Part 2: Food quality – When and When Not to Buy Organic Food

Following on from last week’s blog, Revolutionising Breakfast, I want to share with you another invaluable piece of information that I have learnt during the last 6months. Take a good look around your local supermarket these days and you’ll undoubtedly see the label ‘organic’ tagged onto thousands of items, often trying to entice us health conscious shoppers into buying the more expensive yet surely better version of certain foods, right?

Sure enough some foods are most definitely of better quality when grown organic, but actually for many others there is very little, if any, discernable difference compared to standard varieties. With this being said, it is unfortunate that very few people actually know which foods are important to buy organic and which are not, and even fewer than that know the reasons why. Below are some guidelines and tips for choosing whether to buy organic or not.

organic

Fruit

When considering fruit, a lot of attention should be paid to the characteristics of the food itself.

Times when you should buy organic:

  • When the fruit is very delicate
  • When the fruit has a very thin skin
  • When the fruit is likely to have been subjected to a lot of chemicals
  • Examples: All types of Berries & Apples

Why? – When fruits have a particularly thin & delicate skin/surface( raspberries for example), they are much more prone to absorbing the pesticides & other nasty chemicals that are sprayed on them during growth  we want to avoid this at all costs, so hence buying organic varieties where no/less harmful chemicals are used is highly beneficial).

Times not to worry about it:

  • When the fruit is particularly tough
  • When it has a very thick skin
  • Examples, Kiwi, Mangoes, Pineapples

Why? – Fruits with a much thicker skin, such as kiwi’s, are far more resistant to harsh chemicals due to their thick & though outer surface which leaves the flesh inside relatively untouched & unaffected by pesticides and thus very similar in quality to organically grown varieties.

* Vegetables are much the same, if they are to be skinned before use & have a particularly strong, impregnable skin, non-organic will be fine. However in the most part, many vegetables are eaten whole & therefore organic varieties are likely to be better options as they will not have been exposed to the same chemicals.

Meat & Produce

If you eat meat or produce, such as eggs or butter, you should also be aware of that organic quality is of differing importance dependent on the food of choice.

When to buy organic (& grass fed):

  • When the meat or produce has a particularly high fat content.
  • Examples: Beef, Lamb, Butter, Eggs

Why? – Animals that are not raised in an ‘organic’ fashion tend to be fed either grain or more artificial type foods, coupled to this they often do not have chance to run around freely. This combination of factors, especially the poor quality feed, leads to a build-up of harmful toxins in the animals body, which are primarily stored in fat cells. Therefore any fatty meats or produce from animals raised in this way will contain a lot of toxins (which we want to avoid!). Conversely, organically raised, grass fed animals who are free to move around, do not accumulate these toxins in the same way, and so are a much better choice at this time.

When not to worry:

  • When fat content is particularly low
  • Examples: Chicken, Turkey

Why? – Admittedly it would most likely be slightly better to still buy organic for lean meats but it is far less important than when considering fattier foods. Whilst grain-fed, non-organically raised animals will still accumulate some toxins, there is much, much less fat present in their bodies & so far less toxins can be stored. In addition to this, when cooking these, especially if grilling or baking, fat tends to run out of these foods, leaving them essentially toxin free.

 

Hopefully this blog has proved useful and insightful, I think that knowledge of nutrition is key to health and performance and so am always looking to better my understanding of everything that has potential benefit. Eating organic all the time may be the very best option all things being equal, but for those of us who are looking to protect our money as well as our health I think the guidance that I’ve laid out above can prove very useful!

Feel free to post any questions below and be sure to check back next week for the next instalment

Cheers 🙂

 

 

 

 

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About Roy Barber

‘I am aspiring athlete and fitness enthusiast, currently studying Sport and Exercise Science at Loughborough University, widely regarded as the best course of its type in Europe. I am currently a 3 time County Athletics gold medallist over the sprint disciplines at junior level and am working hard every single day to continually improve myself mentally, physically and athletically. With a great passion for all things fitness and sport, I hope over the coming years to forge a successful and fruitful career in sport, dealing with a variety of aspects such as strength and conditioning, nutrition and recovery. ‘ ‘I ended up at Loughborough studying what I am because I’ve known for a few years now if I was going to go to university, sports science was the degree for me, I’ve always loved sport, PE and learning about all the different areas of science in relation to the human body so it was a natural move for me. In terms of why Loughborough specifically, I always heard great things about the university, I had a relative who came here and loved it, and I was incredibly impressed with the campus when I came on an open day and fell in love with the place. Who inspires me to compete is a more difficult question, I’d have to start by saying my coach who has done a fantastic job in turning me into a 'proper athlete'. I am also inspired by a range of people in my life, from world class athletes to friends and family. Roy Barber is 20 years old and comes from a small Leicestershire town called Market Harborough
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