Is Organic Produce Healthier and Does it Really Matter?

Organic Lychee

Organic Lychee

The web is abuzz with news of a recent meta-study that proves that organic produce is healthier than conventional. The study analyzed from over 300 peer-reviewed articles and found that:

  • Organic crops have lower pesticide residues (the frequency of pesticides in conventional foods was 4 times higher than in organic food)
  • Organic crops are higher in some antioxidants such as phenolic acids, flavanones, stilbenes, flavones, flavonols and anthocyanins. Antioxidants are linked to lower risks of cancer.
  • Organic crops had significantly lower levels of toxic cadmium compared to conventional crops.

So, the question is – should you switch to eating exclusively organic?

The answer is not that simple.

Most people are not eating the right kind of food. Too much meat and fatty dairy, too little plants. Too many processed snacks, too little real foods. Refined sugars and flours instead of whole grains.

These modern eating habits have a much more profound effect on a person’s health than a decision to buy organic produce.

For the majority of the US population, going organic is like doing AP Algebra when you are still struggling with the multiplication table. America needs to start with the basics of eating more vegetables and less junk food.

Don’t get us wrong, the organic movement is super important. It does matter: sustainability, animal welfare, reduction of pesticide and hormone use are all important on a regional, national, and global level.

It’s just that “organic” sometimes blinds people as to what they can do to improve their diets. There’s a lot you can do to eat healthier, starting with conventional foods. For example, if you think you need more antioxidants – just eat more fruits and vegetables.

What to do at the supermarket:

If you can afford organic produce, enjoy!

If not, don’t use that as an excuse not to buy conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.

If $10 can get you only 2 lbs. of organic produce, but 6 lbs. of conventional, you know what we recommend.

Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses – Journal of Nutrition – June 2014

  • MartinCoady

    A tomato is a tomato. However, a tomato with residual pesticide is different from a tomato without residual pesticide. Both are vastly different from canned tomatoes or jarred marinara sauce. The processed food probably provides more calories for the purchaser’s dollar than the produce, but then most of the population does not seem to have a problem obtaining sufficient calories. The article is right on target. Eat whole foods. Organic is nice but not necessary.

  • Adrian
  • Csillagfeny

    Learn about “dirty dozen” and “clean fifhteen”!Dirty dozen should be organic!If you want to avoid GMOs only ORGANIG to buy!Expensive?Have you priced cancer lately?Money to the farmers,not to the hospitals!

  • timlockk

    Excellent article. I tell my patients the same thing. Start eating more whole foods, then switch to organic if/when you’re able to. The important thing is to start making healthy food choices.

  • 4theluv

    I think this article nails it. I’m not a big believer in the organic foods, the GMO worries, or other such things BUT if that’s what it takes for some folks to eat whole foods I am all for it. Likewise, this article, pro or con Organics (there’s a statement that some things are better with Organics, and some things not, but no discussion of the correlation of those items to health) it strikes the tone that even if Organics are the cat’s meow, just getting folks to eat whole foods is itself the cat even if it’s a silent purr.

  • Karrina

    Yees, these are the articles I like from fooducate!

  • Karrina

    What I want to know though is what the heck is that picture of..

    • Fooducate


    • timlockk

      If you’ve never eaten Lychee, you’re missing out. Go out and get some Karrina!

      • Karrina

        Oh okay! I hope it tastes better than it looks hahah

  • Corey Rowland

    Definitely agree with this. It’s always good to get organic when it’s available and affordable but it’s absolutely more important to focus on eating real food first. Some foods are definitely known to be worse when conventionally grown, like greens and things with thin skins like apples and potatoes.

  • Danni

    I agree!!!! Too many people do not know the truth !

  • mfp142

    Organic produce is too expensive for me 90% of the time, so I started growing my own. For $10 I can grow an acres worth of produce :0)

  • Teresa Harris

    I disagree fresh,and pesticide free is better,for the obese people all over the world.I believe here in Texas is the best place to buy fresh,produce fruit and vegetables,at any local farmers market. Cheaper than big grocery stores.I believe people get themselves ,in a comfort zone, and refuse to change,and/or hates change.The reality is 2 choices,one decision to LIVE OR DIE?Please forgive me If I have Offended anyone,but the truth really HURTS.

  • Teresa Harris

    Everyone in the world today,seems to have forgotten common sense.Nobody wants to be obese and unhappy,the world is very mean,and judgemental,but there is only one judge,and it is not my place,to explain it.Relationship with Jesus Christ is vitally important,for your family,friends,coworkers,sisters and brothers in CHRIST.We must become “ONE NATION UNDER GOD” again.

    • Widdy

      Shut the fuck up about your imaginary god. This is about food, grown by humans.

      • H2O

        Dose God make you that upset, that you have to get nasty ??? Hope everything gets better for you..

  • Teresa Harris

    IAgree have a garden,in your backyard,and your problem will be solved.Our land at home,is very rich soil,water,sun,seeds,low maintenance,and perfect,you have fresh veggies and fruits.Have your own herb garden,too.The first thing is GOD IS LOVE,Embrace mother nature,and show the LOVE.

    • H2O

      Yes food should be a blessing

  • Sharon

    As a math teacher I feel compelled to point out that there is no such thing as “AP algebra.”

    • Fooducate

      What is it called these days?

    • timlockk

      Haha, busted.

    • Ash

      Are you sure they don’t have it in some states? I know they have all kinds of ap classes including ap stats and ap calc

  • jfigj

    America. .. what a great place where you have can be fat, unhealthy, and diseased, for low cost! But if you wanna be healthy it’ll cost you a fortune! ! Shouldn’t it be revised! !?? make your self sick…but do it on your own dime!!!

  • vacuumation

    After the most recent recall of organic produce due to a Listeria warning, I’m officially done buying ONLY organic fruits & veggies. The concern of buying only organic produce isn’t just a financial one, but a potential health problem as well. Those pesticides and chemicals used in harvesting fruits & veggies is done to protect the produce from harmful bacteria, viruses and pathogens that can come up not only when growing the items but along the way during the manufacturing process.

    I now buy ‘regular’ produce, but wash them thoroughly with TJ’s compound purports to clean the item from any chemical residues.

  • Laura Miller Soderberg

    You know what? You asked a simple question then convoluted it with your pompous preaching about the average person and their poor diet choices. Thanks for wasting my time, while you metaphorically self preened and similtaneously lectured us philistines! Ugh!
    If you just wanted to read your own brilliance, get a journal!

    To everyone else who wants what was promised in the article’s title, here is is:

    Now, go make your own healthy choices free from judgement – you fabulous, brilliant human beings!