Organic vs. Non-Organic Foods: Making Healthy Choices


75% of the food sold in grocery stores are genetically modified. While science hasn’t confirmed if genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are truly bad for our health or not, there are still many benefits of replacing non-organic foods with organic food.

You will this information very useful if you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, and want to eradicate the excess harmful agents we as humans have polluted our bodies with over the years. This article is for informational purposes only, but can aide you in a better way of eating.

There’s a reason why organic foods are becoming more popular and people love organic food for different reasons. Organic food is safer, healthier, and even tastier.

But what’s the difference between organic and non-organic foods? Should you start grabbing organic fruits and vegetables? What about organic meat and dairy products? Continue reading to answer all of your questions.

Organic vs Inorganic Food

The main difference between organic and non-organic food is how the food is produced. This goes for all food — fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and meat.

Organic food isn’t produced with:

  • GMOs
  • Synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
  • Irradiation or ionizing radiation
  • Antibiotics or growth hormones

Does this mean all non-organic farms use all of these factors? Non-organic farmers may use organic farming practices. But how do you know? This brings us to our next point…

Organic Food Is Regulated

You’ve likely seen the label “USDA-certified organic” on certain foods at the grocery store or health market. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certifies organic producers and handlers under the National Organic Program (NOP).

The USDA has strict regulations that require the USDA-organic label. The food has to be produced without ionizing radiation, genetic engineering, or sewage sludge. That’s why the foods with the USDA-certified organic label are at least 95% organic.

They also have a specific list of what can be used to aid sprout production, pest control, and more. For example, an organic farmer may use a natural pest deterrent or a synthetic one that the USDA approves.

In addition, organic farmers need to have a USDA-certified agent oversee the entire process to ensure they’re following USDA regulations. The USDA also establishes trade agreements with organic farmers overseas.

You may also see the “organic ingredients” or a “made with organic” label. This is for products that are made with multiple ingredients. For a product to have the “organic ingredients” label, the ingredients must be at least 70% organic.

What about animal products? The USDA has these labels for livestock:

  • Cage-free
  • Free-range
  • Grass-fed
  • Natural
  • Humane

Keep in mind, these labels don’t mean the animal products are completely organic. These labels are voluntary and serve as a promise that the animals on these farms are treated humanely. 

You’ll want to look for other labels, such as grass-fed. This means the animals ate a grass diet as opposed to a grain diet. The grain diet could have been filled with GMOs.

Conventional Farming

According to Dan Brownsword, Conventional farming is a term used to designate farming techniques that are traditionally, and often controversially, oriented towards using technology, pesticides, chemicals and other synthetic tools in the cultivation of crops.

Thus “conventional grown food” is often used as an antonym for “organic,” a farming approach that alternatively seeks to limit or eradicate the introduction of synthetic elements into organic agriculture.

Organic vs Natural

You may also come across labels that say “natural.” Are natural foods the same as organic food? No. Natural food means the food has no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. It doesn’t refer to the methods or materials used to produce the food.

Organic certification requires the farmer used specific farming practices without specific harmful substances and practices. In addition, organic certification requires an analyst oversees the entire production process.

The natural food label doesn’t require any of these factors.

Are Organic Foods Healthier?

There’s no evidence showing that USDA-certified food contains more nutrients. 

So, why are more people buying organic foods? Many people think organic soil is better nourished, resulting in more nutritious food. Organic food is also healthier because the food contains little GMOs, wasn’t treated with dangerous pesticides, and contains no artificial ingredients.

For example, food irradiation, which applies ionizing radiation to food to extend shelf life, has been found to cause many physical complications. Organic produce also contains fewer toxic metals, bacteria, and pesticide residue.

However, organic animal products are generally healthier for you than non-organic meat and dairy. For animal products, the animals are fed a better diet. The grass they eat contains essential nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids.

Organic animal products also don’t have growth hormones. The growth hormones that are normally found in animal products can have a strong effect on our natural body processes.

Is Organic Food More Expensive?

One of the biggest factors of organic foods vs conventional foods is the price. Organic food is usually more expensive than traditionally grown food. That’s because farmers need to spend money on the USDA-certified label, increasing the cost of organic food.

Don’t worry, you can still pursue healthy living while saving money. Organic meat is more costly than organic fruits and vegetables. Prioritize organic produce or consider becoming a vegetarian/vegan. If you do buy organic meat, buy it in bulk and freeze it.

Local farmers usually use organic growing practices and are significantly cheaper than major farmers. The produce is also fresher since it’s not shipped far. You can also take advantage of seasonal produce. Meal planning, curbing cravings, and portion control are also great ways to save money on organic food.

Many people are also growing their own produce in their garden or backyard. You’re not only saving money but you’re monitoring the entire growing process so you know what you’re eating.

Does Organic Food Taste Better?

This organic vs conventional produce taste factor is arguable. Some say organic food tastes better while others state they can’t tell the difference between organic and non-organic foods. Many argue the better taste comes from agricultural factors. The soul is better nourished, which results in better-nourished plants and food.

Many agree that organic food tastes best when it’s fresh. That’s why shopping for produce at your local farmer’s market is one of the best substitutes for the produce you buy at a major grocery store.

Stop Eating Non-Organic Foods

If you’re eating healthy, you may be wondering if you should buy organic food. Organic products are healthier than non-organic foods for many reasons.

You’re not ingesting higher levels of potentially harmful substances, the food is often fresher and is often grown in better soil. In addition, organic food may be more nutritious, especially organic animal products.

Are you looking for other ways to boost your health? Click here to discover our advice.