Healthy Eating: Does Organic Pay?


Healthy eating is critical for healthy weights, but it sure can get confusing just what healthy eating is sometimes.  One example:  I’ve always been kind of on the fence about organic foods.  On the one hand, fruits and veggies grown with pesticides often look better than the organic variety.  And, of course, they cost less.  But the mother in me wonders whether feeding my kids (and myself) the pesticide version is really good for them (me).

“Expert” advice often doesn’t reassure me that much.  Maybe it’s because the advice changes according to the expert.  But I look for reassurance where I can get it.  The nutritionist at my trusted coop recently published an article talking about the science and concluded that produce grown with pesticides is safe and encouraged eating a wide variety of vegetables for health and healthy weights.

But I really appreciated the article by Consumer Reports titled “When buying organic pays (and doesn’t).”  It categorizes foods into “buy these items organic as often as possible,” “Buy these items organic if price is no object,” and “Don’t bother buying these items organic.”  It uses some clear science – USDA lab testing results – for categorizing produce and some logical thinking to sort out other foods.

I will weigh in with the coop nutritionist and say that I believe eating plenty and a wide variety of vegetables are more important to health than whether they’re organic or not. But sometimes the details can make us feel better psychologically and maybe even physically.

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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