Can Organic Foods Help Control Weight?

A healthy eating diet plan is essential if you want to lose weight. Experts usually tend to agree on what a healthy eating plan looks like:

  • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products are the leading players.
  • Lean meats, poultry, fish, bean, eggs, and nuts are the supporting actors.
  • Foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, dietary cholesterol, salt (sodium), synthetic chemicals, and added sugars are to be consumed in small amounts.

So What About Organic Foods?

Healthy food matters for weight control, but does it matter if the food is organic? Experts don’t agree on whether organic food is better than non-organic food for healthy living and weight control. But here are some thoughts that may help you decide what foods to choose for your healthy eating plan.

Organic Food and Weight Control

Does eating organic food help with weight control? Organic food is one route to a healthy diet, and a healthy diet is fundamental to weight control. But eating organically is not the only route. Eating a balanced diet of nutritious food that includes all the major food groups, keeping fats to a minimum, and lowering processed food consumption—now that’s something experts can agree on.

Why Non-Organic Foods Can Cause Weight Gain

Common ingredients of processed foods, like synthetic chemicals, preservatives, pesticides, artificial colors and flavors, don’t belong in a healthy food plan. The body cannot recognize artificial ingredients as food, so it may store these “empty calories” as fat.  They’re called “empty” not because they don’t make you put on weight, but because they add a lot of calories to your diet without giving you any micronutrients or vitamins (which is why so many of us need health supplements)

Organic foods should not contain the synthetic ingredients or processed foods, so there are no empty calories to turn into excess fat. In this way, organic food may be slightly better for weight control than processed food, simply because you get more nutrients per calorie from organic foods.

The Problem of Pesticides

Of course, not all non-organic food is processed. Are fresh organic fruits, vegetables, and meat healthier than their non-organic counterparts? Because it is grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides, organic food contains less of these potentially toxic substances.

However, the question of whether that makes organic food healthier is open to debate.  Most of the pesticides and chemicals used on crops are heavily tested, and any that are found to be harmful are quickly made illegal. However, that doesn’t include hormones injected into animals like cows and pigs.

These hormones can cause changes in the way our body stores fat, and metabolises carbohydrates.  Too much of the hormone progesterone in men, for example, can cause weight gain and water retention.

Local versus Imported Food

Food loses nutritional value during storage and shipping, whether it is grown organically or grown with chemicals. It is also often preserved in order to survive the journeySo, perhaps what matters is whether the food is local or if it travels a long distance to markets.

According to one committed locavore (locavores only eat foods grown locally), eating fresh, local food “improves the flavor and eating experience so you don’t need to eat as much.” Dining becomes a “satisfying experience because things taste good.” Eating less and feeling satisfied after a meal are definite assets for weight control.

Unfortunately, due in no small part to the phenomenon of globalization, it can sometimes be more expensive to go down to your local farmer’s market and pick up some local produce than it is to shop in the nearest supermarket.

 

Resources:

http://ezinearticles.com/?Is-There-a-Link-Between-Organic-Food-and-Weight-Loss?&id=2341528
http://medheadlines.com/2008/06/30/organic-food-labels-the-4-simple-categories-you-need-to-know/
http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/for_life.htm#wtlosslife

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