If you are one of the many people who have picked up a piece of fruit in the organic area of the grocery store, you may have thought that doing so would help improve your overall health. If you haven’t, then you might be one of those people who do not realize that the health benefits of eating organic outweigh the higher cost.
What if those benefits also included weight loss? Going organic may impact your weight-loss efforts. However, making the choice to go organic is entirely up to you.
Does More Nutrients Mean Better Weight?
Experts have been debating over the years whether or not organic foods are actually more nutritious. Studies have shown that the average organic food item has a higher concentration of antioxidants than non-organic food items.
Even though an organic fruit and a non-organic fruit might both have the same amount of antioxidants and vitamins, the organic fruit is smaller, which means it has more of both per ounce.
What is the reason for the difference in size? Organic fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen is expensive and organic farmers cannot afford to over-fertilize crops the same way non-organic farmers can. Nitrogen does to plants what calories do to people—they make them bigger. But, their nutritional properties do not increase with their size.
Over-fertilized produce has a much higher ratio of calories to antioxidants. Bite for bite, you are getting less nutrients and more calories out of the bigger, non-organic fruit as opposed to the smaller organic fruit. Bigger, non-organic fruits are also higher in starches and simple sugars.
Other research has shown that average organic fruits and veggies have 12% more healthy plant compounds, like resveratrol as well as other polyphenols, than non-organic fruits and veggies. Also, flavonols, a beneficial plant compound, may help stabilize your blood sugar levels and help suppress your appetite, and resveratrol helps promote fullness. Some of the pesticides used in non-organic farming may reduce resveratrol levels in plants.
Some organic fruits and veggies have anywhere from 20% to 40% more antioxidants for every calorie.
Can Pesticides Affect Your Weight?
In the U.S., the average person is exposed to anywhere from 10-13 different pesticide residues each day. This includes 1-3 extremely toxic pesticides known as organophosphates. Organically produced foods reduce this overall exposure by 97%.
Research has also shown that feeding non-organic produce to children under 2 may affect their weight in the future. Chemical pesticides have been linked to increased body mass indexes in young children and increased abdominal fat, insulin resistance and overall weight in rodents.
Those who defend non-organic crops claim that the pesticide residue on produce is much too small of an amount to have any real impact on your weight or overall health. However, you can lessen your exposure to pesticide by 80% if you consume organic varieties.
Consuming more fruits and vegetables has been a consistent link to weight-loss. This is because of their volume to calories ratio. Generally, the average person needs between 4 and 6 cups of fruits and veggies each day. Aiming to make at least ½ of your lunch and dinner meals fruits and/or veggies will put you on the right track. Eating various different color fruits and veggies will provide you with various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.