Is Organic Baby Food Healthier?
In recent years, there has been more talk about organic food. With this, you may have questioned whether non-organic food is safe to eat. As a parent, you may be asking the question “Is organic baby food healthier?”. Read on to learn the truth about organic and non-organic food, and to help you decide what to feed your little one.
What Does “Organic Food” Mean?
When a food is labeled as organic, it means it was grown without (1):
- Synthetic (human-made) pesticides
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- Irradiation or ionizing radiation (a way to preserve food)
However, organic farmers still use pesticides on their crops. They use natural and plant-based pesticides that are approved for organic food production (1). Additionally, non-organic farmers use organic farm practices (1). For example, organic and non-organic farms may both use manure on their fields as a fertilizer (2).
What’s the Difference Between Organic and Non-Organic Food?
The main difference between organic and non-organic food is how the food is grown (1). They are simply two different ways to produce food. Whether you eat organic or non-organic food, both are safe. This is because all food in Canada must adhere to the same food safety standards, regardless of how it is grown (2). Worldwide, Canada has some of the strictest food safety regulations (2). This means you can be confident in the food you purchase, regardless of how it was grown.
Is Organic Food Healthier?
According to evidence-based research, organic food is just as nutritious as non-organic food (1). Organic food isn’t healthier than non-organic food, and vice versa (1). Whether the food is organically grown or not, the most nutritious diet contains a variety of:
- Whole grains
- Lean meats
- Dairy products
Should I Feed my Baby Organic Food?
Whether or not to feed your baby organic food is a personal choice. Either way, your baby can receive the same amount of nutrients (3). Both options are healthy. Feeding your baby a diet that contains all food groups is the most nutritious thing you can do, whether the food is organic or not. To learn about the most important nutrients to feed your baby when starting solids, click here.
Considerations for Buying Organic Food
When it comes to buying organic food, you may want to consider the following (3):
- Location it was grown (e.g. is it locally grown?)
- Personal values
Considerations for Buying Organic Pureed Baby Food
When it comes to buying organic baby food, you may want to consider the following (3):
- Taste and texture
- Ingredients (organic puréed baby food may still have added sugar and salt).
Why is Organic Food More Expensive?
Growing organic food is typically more labour-intensive, making it more expensive than non-organic food (2). Additionally, organic farms tend to be smaller. This results in less food being grown, packaged, and sold (2). Therefore, the affordability of organic food may be important to consider for your family.
Final Notes from The Nest
Choosing to feed your baby organic food is a personal choice. There is no evidence to show that organic food is more nutritious than non-organic food. This is because organic and non-organic foods are simply two different ways to grow food. Therefore, offering your baby a variety of foods is the healthiest option. However, this can be a tricky topic and if you still have questions about what’s best for your baby, don’t hesitate to book a free call with a Registered Dietitian at The Nest.
Article written by Julie Van Osch
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- Unlock Food [Internet]. Canada: Dietitians of Canada; c2022 [updated 2018 Dec 3; cited 2022 Apr 15]. Understanding organic foods; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Farming-Food-production/Organic-Foods-and-Growing-Methods-FAQ.aspx
- Lane A, Schaer L. The real dirt on farming, 5th ed. [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2022 Apr 15];5:[60 p]. Available from: https://www.realdirtonfarming.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Dirt-Layout2020-LR-singles-2021.pdf
- Unlock Food [Internet]. Canada: Dietitians of Canada; c2022 [updated 2018 Jul 25; cited 2022 Apr 15]. All about store bought baby food; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Infant-feeding/All-About-Store-Bought-Baby-Food.aspx