Organic or Ordinary? Picking Produce for Medical Weight LossPosted: May 21, 2013 in Healthy Eating by Craig Primack MD FACP
It’s no big secret that fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy diet. Chock full of important nutrients and unique flavors, these foods should become a big part of your diet as you lose weight, especially once you’re done with meal replacements for good. But vitamins and minerals aren’t the only things hiding in our fresh fruits and veggies. Today’s produce is grown with pesticides, which are poisons used to keep away bugs and fungi that would otherwise eat through farmers’ crops. While we still aren’t sure exactly how these substances affect our health, the evidence so far shows that pesticides can have a toxic impact on the nervous system and even lead to tumors and Parkinson’s disease. An organization called the Environmental Working Group (EWG) inspects pesticide levels in produce, and according to their estimates, these chemicals are found in about 67 percent of fruits and vegetables. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution: buying organic produce. Organic food is grown without the use of pesticides, and for many people, this is reason enough to eat it. Still, organic fruits and veggies come with higher price tags, making them unaffordable for many of us. For this reason, the EWG has released a list of the foods that tend to contain the most pesticides (the “Dirty Dozen”) and a list of foods that usually have little pesticide residue (the “Clean Fifteen”). By using these lists, you can strike a balance between your health and your checkbook by buying organic only when most necessary.
The Dirty Dozen:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hot peppers
- Sweet bell peppers
- Also look out for: summer squash, kale and collard greens
The Clean Fifteen
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
All this talk of pesticides can be scary, but it’s important not to let the fear of these chemicals scare you away from eating fruits and veggies altogether. We need fresh produce to help us stay healthy, so if you’re worried about the potential impacts of pesticides as you lose weight, try carrying these lists with you to the grocery store to make more informed decisions about the foods you eat.