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Doc Talk: Organic Foods

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Whether or not to eat organic seems to be an ongoing debate. Organic food is definitely more expensive, but determining whether it’s healthier is hard to do.

A walk through the grocery store is no longer as simple as it used to be. Now it seems there are two of everything. Next to bananas are organic bananas, and next to lettuce is organic lettuce -- The list goes on and on. Holy Spirit dietitian Sadia Shaukat explained to CBS 21 what makes a food “organic.”

“Organically produced and the ingredients grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, seaweed sludge, genetically modified organism or ionized ingredients,” said Holy Spirit dietitian Sadia Shaukat.

The term “organic” can also be applied to food that comes from animals.

“Animals that produce meat, poultry, egg and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones,” said Shaukat.

Many assume that because organic foods are “cleaner,” they’re also healthier and therefore worth the extra cost. But according to Shaukat, that’s not necessarily true.

“Research has not shown any significant nutritional differences between conventionally grown and organic food.”

She says “cleaner” does not necessarily mean “healthier.” That said, buying and eating organic is worth it if your goals are to eliminate extra chemicals put in your food.

“If your goal is to limit your exposure to pesticides, antibiotics and hormones or if you have concerns about environmental impact, look for organic labels on food,” said Shaukat.

But if your goal is simply to make sure you’re eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day or to ensure you’re getting nutrients from your food, Shaukat says any of the non-organic foods will do just fine.

Shaukat also uses the term “Dirty Dozen” to refer to the twelve fruits and vegetables that contain more pesticide residue compared to other fruits and vegetables. To find out what those are, Holy Spirit Hospital is hosting a “Dirty Dozen” workshop on Saturday, April 22nd from 9:30am to 10:00am.

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