Recent research at New York's Cornell University has found shoppers are wrongly influenced by organic labels, tricking some of us into buying foods that are not really what we big them up to be, dubbed the 'health halo effect'.
The study found that some people are buying food that they think is healthier and lighter in calories when it isn't always the case.
Researchers also found that people who regularly buy organic food products and are generally more 'green' are much less susceptible to the 'health halo effect'. So why not take a few of our top five tips to be a smart organic shopper...
1. Vegucate yourself. Most of us buy organic food to avoid pesticide residue and although these foods are lower in pesticides, an organic label doesn't always mean chemical-free.
Think about the produce you're buying - strawberries, celery, bell peppers, carrots and potatoes are more difficult to wash so you're more likely to ingest the pesticides. Your best bet is to think about the skin of the crop - will it be easy to wash or does it have bumps and ridges? Use this as a rule of thumb.
2. Buy produce in season, they are less likely to contain pesticides.
What is in season now? Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, leeks, spinach, spring onions, watercress, bananas, kiwi, rhubarb and passion fruit. A cheeky google search will help when it comes to choosing seasonal produce.
3. Read the label. Just because it's made out of organic ingredients doesn't mean its healthy or low in calories. You can make organic cookies but that doesn't make them 'healthier'. Nice try though.
All products in the UK have GDA labelling making it easier for you to read the key five nutrients that will help you make an informed decision. Check the label for fat, salt and sugar content and then evaluate (to avoid being tricked again).
4. Shop at your local farmer's market. Not only will the food be less susceptible to pesticides, but you'll be supporting Britain's farmers and in return getting quality food at reasonable prices. Hurrah.
5. Want a green thumb? Consider growing your own vegetables and herbs. Buying food in the supermarket cannot compete with the freshness of home grown crops. There's nothing more satisfying than taking a bite your own home-cooked meal and thinking 'Mmm I grew this'. Your purse will also thank you for it!
Will you be following these top tips? Let us know...
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