Social Question

Jude's avatar

I'm thinking about switching and buying all organic products. Does it pay to buy organic?

Asked by Jude (31977 points ) January 25th, 2010

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50 Answers

trailsillustrated's avatar

I buy em- I think the produce is just better, and I wanted eggs and chickens like the ones back in australia- bright orange, (they don’t allow caged raised poultry there) and I think it’s just better. It’s also more expensive unless you go to a farmer’s market

janbb's avatar

If money is a consideration, it is not necessary to buy all organic products. There aee some foods in which it makes more of a difference than others: here is one list. If you google “most important organic products”, you will find several other relevant discussions.

ru2bz46's avatar

I worry more about processed vs unprocessed. The closer I can get to the source of the food, the less chance of somebody getting a bunch of crap into my diet.

That said, we are what we eat, and the same goes for the plants and animals that we eat. If the plants are grown with chemicals, they contain those chemicals in their makeup, and as we consume those plants, so do we. The same goes for our food animals. For me, I PREFER to eat organic, but I’m not going to go nuts if the available food is not organic. Many studies show there is no nutritional difference between organic and non-organic, so the main consideration for you is, “Do I really want to eat that cucumber after it’s been sucking up that contaminated water?”

VanCityKid's avatar

I’ve been perfectly fine living on inorganic food. It certainly does make YOU pay to do it. I wouldn’t. Sounds like another giant rip off to me.

forestGeek's avatar

I try to buy organic as much as possible. I am not sure if it really actually pays as only time can tell, but I personally feel that when it comes to my health it’s worth giving myself something I feel is better. I generally feel that the less nasty chemicals I put in my body, or we use on this earth, the better.

As for the money end of it, it’s always amazed me how many people don’t want to pay for organic, or even better quality food for their health, but will stop at nothing for the best home theater systems, video gaming consoles, cars, computers, etc. It seems worth it to spend a little more on my health, and less on frivolous things.

kevbo's avatar

Here’s a concise summary of conscientious and healthy food consumption practices from
someone who has done a thorough job of investigating human use, abuse and intervention in the food chain.

Food Rules

It’s $5 at amazon.com.

From the book: “We now have a body of research supporting the hypothesis… that soils rich in organic matter produce more nutritious food… of course, after a few days riding cross-country the nutritional quality of any kind of produce will deteriorate, so ideally you want to eat food that is both organic and local.”

[back to my opinion] Generally, certified organic is better, but that designation sort of got hijacked by agribusiness in its creation. You may find local, smaller growers that have better organic produce but never bothered with the bureaucracy of certification.

phil196662's avatar

It totally is a benefit to get organic, your health is better and the taste is too!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I think it’s worth it, not ingesting all the chemicals and hormones. I raise organic crops on my farm (at least my property manager does). There is also a certain je ne sais quoi, love? that goes into the process that adds something to the product. Also buying locally, in season benefits the local economy and helps with land conservation.

kidkosmik's avatar

This is definitely a tough choice as of late. Over the past year I have been slowly moving away from certain foods and actively looking at labels. To me, a particular food product doesn’t need to be organic, just not full of crap. The satisfaction I get from buying organic is not from the taste (negligible) but from knowing that it’s not genetically modified, chemically treated, or packed with preservatives.

kevbo's avatar

@kidkosmik, not to be a Debbie Downer, but avoiding GMOs is getting less and less feasible. Link

gor_p's avatar

The “pay off” for buying organic is impossible to measure since your overall health is affected by so much crap. Unfortunately there’s just not any evidence.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

In the US, under the present FDA guidelines concerning the term “organinc,” buying organic is like buying a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. You are best off buying at a local farmer’s market from local producers with good reps that can tell you how they grow their products.

Ruallreb8ters's avatar

I think you should always buy organic. Not because of the heath benifits but because organic farms are the return of the mom and pop farmers. It gives them a chance to actually make a living running a small operation. If more people would buy organic it would put an end to corrupt corporations like Monsanto.

eponymoushipster's avatar

i do organic dairy, because i dont want the hormones,etc. i notice a different taste, and not in a bad sense either. and i feel better physically when i drink it.

i try to do organic, non-hormone meat, but it can be cost restrictive at times.

the veggies are pretty good, obviously.

kidkosmik's avatar

@kevbo No worries. After watching Food Inc I learned that as well. It’s sad really, the food industry giants have so much power. The fact that companies have patents on seeds is absolutely mind boggling to me and enraging.

casheroo's avatar

I would do at least the dirty dozen.

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/13737389/page/2/

That article gives you a good overlay of whats a good idea to buy organic and what is pointless.

tinyfaery's avatar

I buy organic, but eat out a lot. Unless you are going to eat out very infrequently it might not be worth it. I just like to waste my money.

philosopher's avatar

I buy only organic milk. I eat only organic or minimally processed Chicken, and wild fish.
I buy organic vegetables and fruit when possible. Do not eat foods with hormones in them. Eat only natural cold cuts. Applegate Farms is organic and very good .Do not consume nitrate’s or trans fats.

Qboy1994's avatar

the only thing i can say is that the organic stuff is more healthier then regular crap,but i cant afford organic stuff.

YARNLADY's avatar

I buy organic from the Farmer’s Market as much as I can, but not the supermarket – I don’t trust them to have local, truly organic. The legal definition does not come close enough to the actual meaning.

fundevogel's avatar

Without better regulation there is no way to be sure if your organic tomatoes are better for the environment let alone for you (assuming you wash your non organic produce). Certainly it is better not to use pesticides for the environment, but if produce has to be trucked across the country the transportation is still going to add up to pollution. Buying local is certainly a good option, but aside from knowing it’s local you still don’t know much about that tomato. Because an organic label doesn’t give you much information organic is essentially an unquantifiable buzzword and more likely an exercise in slacktivism than actual positive improvement. Sorry.

There isn’t some sort of innate unhealthiness associated with modifying food. People have been genetically engineering food since before they knew about genes. Anyone that thinks nature can’t be improved on needs to stick to wild bananas and leave all of the bananas people bred to be delicious to me. But dramatics aside, both GMOs and the GMOs you don’t think are GMOs (since they’ve been around so long that you don’t remember them being modified) can be healthy or unhealthy. It’s the content of the food that counts, not how it came to be. The only difference is that the GMOs you don’t consider GMOs have been around so long we are sure of their safety. We’ve been eating them for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. The new GMOs need to be tested to assure their quality and safety where the old GMOs have already been tested and approved countless generations ago, albeit in a less formal and academic setting.

Certainly some new GMOs won’t be good to eat, that’s why their production and testing is regulated to ensure unsafe GMOs aren’t approved for sale. Their safety (or lack of it) comes down to the molecules, proteins and amino acids in each individual food. Each needs to evaluated individually to really judge the safety of a food. And that is something you and I are not able to do—unless you’re chemist with knowledge in this field and the appropriate resources at your disposal. Most of us aren’t. Fortunately for those of us that don’t have PhDs in chemistry GMOs are regulated and evaluated before they get to our supermarket shelves. Unless you have good reason to suspect that your country’s food regulatory agency is not doing their job you shouldn’t have to worry.

@casheroo—thanks for posting the dirty dozen, that is the best reason I’ve seen for purchasing organic.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

Yes, Organic is so much better and in many ways than just more vitamins and minerals, without pesticides, GMO, etc…

But there’s still many other ways we can lessen the value of our organic foods. If you microwave it. If you put chemical laden flavored sauces all over it.

It’s hard to keep the integrity of nutrition like the olden days.
And FDA approved does not necessarily mean it’s good for you.

fundevogel's avatar

@OneMoreMinute – Oh yes the good ol days. Pray tell which good ol days? Are we looking at the scurvy and rickets days of people being unable to get fruits and vegetables on a reliable basis, the days of London where gin was easier, cheaper and more readily procured than food or when poor storage and refrigeration made cooking a daily necessity and leftovers a bad word. Maybe you mean the time when bacon and eggs were breakfast every day and people had nothing else to do but grow their own food, which was fortunate since it was a full time job.

No thank you. I like cooking, but I’m not about to return to even the most rosy and idyllic fantasy of history let alone actual history. Make no mistake, for whatever misstep science makes we are infinitely better off than our ancestors.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

@fundevogel The good old days of pure natural soil, water and air. Without pollution, chemical pesticides,
free range birds and animals, ....in general….
hey, nice organic mustache on the avatar!!! ;-)

fundevogel's avatar

@OneMoreMinute – Pre-pollution was nice, but those times were hardly healthy. You’re talking pre industrialization which started in the early to mid 1800’s. Unfortunately for people living at the time medical care was the pits and people worked hard dangerous lives, even if they breathed better air and ate better food they paid for it with the incredible strain non industrialized living put on them. And you’ve overlooked the fact that good food is only good if you can get it, something that was profoundly more difficult prior to fast shipping, and dependable preservation and storage methods. As pure as your fresh veggies are you’ll still suffer nutrient deficiency in the winter if there simply aren’t any fresh vegetables to be had.

The average life expectancy in 1820 in England was 41 years, that was a decent increase from the life expectancy back in 1700 of 37 but abysmal compared to modern health standards. Sad as it is that the industrialization came with such a steep cost to the environment it wasn’t until after humans had already started spewing pollutants into the air that significant headway was made in improving quality and duration of human life. Sanitation was certainly pursued because the consequences of industrialization and urbanization made it all too obvious that the status quo was not acceptable. Once the 20th century dawned life expectancy had risen to 50, which was nice. And now, in spite of the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, we live longer, healthier lives than humans ever have. Life expectancy in the UK is currently 79 years, a whopping 38 years (or one 18th century life span) longer than during the pre-industrial age you idealize.

more info
life expectancy by country

mattbrowne's avatar

Depends. High-glycemic organic food can still be a problem.

philosopher's avatar

@mattbrowne
Hi I am on the same page as you. The problem is most people do not know this. When I try to explain they usually stare. I don’t waste my time.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

@fundevogel Wow, the “Good ‘Ol Days” were maybe not so good ‘ol after all!
I have deleted that term from my vocabulary!
But, I don’t delete eating “Good ‘Ol Organic” It tastes better, and is better, and doesn’t hurt the land, your health and vitality.
Thanks to all the Organic Farmers out there!!!

ru2bz46's avatar

@mattbrowne Is high-glycemic organic food any different from high-glycemic regular food?

philosopher's avatar

A low glycemic diet means that you consume mostly fruit and vegetables and Little saturated fat.
I believe what Matt is referring to. Is that it is not OK to for example to consume a whole box of organic cookies per day or foods like that.
To keep a low glycemic diet you also want to reduce excess sugar in take. I eat sweet fruit but rarely indulge in baked goods. Fruit has fiber and which slows down the absorption of the sugar in fruit.
I avoid excess complex carbohydrates . I eat multi grain bread, whole what pasta and sweeten my coffee with Agave.

ru2bz46's avatar

@philosopher I noticed you use agave. I’ve tried it, and it’s very good; to me, it tastes just like honey. I eat honey since I get it free from my sister’s bees. All my vegan friends eat agave due its “veganness”. Are there any other advantages to agave over honey?

philosopher's avatar

@ru2bz46
I use agave because it is a natural substance from a plant. I believe it is easily metabolized. I am unsure about honey.
It is important not to use simple sugars or manufactured sugars like Sweet and Low because they slow down your Metabolism. Anything which our bodies do not know what to do with slow down digestion and get stored as fat.
I learned much by reading Ultra Metabolism by Dr. Mark Hyman.
I use honey in tea when I am sick. At least it is natural.

ru2bz46's avatar

@philosopher Honey also has antibacterial properties, so it’s potentially great for certain types of topical illness issues.

philosopher's avatar

@ru2bz46
Yes I am aware of that. I would use honey over sugar. It is unnatural products I avoid.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

Wild, raw, unprocessed honey is theeee best for your health.
Probably not so for glycemically challenged..

Jude's avatar

I’m starting by picking up some organic natural peanut butter. That’s the kind where you stir it up (99% roasted peanuts and a dash of salt. That’s it. No preservatives, no added sugar and no extra oils). I tried it at my girlfriend’s and it was pretty good. I love having peanut butter on my toast or on a toasted bagel in the morning. I’m also going to switch to organic fruit. That’ll be a start.

Thanks for your responses, jellies. I’m going to read up on it more and check out some of your links (I haven’t had time, but, I will).

casheroo's avatar

@jmah There are a few products that I just can’t buy organic or natural. That’s my peanut butter, and syrup….I can’t stand straight maple syrup. I like the artery clogging kind. ;)

philosopher's avatar

@casheroo
Have you ever tried almond butter ? It is delicious and richer in Omega 3 than peanut butter.

fundevogel's avatar

@casheroo 100% with you on those two. I can’t abide the way organic peanutbutter separates and real syrup makes everything too soggy. Though if is delicious in a Jean Gabin.

ru2bz46's avatar

@casheroo & @fundevogel I get my peanut butter and almond butter from Winco (don’t know if they’re in your area) from their nut grinders. They have hoppers full of nuts and grind them fresh into the bucket. Store them in the fridge, and there is no separation. I don’t think the nuts are organic, but WTF? It’s the freshest nut butter you can get.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ru2bz46 – You asked, Is high-glycemic organic food any different from high-glycemic regular food?

The carbohydrates as such are basically the same (enzymes in our digestive systems work very fast). The issue is how did farmers plant and harvest the wheat or the potatoes for example.

Organic foods are made according to certain production standards. Under organic production, the use of conventional non-organic pesticides, insecticides and herbicides is greatly restricted and saved as a last resort.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_food

So it’s about pesticide-free, insecticide-free and herbicide-free high-glycemic food.

mattbrowne's avatar

@philosopher – There’s one case when high-glycemic food makes a lot of sense: prolonged exercise. For example pedaling your bike up a mountain. Then it might not necessarily be a good idea to just eat lentils and black beans and fruits. Or try to get all the energy out of proteins.

philosopher's avatar

@mattbrowne
I agree with you but I have seen people over do it on complex carbohydrates and use working out as an excuse; than they stop working out and continue the carbs. The next thing they ask me is. Why did I get so fat ?

ru2bz46's avatar

@mattbrowne The point I was making is the same as @philosopher in his/her most recent comment. The question was about organic vs non-organic, so I just wanted to make sure you didn’t have some secret information. ;-)

mattbrowne's avatar

My point was, just switching to organic is not enough to live a healthy live. An overdose of organic potatoes can still make people fat and turn them into adult onset diabetics.

philosopher's avatar

@mattbrowne
That was my point too.

zzc's avatar

One way to save money, is to buy organic when you are eating the outer part too, like strawberries. If the outside is to be removed, like bananas, it doesn’t have to be organic. Meat that comes from stock given antibiotics, just to keep them healthy, can contribute to the development of Superbugs, immune to our present antibiotics. I’m with the person that wants to avoid foods that come from sources that were given hormones too.

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