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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Is Organic Really Better?

USDA Organic LogoIs anyone else confused about whether to buy organic or conventional food? With all of the conflicting information about whether organic or conventional food is better for you, it’s hard to know what to think! Read on for insight on the organic vs. conventional debate.

What is the difference?

The main difference between organic and conventional foods is the amount of pesticides and fertilizer used. Organic foods use small amounts of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved chemicals (and mostly natural), and some farms don’t use any at all. Conventional foods use larger amounts.

The main benefit to eating organic is environmental. Organic farms, and therefore foods, are better for the earth and aid in sustainability. Most organic farm soil has more nutrition, which could add more nutrients to the foods.

Is it good to buy conventional foods?

Though organic foods are good for your body, there are also benefits of buying conventional foods.

Conventional food benefits include:

  • less spray use than in the past
  • capable of mass-production and feeding the entire nation
  • less expensive

So what would you choose? I have found that buying a mix of organic and conventional is the way to go. Buying 100 percent organic can be costly, and there are many conventional foods that are just great to eat as their organic counterparts are! If you’re trying to be conscious of the organic foods that you buy, follow the Dirty Dozen list. Established by the Environmental Working Group, the Dirty Dozen lists the foods that contain the most chemical residue.

The Dirty Dozen list includes:

  • strawberries
  • peaches
  • apples
  • sweet bell peppers
  • celery
  • nectarines
  • cherries
  • pears
  • grapes
  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • potatoes

The Environmental Working Group has also established the Clean 15 fruits and vegetables that have the least chemical residue. Click here to print the wallet guide of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15.

Organic foods are good for the body and the earth, though conventional foods are still beneficial as well! Choose what fits your lifestyle and needs. Eating a diet rich in whole, fresh foods ensures that you’ll be keeping your body healthy. 

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Tags: Healthy Eating , Nutrition , Nutrition Trends

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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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