Organic foods are becoming more popular, accompanied by a lot of confusion and misinformation. Many parents buy organic foods for their kids assuming they are healthier – but this is not always the case. Here we break down 4 myths about organic foods.
Myth: Organic foods are healthier than non-organic foods.
Fact: Unhealthy foods are still unhealthy, even if they are organic. Organic fruit snacks, organic granola bars, and organic kids’ yogurts can be very high in sugar – even if it’s organic sugar! Boxed macaroni and cheese, even when labeled organic, is low in fiber and high in salt. It uses organic wheat and organic cheese powder, but these do not necessarily provide better nutrition.
Organic doesn’t mean healthier – so what does it mean? A food labeled “USDA organic” must protect natural resources, conserve biodiversity, and be produced using approved pesticides and insecticides. Studies show organic fruits and vegetables have less pesticide residues on them than non-organic.
Myth: “Organic” food is a trend that will pass, so I don’t need to pay much attention to it.
Fact: The American Academy of Pediatrics has urged pediatricians to talk to parents about the importance of reducing their child’s exposure to pesticides. A child’s liver and kidneys are still developing and are less able to remove toxins like pesticides from their bloodstream. This can put children at risk for harmful effects of toxic pesticides. These include decreased brain function, an increased risk of some cancers, behavioral issues, and lower birth weight.
Myth: Organic foods are higher in nutrients than non-organic foods.
Fact: Studies have shown that all fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants (compounds that protect us from heart disease), but that organic fruits and vegetables have more. On the other hand, organic foods are not higher in vitamins or minerals. This has more to do with the soil the food was grown in, and whether vitamins are added (fortified) to foods like cereal.
Myth: I can’t afford organic fruits and vegetables, and I shouldn’t buy non-organic fruits and vegetables for my kids.
Fact: Most of us don’t get enough fruits and vegetables. Because they are so healthy – preventing constipation, cancer, and heart disease. It’s extremely important to make sure your child gets enough fruits and vegetables, even if you can’t buy organic. Consider choosing organic for those fruits and vegetables highest in pesticide residues.