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Organic Food

Posted by bmagnus On June - 5 - 2009

There’s been a lot of buzz about organic food. Organic food has in a few short decades gone from a small movement of tiny farms and stores to a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Simply put, organic refers to certain strict standards of production: fruits and vegetables raised without artificial pesticides and fertilizers; farm animals fed a healthy diet, raised without antibiotics and extra growth hormones.

There are advantages to choosing organic foods over conventionally grown foods. Organic farms are usually smaller, and designed to have a reduced impact on the environment. There is no risk of ingesting the chemicals used on a conventional farm from organic food. Some research suggests that organic food has higher levels of some nutrients than their conventionally grown equivalents (this point is controversial, and often disputed).

However, many people have the idea that organic food is lower in calories than conventional food. Nothing could be further from the truth!

While the research is inconclusive on whether organic food has more nutrients, no research anywhere suggests that organic food has fewer calories. Drinking an 8 oz. glass of organic whole milk is the same 147 calories as an 8 oz. glass of conventional whole milk. Calories still matter.

Switching to organic products may be a good move for your nutrition and the environment, but it won’t help you lose weight.

His Take: While this might seem obvious, the number of times I have encountered this confusion in my day-to-day medical practice indicates that it bears repeating here. Eating organic is good idea from the standpoints of sustainability, general nutrition and avoiding chemicals such as pesticides. Even with all this goodness, the rules of moderation and, unfortunately, calorie counting still apply.

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