Organic and non-organic foods: know their pros and cons and which is better

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Well-being

oi-Shivangi Karn

The global organic food market has grown significantly over the past few decades, with around € 80 billion spent annually on organic products, according to a study.

A data report from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and IFOAM Organics International showed that there is a 14.7% increase in organic farmland between the year 2014-2015, with a total of about 50.9 million hectares. [1]

Organic vs non-organic food: pros and cons and which is better

The growing popularity of organic foods has led many households to adopt organic produce and meat for their families, in an effort to lead healthy and more active lives. It goes without saying that factors such as personal health and environmental concerns are the main reasons for this change.

Not only is organic food free from artificial plant additives, it’s also grown in a healthy way. Additionally, people believe that organic foods have a higher nutritional profile compared to non-organic foods. But, is it true?

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In this article, we will discuss organic and non-organic foods and which one is better. Looked.

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What is organic food?

Organic food refers to agricultural products and items grown without the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, genetically modified organisms, sewage sludge or radiation. In the case of animals and cattle that produce meat, eggs or dairy products, the term “organic” refers to those that are not given antibiotics or growth hormones.

Simply put, organic food is grown or manufactured in an environmentally friendly way. For example, plants are not treated with toxic substances or harmful chemicals to stimulate growth and genetically modified organisms are not fed to animals and given organic food.

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These strict cultivation and husbandry practices make organic food safer and chemical-free, ensuring the safety of people around the world.

Benefits of organic food

  • According to a study, organic foods contain higher antioxidants, especially polyphenols in organic crops; high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in organic dairy products and improved levels of fatty acids in organic meats. [2]
  • They have lower levels of toxic metals such as cadmium and other harmful chemicals like pesticide residues.
  • Their consumption may reduce exposure to resistant bacteria that have become immune to antibiotics.
  • Organic farming practices can help reduce environmental pollution, improve soil and water quality, and promote natural behavior in livestock.
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    Disadvantages of organic food

    • Not all foods labeled “organic” are considered healthy. For example, if the cookies are made from organically produced flour, with a large amount of organically grown sugar, they would still be unhealthy due to the high sugar, calorie and fat content.
    • Due to its strict agricultural standards, labor-intensive and time-consuming production, post-harvest procedures and accreditation fees, organic food can be more expensive than non-organic food.
    • Although organic foods are safer for consumption due to their cultivation and processing techniques, they contain substances just like traditional or non-organic foods. Thus, conditions such as food allergies can be triggered when consuming organic food, as these factors depend on certain proteins in the food and not artificial chemicals.
    • Organic foods do not lower the risk of some chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, as there is just a small variation in terms of nutrients like protein, fat, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber. Therefore, high consumption of organic food can lead to weight gain, just like high consumption of non-organic food.
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What is non-organic food?

Non-organic foods refer to food products such as fruits, vegetables, and meats that are grown using synthetics such as pesticides, insecticides, and chemical fertilizers. In addition, it includes meat products which are genetically or molecularly modified by producers.

Non-organic foods are grown in non-organic agriculture where the producer can even cross crops to produce high quality fruits and vegetables. However, they are allowed to do so below acceptable levels as per government standards.

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Benefits of non-organic food

  • Using synthetic materials to grow non-organic foods helps prevent the growth of mold and potentially harmful bacteria.
  • Many studies conclude that the nutritional profile of non-organic foods is almost the same as that of organic foods.
  • The levels of pesticides in many non-organically grown fruits and vegetables are limited and pose no threat to human health.
  • Pesticides limited in non-organic food products also do not interfere with the nutritional profile of food products.
  • Inorganic foods ensure high quality, long shelf life and inexpensive food products.
  • Farmers who practice non-organic agriculture ensure the safe and responsible use of pesticides and fertilizers due to government safety thresholds or, for example, using synthetics up to certain levels that do not cause harm to the man.
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    Disadvantages of non-organic foods

    • Long-term consumption of non-organic foods can lead to endocrine problems and neurotoxicity. [3]
    • Long-term use of pesticides can increase the number of bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
    • Pesticides in non-organic foods can increase the risk of certain types of cancer such as leukemia, prostate, lungs, breast, and skin. [4]
    • Inorganic agriculture can increase environmental pollution levels due to pesticide residues.
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What is better?

The evidence for the aforementioned points indicates mixed results. Indeed, suppose a person is allergic to tree nuts, organic and non-organic peanuts can still cause the same level of allergy when consumed.

Plus, the slight difference in the nutritional profile of organic and non-organic foods doesn’t make people always choose one over the other.

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However, after weighing the pros and cons, people can agree that organic foods might be better than non-organic foods as the previous foods are obtained naturally, which will always prove to be beneficial for our health.

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Some important factors to consider

  • Buy fruits and vegetables in their specific season.
  • Try to buy from local farmers.
  • Choose foods from a variety of sources so you won’t be exposed to a single pesticide.
  • Carefully read the ingredients and their amount because some organic foods also contain a high amount of sweeteners, fat, colors, MSG, flavors and calories.
  • Wash food under running water to remove some pesticide particles.
  • Discard the leaves of leafy greens to reduce some contamination.
  • Avoid using poultry or meat products if you notice skin discoloration or skin lesions.
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    Common FAQs

    1. Are organic foods really better for you?

    From one point of view, organic food is actually better for human health. Organic foods are natural, grown without the use of harmful pesticides, and contain more antioxidants and some vitamins and fatty acids than non-organic foods.

    2. How are organic and non-organic foods different?

    Organic foods contain no pesticides, are grown naturally, do not pollute the environment, and contain high levels of macronutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. On the other hand, non-organic foods are grown using pesticides up to certain levels, can pollute the environment with their long-term use, and contain micronutrients such as protein, fat and fiber in almost similar amount. to that of organic foods.

    3. Are organic foods healthier than non-organic foods?

    Researchers are always faced with the dilemma of whether organic food is better or non-organic food. This is because both have advantages and disadvantages. However, organic foods are more important because they are grown naturally and will always be healthy for people when eaten in the right amount.


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