Organic vs. Processed Food: Who Wins?

Organic Vs. Processed Food

 

The philosophy of “less is more” is trending today (thankfully so!) Sustainable consumption, environmental considerations, and minimalist trends are gaining traction in different spheres of our lives. While we can easily relate concepts within the realm of fashion, travel, etc. most of us are still not sure of how it could also change our diets.

We wander down the grocery store aisle, wondering what makes for a wholesome, healthy, and tasty meal, but how many of us also question - what food is kind to Earth and does not pollute the environment? In becoming more conscious of the choices available to us, we, as consumers, have an increased responsibility to not only choose what is best for us and our families, but also for the environment around us.

To make more conscious food choices and bring to our table - food that is as environmentally friendly as healthy, we need to understand the fine lines of difference between organic and processed food.

What is Processed and Organic food? 

 

Processed foods are “conventionally grown” foods that take aid of chemicals to ward off insects on the farm, enhance crop growth, and add synthetic colours and flavours to make the food pop. Processed foods include genetically modified and synthetically fertilised crops, and mechanically processed and preserved food items as well. Any food that is not sold to you in it’s natural and whole form is “processed” and hence falls in this category of food.

 

Organic and conventionally grown food or processed foods are best demarcated by the way in which they are produced and the additives that go into their growth. Organic foods are devoid of man-made and synthetic chemicals, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), growth boosters, and other fertilizers. To be certified as organic, the produce must also be free from other additives such as artificial flavouring, colours, and MSG. These are also foods that are raw and the removal of chemicals from their growth process harnesses the energy and nutrition from the earth, air, sun, and water, making them natural, and nutrient rich. 

 

Opting for processed food might be a tastier and temptier alternative, but it comes with its own list of cons that can be tallied against the list of organic foods. Let’s explore some advantages and disadvantages of organic and processed foods:-

 

PROCESSED FOOD


Advantages:

  • It is more convenient to prepare for eating.

  • Has an increased shelf life owing to the use of preservatives.

  • More flavourful and fresh looking due to the additives.

  • Tinned food like canned tomatoes and beans are free from bacteria.

  • Pre-cut vegetables are also easy to use, and genetic modification and preservatives make them available all year around.


Disadvantages:

  • Processed food requires less energy from our body for digestion, meaning that it could lead to slowing down of our metabolism. Combined with the densely packed calorie content within the processed food, this means a higher calorie count than we may require.
       
  • Processing food using machines and heat reduces the nutrient and fibre content from the food.

  • Chemicals that are introduced in the fields are harmful for the environment as they erode soil quality, and seep into air and water.

  • The food, being chemically treated and genetically modified may lead to gastronomical, endocrinal, and other health issues when consumed regularly over a prolonged period. 

 

ORGANIC FOOD


Advantages:

  • Organic food is known to be richer in healthy fats such as Omega-3 which contributes to better health in the long run.
     
  • Since organic food is mostly ground, stored, packaged, and processed without the use of heavy machinery, heat, or chemicals, they maintain their original nutrients and fibres.
     
  • Grown with natural and plant-based fertilisers, manure, and compost, organic foods have no harmful side-effects when consumed

  • Natural farming processes like crop rotations and hand-weeding contribute to maintaining soil quality over a long period of time and natural fertilizers prevent chemical pollution of the soil, water, and air.

  • Since organic foods contain no synthetic chemicals, growth enhancers, and additives they reduce the risk of long-term health diseases that are associated with processed foods. 

Disadvantages:

  • Organic food might have a shorter shelf life owing to the lack of preservatives.

  • Similarly, the natural growth process can be a longer and more strenuous process, subject to changes depending on the environmental conditions, thus availability of products may be hampered due to time and seasonal variations.

  • They may not always be available at your nearest grocery store. 

 

Our food choices determine the health of our families and our planet. To help you bring better food to your table, Conscious Food curates products that are organically sourced and ECOCERT credited. We employ agriculturists from across India to create a wholesome and nutritional food experience. For instance- our bottle of tomato ketchup is an explosion of flavours and nutrition, made with organically produced sugar for sweetness and organically sourced tomatoes and spices. In a world that is becoming more connected, Conscious Food is here to remove the distance barriers between organic, minimally processed food and you - the conscious consumer.

Written by Sakshi Agarwal (Weloquent)

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