The importance of buying organic also depends on who is eating it. For example, children may see an outsized benefit from the reduced exposure to pesticides. The American Academy of Pediatrics studied pesticide exposure in children and found that "children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity." In particular, the academy said, "Epidemiologic evidence demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems."
Clearly, organic foods seem to offer benefits conventional food does not, but organic can be pricy. Consumer Reports compared prices on organic and conventional versions of 100 foods and found that on average, organics cost 47 percent more. But the price differences varied widely, and in some cases, organic was actually cheaper. (Tweet This)
Organic zucchini cost $3.99 a pound at Fresh Direct, more than four times the 99 cents Fresh Direct charged for conventional zucchini. But organic maple syrup was cheaper than regular at Peapod, Price Chopper and Whole Foods. Shopping around makes a huge difference in what you will pay for organic food.
If shopping around still leaves your grocery bill too high, you can get strategic about organic foods and shell out for the ones that help you avoid the most pesticides. Dr. Andrew Weil has researched which foods contain high and low levels of pesticides, and the lists he published suggest some spending priorities. (Think apples, celery and blueberries.)
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