People often ask me if organic food is worth the price since it's often more expensive than conventional produce. My answer is "sometimes."

Organic foods are grown without chemical fertilizers, insecticides or pesticides. People often choose to buy organic because they don't want to consume any chemicals and/or they are doing to their part to conserve the environment. In fact, organic foods are so popular that nearly a quarter of American shoppers now buy organic products once a week. But are they more nutritious than conventional foods? The answer is probably not. Studies suggest that organic foods do not contain more vitamins or nutrients than conventionally grown foods. So if you are choosing organic, do so because you don't want to ingest chemicals or you want to help sustain the environment-not because you want more vitamin C.

If you are concerned about pesticide residue, spend your money on buying organic foods that you eat whole (with the skin-where the residue would be). Apple, cherries, grapes, nectarines, pears, peaches, raspberries and strawberries contain the most residues so these may be worth spending a few extra cents on. Kiwi, mango, bananas, papaya and pineapple (all fruits you peel,) contain the least residue and you can save your money and buy conventional.

Keep in mind that organic doesn't always mean freshest. Many people are choosing to buy from local farms because the food is fresher even it isn't organic. Keep in mind many areas of the country can't grow produce year round, so if you are buying organic oranges in the winter, chances are they traveled from California or farther to get to your market. Eating seasonally is the best way to ensure that you are getting the freshest and most nutritious foods available.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto

www.FFactorDiet.com

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Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.

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