5 Foods You Should Never Buy Organic
There are no USDA standards regulating what it means for fresh fish and shellfish to be organic, so if you're seeing seafood labeled as organic, it was farmed, not caught, Freeman explains. "Your better bet is to buy wild," she says. Wild-caught fish is healthier because "it's never treated with antibiotics, it's naturally high in Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, and it's sustainable and environmentally friendly."
Freeman always opts for organic strawberries (they're the "dirtiest" of the dozen this year) but when it comes to fruit like avocados, grapefruit, mangoes, melons, papayas, and pineapples, you don't need to be as picky. These thick-skinned treats tend to be lower in pesticides anyway, but when you peel or cut off the skin you eliminate the riskiest parts, she says. This includes bananas, though Freeman points out the price difference between organic and non-organic versions isn't usually that great. "But again, there's no reason to buy organic [bananas] if you're having to make choices to maintain a budget," says Freeman.
While USDA organic standards rule out artificial colors and flavors and high-fructose corn syrup, Freeman recommends saving a couple of bucks by checking for those ingredients yourself in conventional junk food. "People think it's more virtuous if you buy organic cookies and chips, but the fact is, it's still a lot of fat and sugar. It's a treat. Focus on the ingredients instead and you can make healthier choices based on nutrition.
Even when certified organic, processed foods simply aren't as nutritious their fresh, whole, organic counterparts. "You're better off spending your money on organic milk, meat, poultry, cheese, rather than packaged items," says Freeman. Again she recommends reading nutrition labels to find more cost-effective alternatives. Look for foods made with whole grains that are high in fiber and low in calories and sugar. Avoid trans fats, additives, preservatives, and added sugars.
"If I were to only pick one thing to always buy organic, without qualms it would be organic grass-fed meat," says Freeman. Studies have shown it's more nutritious than conventionally raised meat and the organic seal means the animal wasn't treated with antibiotics or growth hormones, nor did it eat synthetic feed grown with pesticides.
Video: How to buy organic produce - Organic foods
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