Healthy Eating Tips: Grocery Shopping

The Foods You Should Buy Organic

Pesticide-free goods that give you more bang for your buck

The Organic Advantage

The Foods You Should Buy Organic  // Bicycle with carrots in the cart © Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

The same pesticides that poison the environment also pollute our bodies. Commonly used pesticides, such as organochlorines, are stored in our fat cells then released into our bloodstreams when we burn fat, disrupting the function of our mitochondria (our cells' energy-making furnaces). In a 2004 study published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers at Canada's Laval University reported that dieters with the highest levels of organochlorines had a greater metabolic slowdown as they lost weight than their peers with lower levels of the pollutant, likely because the toxins hinder the energy-burning process. Other studies have indicated that pesticides may actually contribute to weight gain.

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Choosing organic over conventional foods can help keep your body and the earth clean and healthy, says David Joachim, coauthor of Fresh Choices, a guide to selecting the safest food. Organic food is produced without using synthetic pesticides, petroleum or sewage-sludge-based fertilizer, bioengineering or ionizing radiation. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy foods come from animals that are fed 100 percent organic feed and raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. "Organic foods cost a little more," says Joachim. "But the toll pesticides take on our environment and health outweighs the higher price." But remember, just because something is organic doesn't necessarily make it healthy (Learn exactly When and Why Going Organic Works.)


Here's our guide to buying organic.