Organic VS Natural Food

Last week my friend asks me about what’s the difference between natural or organic. He saw on the packets of chips, muesli bars, chocolates that there has written either 100%natural or organic. So, many people are still confused that there are no foods and that both are same thing. So, I’m trying to explain a lit bit about their actual meaning. Hope you will understand what they mean?

 Do ‘Organic’ and ‘Natural’ food mean same thing???

People often confuse the meaning of Organic vs Natural labels. Sometimes people think they both mean the same thing, or simply don’t know what either one truly means. However, if you investigate the matter more closely, natural and organic have some stark differences. Organic food products are grown and harvested only by using natural fertilizers. Organic food harvest abides by stringent standards of production handling and processing of the food. No chemicals or artificial means are used for growing organic food. However, there are no stringent standards for harvesting natural food.

Although organic foods are grown using minimal or no synthetics, they maintain the health and taste of the food. Due to its stringent standards of production, organic food is priced much higher than its natural counterpart. Organic foods are a great source of ingredients for Ayurveda / Herbal medicines. In the United States, however, neither the FDA nor the USDA has rules or regulations for products labelled “natural.” As a result, food manufacturers often place a “natural” label on foods containing heavily processed ingredients. Organic producers and processors also are subject to rigorous announced – and unannounced – certification inspections by third-party inspectors to ensure that they are producing and processing organic products in a manner you and your family can trust. You can Learn more about in depth on   USDA certified organic label and read on for more about the difference between organic, natural and conventional products.

How to read the Organic and Natural label

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed four categories of organic labels, based on the percentage of organic content in a product.

  1. 100 Percent Organic: Products produced using exclusively organic methods, containing only organic ingredients, can carry a label declaring “100 percent organic.”
  • Organic: Products containing at least 95% organic ingredients may use the USDA Organic label.
  • Made with organic: Products with 70% to 95% organic ingredients may display “Made with organic [with up to three specific organic ingredients]” on the front panel.
  1. Ingredient Panel: Products with less than 70% organic ingredients can only list the organic items on the ingredient panel.

The label “all natural” or “100% natural” can be found on diverse food products ranging from peanut butter and cereal to “all natural” sodas, and may recall images of wholesome, minimally processed foods.  Without a formal definition of what “natural” means it is often confusing what the label says. For instances foods containing natural flavors, sweeteners, or other plant-derived substances can be labelled natural. In addition, foods containing highly processed high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can also be labelled “natural”, since the synthetic materials used to generate HFCS are not incorporated into the final product. A broadly accepted definition for Natural foods is “a product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed”.

The image below is curtsey of USDA (United State Department of Agriculture). Worldwide we have a clear indication of what is organic means. When it comes to Natural it is not clearly defined.

“Why do some people prefer organic food and some people prefer natural food?”

 Because some people belief that synthesizing or growing foods by altering their nature results in some level of loss of its nutrients and beneficial properties. Therefore, they demand natural foods for living a healthy lifestyle. Organic food fans, on the other hand, want their food to be free of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and preservatives, so they choose organic and grow organic.

“Check out the video to clarify your doubts on organic and natural food”

Health benefits of Organic food..

In the previous blog I discuss about what organic food means?? As we had talk about the some benefits of organic food, but here I’m going to take it a lit bit further depth.

Organic food is getting more attention and popular and everyone wants to know about its benefits. The public opinion and discussion on the organic food is healthier than conventional food is quite strong and demand has been raised up over the past 5-6 years. First of all, there is only a small amount of scientific evidence to prove that organic food is better in quality than conventional food. However, there are some scientific studies that have proved organic milk and organic tomatoes to be better than non-organic varieties. While there has been done some research of having advantages or qualitative food on organic and conventional food but still this topic is in controversial.

In supermarkets organic foods are widely available as well as specialty health food stores and farmer’s market. People buy organic fruits, vegetables, milk, meats and so on to perceived benefits of organic food. Organic food cost up twice as much as conventional foods, but are they actually healthier?? Based on scientific evidence and studies the truthful answer is “maybe”. But there are other reasons to push up to buy organic too, like supporting local agriculture and protecting environment quality.

In Fig :1 pictures shows Price difference between organic and conventional food :

[ Fig: 1]

Health Benefits of organic food

  • Antioxidant capacity: There has been done a lot of studies regarding the effects of antioxidants from organic food on overall health, and the predominant results have shown that antioxidants tends to have more of an impact when they came from organic foods. It may be due to the fact that foreign chemicals are not negatively interacting with the different vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds that are essential for the positive impacts of fruits and vegetables in the prevention of vision problems, premature aging.
  • Pesticide Reduction: One of the major complaints that organic food consumers cite when choosing organic over non-organic is the presence of pesticides. In order to keep the crops attacked by the bugs, pesticides are required and sometimes from the climate. These chemicals are unnatural and they are the minerals compounds that bring about several health abnormalities in humans. Organophosphorus has been connected to a number of developmental problems, including autism and ADHD, so organic food lovers do have a pretty strong argument in this case. So, many people choose organic to make sure that their children grow up healthy and unaffected by the toxins of the world during developing periods.
  • Heart Health: An increased amount of time grazing on grass also increases the amounts of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) that can be found in animal products. CLA is a heart-healthy fatty acid that can boost cardiovascular protection, and it is found in higher quantities in breast milk and in the meat of animals that have been raised free-range or cage-free.
  • Stronger immune system: In recent decades, one of the biggest projects for farmers and food growers has been a genetic modification. Making tomatoes six times larger might sound like a possible option for solving some world hunger issues, but there is another side to it. Genetic modification is still in its early stages, so the long-term effects of it on human health aren’t understood very well.
  • Antibiotic Resistance : People are very concerned  any issues about their health, they often take precautions to make sure they remain healthy, like getting various vaccines and taking antibiotics as soon as a new strain of bacteria makes them ill. However, non-organic food sources, particularly livestock and feed houses, also use antibiotics to feed their animals. This extra dose of antibiotics may actually be weakening our immune system by basically overdosing on antibiotics, thereby reshaping it so many times that it will eventually be unable to defend itself. Organic food growers and dairy farmers do not use antibiotics in their processes.
  • Better Taste: Some people believes that organic food has better tastes than conventional food. The prominent reason for this belief is that it is produced using organic means of production. Furthermore, organic food is often sold locally, resulting in the availability of fresh produce in the market, which usually does taste better than produce that has been frozen, shipped, and transported across long distances.
  • Environment safety: As harmful chemicals  are not used in organic farming, there is minimal soil, air, and water pollution; thus ensuring a safer and healthier world for future generations to live in.
  • Animal welfare: Animal welfare is an important aspect of producing organic milk, organic meat, organic poultry, and organic fish. People feel happy that the animals are not confined to a miserable caged life when they eat organic animal products.

The below FAQs will help you understand organic food and its benefits in a better way

(SOURCE: https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/benefits-of-organic-food/, http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/advantages-of-organic-food.html, https://www.simplyquinoa.com/benefits-of-organic-food/, https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/15-health-benefits-eating-organic-food.php )

Introduction

What does “Organic” mean????

The term “Organic” refers to the way how agricultural products are grown and processed. The methods and procedures may vary from country to country. Here in New Zealand “Organic” is termed as agriculture based on minimising the use of external inputs. For example, avoiding or excluding the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, antibiotics, growth promotants, genetic modification, and irradiation. Where as in the U.S., organic crops must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. (Source: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/growing-and-harvesting/land-care-and-farm-management/organics/ , https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/organic-foods.htm?pdf=13289).

Organic food crops are more nutritious

 Brandt and co-workers published in 2011 a metaanalysis of all 102 available studies since 1992 comparing the content of seven (groups of) vitamins and secondary metabolites in organic and conventional food crops: Total phenolics, phenolic acids, other defence compounds (three groups of plant defense related compounds), as well as carotenoids, flavones and flavonols, other non-defense compounds, and vitamin C (four groups of not plant defence related compounds). According to Brandt’s analysis, plant defense related compounds were on average present in 16 percent higher concentrations in organic crops. Vitamin C was six percent higher, flavones and flavonols were eleven percent higher, and other non-defense compounds were eight percent higher in organic crops. There was no significant difference in carotenoid content between organic and conventional crops. The overall conclusion of the authors was that on average, organic crops contained twelve percent more vitamins and secondary metabolites than conventional crops.

(SOURCE: http://orgprints.org/29439/1/Organic_food_quality_and_health_webb.pdf )

Is Organic food really healthier? Is it worth the expense? Find out what the labels mean and which food give you the most bang for your buck.

Organic vs Non-organic

The organic food are grown with natural fertilizers like manure compost whereas inorganic are grown with synthetic or chemical fertilizers. In non-organics the plants are controlled with chemical herbicides and use pesticides of which makes both fruit and plant look nicer and grow faster but in organic the weeds are controlled naturally (crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching and tilling). Organic food are produce in a traditional methods and natural environment whereas non-organic uses modern ways of farming tools, pesticides, chemical and are grown in a non-biological environment.

Organic means not only food but it also includes organic livestock. Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products. So, I’m going to discuss some key points on Non-organic and organic livestock differences.

Organic Livestock

  • Pests are controlled using natural methods (birds, insects, traps) and naturally-derived pesticides.
  • Organic meat, dairy, eggs:
  • Livestock are given all organic, GMO-free feed.
  • Disease is prevented with natural methods such as clean housing, rotational grazing, and healthy diet.
  • Livestock must have access to the outdoors.

Non-organic Livestock

  • Pests are controlled with synthetic pesticides
  • Conventionally-raised meat, dairy, eggs
  • Livestock are given growth hormones for faster growth, as well as non-organic, GMO feed.
  • Antibiotics and medications are used to prevent livestock disease.
  • Livestock may or may not have access to the outdoors.

Benefits of Organic Food

How your food is grown or raised can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health as well as the environment. Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods. Some of the benefits are as follows:

  • Organic Production contains fewer pesticides: Chemical such as herbicides, insecticides, synthetic pesticides so on.
  • Food is often fresher: it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer, but not always so it’s better to look on the small farms nearby your location where the organic food is sold or grown.
  • Farming is better for the Environment:  Reduces pollution, conserve water, makes soil more fertile, and use less energy. Organic farming practices is better for nearby animals, birds and as well as people who are living close to farms.
  • Organic meat and milk are richer in certain nutrients: Results of a 2016 European study show that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised versions.
  • Food is GMO-free: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide.

Why is organic food often more expensive?

 Organic food is more labor intensive since the farmers do not use pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or drugs. Organic certification is expensive and organic feed for animals can cost twice as much. Organic farms tend to be smaller than conventional farms, which means fixed costs and overhead must be distributed across smaller produce volumes without government subsidies.

Some Snapshot According to OANZ Market report.

Where to shop for organic food

To find farmers’ markets, organic farms, and grocery co-ops in your area,

Visit: