New research shows that people report that organic junk foods taste healthier than their conventional counterparts. When trying food – even junk food – with an organic label, participants guessed that the snack was lower in fat and calories than snacks with a conventional label.
The trick? The food was all the same – just the label was different.
We’ve talked here before about how organic does not necessarily mean healthy, but after reading over the details of this study in Atlantic Magazine last week, I felt like this bore repeating!
The study provided samples of junk food like cookies and chips to passers-by in a mall. They told random tasters that some were organic and some were not and asked a series of questions about how the food tasted and whether it was healthy.
Choosing Healthy Organic Food
So, how can you tell the organic junk food from the good-for-you organic foods? Here are a couple of quick tricks:
- Is it in a box, bag, or jar? While not all organic convenience food is unhealthy, pre-packaged treats tend to include a healthy dose of sugar, salt, and calories. Instead, opt for whole foods, like fresh fruits, veggies, and unsalted nuts.
- Did you read the back of the box? If that organic snack or pre-made meal is packaged, don’t spend a lot of time looking at the pretty front of the box. Flip that sucker over and read the ingredients. How long is that list? What is the nutritional information telling you? A bag of organic chips with half your daily dose of salt is not healthy. Neither are those organic cookies with 22 grams of sugar in a serving.
Of course, if you’re going to eat chips and cookies anyway, you’re definitely better off buying organic. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, and high five if you opt for treats that don’t contain GMOs, pesticide residues, and any of the other problems that come with conventional junk food!
Just remember the lesson from Cookie Monster: cookies are a sometimes food. Even if they are organic.
Image Credit: Junk Food photo via Shutterstock