Considering Buying Organic Junk Food? Beware, It’s STILL Junk Food!

healthy eating May 13, 2018

Simply because a product claims to be organic doesn’t mean it’s a healthy choice for you

Shopping the aisles of many natural, conventional, and whole food stores you’ll find a variety of organic products to choose from. Increasingly, retailers are stocking their shelves with a wide selection that includes heavily processed organic grocery items.

If you are considering buying organic junk food, beware, it’s still junk food and should be treated as such.

More than ever, the media alerts you to the dangers of the present-day food system

Seeing what appears to be a simple solution to the problem, you assume that buying organic is the answer. Unfortunately, many people perceive organic foods—no matter what they are—to be a superior quality alternative to their traditional counterparts.

These days, you can buy the organic equivalent to just about any food. It’s as if someone rubbed a magic lamp and a genie has transformed spaghetti in a can into a nutritious and delicious meal.

Sorry folks, just because the package touts a distinctive seal on its label doesn’t change the fact that it’s still junk food.

What does “certified organic” mean?

For a food to be certified organic, it or its ingredients must be produced by organic farming methods.

While this is beneficial for the consumer and the environment, it simply means the ingredients—including those which should be avoided or eaten in moderation are produced organically.

For example, cookies displaying the organic seal still may still be made with a considerable amount of refined sugar and unhealthy oils. It does not mean that they are nutritionally superior in comparison to their non-organic equal. Organic sugar still has calories and organic oil still has fat—eating organic junk food should still be considered an indulgence.

If you do purchase organic processed foods over their conventional counterparts, do so with the understanding that replacing one with the other does not necessarily lead to improved health.

Big food is deceivingly portraying their products to be a healthy alternative

Thanks to clever and deceptive marketing techniques, the organic seal has been able to create a health halo around junk food. Research indicates that even though people may be savvy nutritional label readers, they tend to underestimate the number of calories and the quality of the food they are eating;  and they are willing to pay a higher price when something is labeled organic.

Additionally, the study tells us that there are many people eating junk food who think just because it is labeled organic they can eat it without guilt. Pass the peanut butter cups please. Ah, no!

How companies are reshaping America’s food landscape

The changes can be witnessed by the onset of large, multinational companies’ acquiring smaller natural and organic food companies.

For instance, Annie’s Homegrown. In 2014, General Mills paid $820 million for the company. The Annie’s brand has since seen its annual sales jump almost two-fold with access to General Mills’ product development and distribution.

But the real winner is its owner, General Mills. Having recognized the shifting market, it snatched up a health-conscious company at the right time. Other organic brands acquired by big companies in recent years include Stonyfield and Happy Family, which are now owned by Danone, and Honest Tea, purchased by Coca-Cola.

Be a smart consumer and don’t buy the organic hype

Why is it that people think certain foods are essentially healthy just because they bear a specific green and white logo?

Live a healthier life and leave organic out of the equation. As a shopper, you must think twice. When you are considering buying organic junk food, beware, it’s still junk food and should not be a part of your diet.

Try covering up the organic logo when looking at the nutritional label. Instead, focus on the item itself and decide whether you should feed it to yourself and your family. Let that decision be your reason for purchasing a product, allowing organic to enter into your decision later.

I am a corporate wellness consultant. As a master yoga instructor, I support in-house wellness programs, seminars, trade shows and executive retreats. I help business leaders build and maintain physical and mental well-being. If you would like to learn more about offering a health and fitness program to your busy management team contact me at [email protected] or 386.871.0582



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