Before Your Next Bite Of Celery: Read This
If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re likely eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. That’s a smart move …. Or is it? Because if you are eating at least six servings of veggies and three servings of fruits like I recommend, you’re probably also eating up to 10 different pesticides a day!
Unless, that is, you’re eating organic fruits and vegetables, which haven’t been sprayed with synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.1
What’s wrong with pesticides?
While the effects of pesticides are not entirely clear, pesticides are toxic by design. Their sole purpose is to kill something living—insects, plants and fungi. Really, how can that possibly be any good for you?
According to the Environmental Working Group, (EWG), an environmental health research and advocacy organization, certain pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including:
- Brain and nervous system toxicity
- Hormone disruption
- Skin, eye and lung irritation
You should know that there is some debate as to whether the amounts of pesticides in conventional fruits and vegetables would be enough to cause these conditions. After reviewing the data, my personal opinion is that it is good idea to err on the side minimizing your intake.
You might remember that not too long ago the research wasn’t conclusive about cigarettes and your health …
I’ve also written previously about how some pesticides are obesogens – a chemical that increases fat storage, changes metabolic set points, and can even disrupt our ability to regulate our appetites.
In 2011, researchers found that the amount of serum “persistent organic pollutants” (compounds that accumulate in the environment) in a group of 71 obese people were two to three times higher than in a group of 18 lean people.2
The Nitty Gritty
The EWG , analyzed government data for more than 28,000 popular fruits and vegetables. What they found this year shocked me. Detectable pesticide residues were found on 67 percent of food samples.
And if you think washing your produce will do the trick, think again. The tests were conducted after the produce had been washed or peeled.
The Dirty Dozen (Plus 2)
Here’s what’s so great about the work the EWG did. Although, in general, it’s true that organic produce costs more, you can keep expenses down sticking to the list of what the EWG calls the “Dirty Dozen.” Those have the most pesticide residues and, therefore, are the most important to buy organic.
You can lower your pesticide intake by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and choosing the least contaminated produce.
Here they are:
Sweet Bell Peppers
The Least Contaminated
You can also cut costs by going conventional with certain foods that are less likely to be tainted with pesticides. The EWG has also included a list of produce that has the lowest levels of pesticide residues. The “Clean 15” as the EWG calls them, are:
Sweet Peas (frozen)
A good rule of thumb is, if you’re going to peel it before you eat it, you don’t have to spring for organic.
Organic and the Number 9
A cool trick to tell if your produce is organic is to look at the sticker.
If the numbers start with a 9, followed by four digits, it’s organic.
So, now you’ve got no excuse for not getting plenty of healthy vegetables and fruit into your diet. And if you’ve still got concerns, try RealReds, a delicious blend of eight superfruits, vegetables and enzymes! Not only is it completely safe, it gets you the anti-inflammatory benefits of four servings of fruit while eliminating over 200 calories of pure sugar.
Steve Sisskind, M.D.
Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.
As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.
Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?
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1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pesticides and food: what “organically grown” means. Available at: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/food/organics.htm.
2. Kim MJ, Marchand P, Henegar C, et al. Fate and complex pathogenic effects of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls in obese subjects before and after drastic weight loss. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;119(3):377-383. PMID: 21156398.