By: Gabrielle Deveaux, RD (Registered Dietitian)
Organic foods are commonly purchased due to the belief that they are superior to conventional foods. But are organic foods actually healthier? This week, Mint Nutrition Clinic is focusing on this topic. Read what our registered dietitian (nutritionist thinks about organic foods below).
Unlike conventional foods, organic foods are grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and antibiotics. It is important to note that organic foods may be grown with pesticides that are natural (i.e. not man-made). However, both organic and conventional foods are tested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to ensure that they are safe to eat, and there is no strong evidence that the pesticides or GMOs in our food have negative health effects. Although organic foods may have less pesticide residue when purchased, it is always recommended to wash fruits and vegetables before eating them to remove leftover pesticides and foreign material.
In terms of nutritional value, few studies have shown that organic produce may be slightly higher in some nutrients, but lower in others. Overall, this is a minimal difference that does not offer a meaningful advantage.
Therefore, organic foods are not necessarily healthier than conventional foods. They are likely not worth the higher price tag, unless it is a personal decision. Eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, and other food groups is the healthiest option.
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Dietitians of Canada. (2014). Are Organic Foods Better for My Health? Retrieved from https://www.dietitians.ca/.../Organic-foods-are-they-better.aspx
Unlock Food. (2018). Understanding Organic Foods. Retrieved from https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Farming-Food-production/Organic-Foods-and-Growing-Methods-FAQ.aspx