In the last decade, organic food has been trending like wildfire—people generally believe that they’re healthier, better and well, cleaner. Any food stamped with the word “organic” is not only reserved for the elites, but also consumed by people who swear by healthier choices.
How true is this? Maybe not very.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s all about marketing, packaging and, to put it bluntly, business.
Why, you might ask. Here are the top five facts about organic food—draw your conclusion yourself, but for us, we’ll rather spend our money on a gym membership than overpriced organic food!
But of course, it’s still healthier than instant noodles lah. Just watch through this video and you’ll know how much sodium you’re downing when you have a pack of instant noodles:
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Now, coming back to organic food…
1. What is organic food?
Most food we consume, from fruits to meat, comes from farms. Usually, these farms grow their fruits or vegetables in an environment that is pretty much free from pesticides, and for meat, the animals are not injected or fed with antibiotics (to prevent them from getting sick) or growth hormones (to make them grow faster).
And that’s what organic foods are: the crops and animals grow “organically” without any external human influences. Think of these foods that come from a jungle instead of a farm.
So if you think organic food helps in weight loss, you’re completely wrong. They don’t. They’re just grown in a completely natural environment, so the calories and nutrition in them are still the same as non-organic food.
2. Then are there absolutely no pesticides on organic food?
To be precise, they’re pesticide residues (you can’t expect farmers to spray pesticides to the entire farm, right?). Anyway, that’s not true; studies show that in organic foods, there are still 7% of pesticide resides, although conventional food has 38%.
However, all imported food pass a test to show that they’re safe to consume. Which leads to the next question…
3. Is organic food therefore healthier?
There have been a number of studies made on this, and these may surprise you. Firstly, researchers have realized that there’s not much difference in the nutritional value (why would there be?!), potential allergic reactions (pesticide residues on fruits? They’ll all have been washed away when you wash them before consumption) and they taste similar to conventional food.
Also, researchers found that there has been no evidence that organic food can improve health or lower the risk of any disease. These are the short-term results, through—for long-term, as organic food is pretty new, there has not been any results.
4. Why is organic food more expensive then?
You see, for crops to grow without direct use of pesticides, farmers will have to use more resources to prevent bugs from spoiling the crops. Also, for meat, farmers need longer time for the animals to grow. In other words, it’s more expensive because they take more resources to create—not because they’re healthier.
5. Even with lesser chemicals, the food is still not “completely clean” as they are transported from the farm to the markets
Imagine an organic apple travelling from Australia to Singapore. Now, it has to go through so many hands, so many lorry trips and a flight. And more lorry trips. And also touches from your kids. Known as food mile, this distance itself will contaminate even the “cleanest” food in the world.
Therefore, it has always been suggested that we should buy organic food locally, which kind of make organic food so attractive in other countries as the food mile is a lot shorter. But in Singapore? How can you grow food in Singapore when we don’t even have enough space to eat? The solution?
Wash your food (and hands) before cooking. That’s the healthier choice, and it’s proven by science, doctors and parents!
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