Proponents of organic foods claim they improve your health, reduce your exposure to toxins, taste better and have more nutrition. If you choose to include organic foods in your diet, there is no guarantee it will help you lose weight. A diet plan with organic foods must still include fewer calories than you burn to result in weight loss.
What Makes a Food ‘Organic’
Organic is a way of growing and processing meats, dairy, fruits , vegetables and grains. Conventionally grown, non-organic products typically use chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides to control their crops. In animals, antiobiotics, growth hormones and medications may be used by non-organic farmers. Organic foods are grown using natural fertilizers, insects and birds and crop rotation to deal with insects and weeds. Foods are labeled as “100 percent organic,” “organic,” meaning they contain 95 percent organic ingredients, or “made with organic ingredients” meaning they contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients, explains MayoClinic.com.
Just because a food is labeled as organic does not mean it is low in calories or healthful. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calorie, but organic cookies, cakes, chips and snack bars have just as many calories as their conventional counterparts. Eating too much of these foods will add extra calories to your diet and cause you to gain weight, or at the very least, prevent weight loss.
Features of an Organic Diet Plan
A diet plan featuring organic foods should emphasize organic fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy, chicken and beef. No organic standard exists for fish, but go for wild over farmed varieties that often contain antibiotics, sea lice and contaminants, says the National Cooperative Grocers’ Association. Make about 20 to 35 percent of your calories come from unsaturated sources of fat such as organic olive or canola oil, organically grown nuts and organic avocados. Cutting all fat will not help you lose weight, but might actually make you feel more hungry and cause nutritional deficiencies, according to Joanne Larsen on Ask the Dietitian.
Stick to about 3 oz. of lean protein, ½ cup of grains and a cup of vegetables at most meals, advises Ask the Dietitian. A sample breakfast might include organic berries with a serving of organic whole grain cereal and organic low-fat milk. Lunch might be organic romaine lettuce with organic grape tomatoes, organic chicken, organic black beans and an organic olive oil dressing. At dinner, your diet might feature wild sockeye salmon roasted with organic asparagus and served alongside organic whole grain pasta. Snack on organic almonds, organic whole grain crackers and organic low-fat cheese with fruit.
Switching to a wholly organic diet might raise the cost of your groceries considerably. If you would like to benefit from organic food in your diet, but not incur incredible costs, consider investing in organics when faced with the “dirty dozen”—12 fruits and vegetables that tend to carry the most pesiticides. According to Amy Rosenthal of the Environmental Working Group in a June 1, 2010 report on CNN, these foods include celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, U.S.-grown blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, greens such as spinach and kale, cherries, potatoes, imported grapes and lettuce. These foods all fit into a weight-loss plan and choosing the organic version can reduce your exposure to pesticides by 80 percent.