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6 Food Claims to Pay Attention to—and 4 to Ignore

Reader's Digest Logo By Jenn Sinrich of Reader's Digest | Slide 1 of 9: <p>If there's one food claim you can't avoid seeing just about everywhere, from grocery stores to high-end restaurants, it's organic. (Here are <a href='http://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/13-things-you-didnt-know-about-organic-food/1'>13+ things you didn't know about organic food</a>.) The term is given to USDA-certified foods that are grown and processed according to specific federal guidelines. The farmers must adhere to seriously strict standards regarding soil quality, animal-raising practices, pest and weed control, and the use of additives. As with all organic food, none of it is grown with or even touched by genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which the organic standards prohibit (although it is not tested). 'Every food variety has different standards,' explains Abigail Joy Dougherty, RDN, nutrition consultant at <a href='https://www.facebook.com/TheSoulOfHealth/'>The Soul of Health Nutrition</a>. 'Produce can be called organic if it's certified to have been grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest and is non-GMO.' Meat regulations, on the other hand, are more rigorous, requiring that animals are raised in living conditions that accommodate their natural behaviors (like the ability to graze on pasture), fed 100 percent organic feed and forage, and are not administered antibiotics or hormones. And processed organic foods have their own set of regulations, prohibiting the use of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors, and requiring the use of all-organic ingredients. 'I believe eating organic is ethical and economic, but it still might not be right for everyone based on their budget,' says Dougherty.</p>

Pay attention to: 'Organic'

Everything you need to know about those sometimes confusing nutrition claims on your grocery-store buys.

If there's one food claim you can't avoid seeing just about everywhere, from grocery stores to high-end restaurants, it's organic. The term is given to USDA-certified foods that are grown and processed according to specific federal guidelines. The farmers must adhere to seriously strict standards regarding soil quality, animal-raising practices, pest and weed control, and the use of additives. As with all organic food, none of it is grown with or even touched by genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which the organic standards prohibit (although it is not tested). 'Every food variety has different standards,' explains Abigail Joy Dougherty, RDN, nutrition consultant at The Soul of Health Nutrition. 'Produce can be called organic if it's certified to have been grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest and is non-GMO.' Meat regulations, on the other hand, are more rigorous, requiring that animals are raised in living conditions that accommodate their natural behaviors (like the ability to graze on pasture), fed 100 percent organic feed and forage, and are not administered antibiotics or hormones. And processed organic foods have their own set of regulations, prohibiting the use of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors, and requiring the use of all-organic ingredients. 'I believe eating organic is ethical and economic, but it still might not be right for everyone based on their budget,' says Dougherty.

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