Organic apples, ice pops, fruit snacks, and popcorn are among the fastest-growing food items. As more people worry about the environment and their waistlines, they seek healthier food options. Organic means better?
White pasta doesn't need to be organic because the pesticide-adhering outer layers of the wheat are stripped off during processing, says Citrition dietitian Jodi Greebel. (That's one of 37 secrets nutritionists won't tell you).
Greebel recommends organic peanut butter but not seed butter. Sunflower seeds have less pesticide residue, she says.
Organic seed butters
Lollipops, like most candies, are just sugar, and organic sugar isn't healthier than regular sugar, says RD Shari Portnoy. Organic candy is just marketing hype, she warns. Food packaging and labelling tricks to avoid.
Greebel says the sweet fruit's thick, prickly skin keeps pesticides out. She says thick-skinned fruits have less pesticide residue. Greebel recommends buying conventionally grown pineapples.
Olive oil is a great source of healthy fats, but sourcing and quality are more important than organic, says dietitian and chef Jennifer Lease. Extra-virgin olive oil is first-pressed and not refined or chemically treated, she says. "Check the oil's label and packaging.
Organic olive oil
Organic bananas are just a few cents more per pound than conventional, so it may be tempting to think, "Better safe than sorry." The thick, inedible peel of organic bananas keeps pesticides out, says Designed to tackle. Bananas are heavily pesticide-treated, exposing workers to toxins.
"Organic" on a fish or seafood label is meaningless since there is no official standard, says Lease. "We can't control the aquatic environment where wild fish live, so we don't know their diet or exposure to toxins and debris," she says. Instead, source is the most important quality.