING IN ALL THOSE CHEMICALS MUST MEAN IT’S SAFER. WELL, AGAIN, EVEN THOUGH ORGANICALLY GROWN FOODS DO NOT CONTAIN PESTICIDES OR CHEMICALS IT WOULD MAKE SENSE NOT CONSUMING ANY OF THESE CHEMICALS WOULD HAVE TO BE SAFER. ACCORDING TO STUDIES THERE’S NO EVIDENCE OF THIS BEING TRUE. IN FACT, STUDIES HAVE NOT BEEN CONCLUSIVE THAT ORGANIC FOODS ARE ANY SAFER THAN CONVENTIONAL FOODS. SO IS BUYING ORGANIC FOODS BUYING MORE SAFETY OR JUST A PEACE OF MIND? I’LL QUOTE FROM ONE STUDY TO ANSWER THIS, “IT IS DIFFICULT, THEREFORE, TO WEIGH THE RISKS, BUT WHAT SHOULD BE MADE CLEAR IS THAT ‘ORGANIC’ DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY EQUAL ‘SAFE.’ ADDITIONAL STUDIES IN THIS AREA OF RESEARCH ARE WARRANTED. AT OUR PRESENT STATE OF KNOWLEDGE, OTHER FACTORS RATHER THAN SAFETY ASPECTS SEEM TO SPEAK IN FAVOR OF ORGANIC FOOD.”
IN CONCLUSION
THERE’S NO SOLID EVIDENCE THAT ORGANIC FOOD IS BETTER FOR YOU OR SAFER, BUT THERE IS MORE EVIDENCE THAT IT’S NOT. IS IT REALLY WORTH THE DIFFERENCE IN FOOD COST WHEN WEIGH OUT THE ONE VERY THIN POSSIBILITY OF IT BEING BETTER FOR YOU? WELL, THAT ALL IS UP TO YOU. IT HAS BEEN PROVEN OVER AND OVER AGAIN THAT THE PLACEBO EFFECT IS QUITE REAL. IF YOU FIRMLY BELIEVE EATING ORGANIC MAKES YOU HEALTHIER, BUILD MUSCLE QUICKER OR LOSE WEIGHT FASTER, THEN NO ARTICLE OR STUDY WILL CONVINCE YOU OTHERWISE. ONE THING IS FOR CERTAIN; EATING ORGANIC ISN’T BAD FOR YOU, SO YOU REALLY CANNOT GO WRONG HAVING IT IN YOUR DIET. SO AGAIN, THE DECISION IS YOURS.