A lot of our food supply is tainted with hormones, chemicals, pesticides, and other harmful substances. In response, many foods are now touted as “organic,” “GMO-free,” and the like. However, these labels alone don’t make a food “healthy.” I’ve seen many people buy organic versions of unhealthy foods for themselves (or their kids), thinking they are eating healthier. Understand that eating healthy requires more than relying on an “organic” or “healthy” label on food packaging. You need to actually look at what you are eating.
Organic junk food is still junk food.
You or someone you know is probably guilty of buying the organic version of junk food, thinking it is healthier. I’ve seen parents stock their pantries with organic cookies, juices, cereals, and crackers for their kids. Yes, the products may contain less toxic or harmful ingredients, but are still unhealthy for you (or your kids) overall. For instance, in eating organic Newman-O’s instead of Oreos, you are still ingesting sugar and other ingredients that offer little to no nutritional value (See our earlier article about avoiding sugar.). I’m not bashing on Newman-O’s, but on the idea that buying organic versions of unhealthy foods will make or keep you healthy.
You may recall the sugar-free craze a couple of decades ago. People would eat sugar-free ice cream, cakes, and cookies without restraint, because they believed they had a free pass to stay thin. As history showed, this way of thinking was flawed, and people still gained weight and developed health problems. Buying “organic” or other “healthy” food labels won’t by itself keep you healthy. Rather, you need to avoid unhealthy food products period, whether they are organic or not!
Organic matters if the rest of your diet is clean.
By no means am I saying never to buy organic junk food. If you eat healthy at least 70% of the time, then buying organic junk food can matter. Since my diet is mostly clean, I can usually feel the difference between eating foods with quality versus crap ingredients. However, if your diet is mostly unhealthy and non-organic, then buying organic cookies probably won’t matter overall. Your body is probably already full of accumulated toxins and harmful substances or their effects. Again, I’m not against people with unhealthy diets buying organic junk food. Having less toxins and chemicals in your body is better than more. Rather, my focus is on people who buy organic junk food and presume it’s healthy because of the label. For instance, the mom who buys all organic snacks for her kid to eat “healthy,” but doesn’t actually prescribe a healthy diet.
Look at ingredient labels.
Pay attention to what you are actually consuming and don’t rely on labels like “healthy,” “organic,” or “all-natural.” For instance, a popsicle that says “made from real fruit juice” doesn’t mean the product contains no harmful ingredients. Ditto with soups that say “healthy,”but are full of unhealthy additives, oils, or MSG. Almost any substance can be touted as “natural” (e.g. lead), but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you.
Going back to the sugar-free craze, people just looked at the “sugar-free” label and paid no attention to the actual ingredients. They didn’t see that the baked goods contained harmful ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils, processed flours, food coloring, and preservatives. Same could be true here. Be an informed consumer and take time to look at food ingredients. Having a pantry and fridge stocked with “organic,” “GMO-free,” “all natural” products doesn’t necessarily mean you are eating healthy unless the ingredients actually are healthy for you.