Why an Organic Diet Will Help You Reach Your Weight Loss Goals

Obesity is a word that is rapidly becoming synonymous with American culture. With 68% of Americans considered overweight, and 34% defined as clinically obese, weight loss is a topic that, increasingly, touches the lives of all manner of American citizens.

In a culture where the benefits of sugar-free and low fat foods, with regards to weight loss, are recited ad nauseam by the nation’s food manufacturers, the size of the average American’s waist line still appears to be increasing.

Recent research indicates that the gravity of the obesity problem in the United States continues to increase, largely owing to a fundamental misunderstanding about the food we ingest, as much as Americans’ proclivity for overeating and inactivity.

There’s more to losing weight, and improving one’s health, than merely cutting down on your calorie intake. While low fat and low-sugar foodstuffs may seem a more intelligent option at meal times, owing to their lower caloric content, genetically modified, non-organic foods are, ironically, part of the problem, not part of the solution.      

Organic food: The ultimate catalyst for triggering weight loss  

If you’re serious about losing weight, it’s imperative to be aware of the impact that the food that you ingest will have on your body.

While spending hours in the gym, and switching to sugar-free and low fat alternatives, may seem like an attractive, and easier, route to reaching your weight loss goals, truly effective weight loss programs are built on the solid foundations of a healthy, organic diet, for a number of reasons.

Non-organic foods actually cause weight gain

Maintaining a diet which is rich in non-organic foods is a sure fire way to gain weight.

These sorts of foods are grown using harmful chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides, and growth hormones, as a means of maximising the, per square inch, financial output of farmers and other producers of non-organic foods. While it has long been recognised that there is a direct link between chemical fertilisers and cancer, the medical world is beginning to uncover evidence to suggest that these chemicals are also serving to exacerbate the problem of obesity.   

The production phase of food processing is, however, where the most damage is being done. As organic food is not always as tasty as we would like, in a bid to sell more of a given product, manufacturers add flavour-enhancing chemicals to their food, including monosodium glutamate (MSG). Such artificial flavourings switch off the satiety valve in our brains, thus requiring us to eat more of any given product before we become full.   

The delayed satiety that we feel, when eating artificially flavoured foodstuffs, assures that overeating is becoming a more common trend within American society. As Americans begin to crave artificially flavored goods more frequently, and require larger and larger volumes of a specific food to feel full, it’s little wonder that a study in the journal Obesity discovered that, relative to a person who does not consume MSG, those people who regularly ingest MSG are three times more likely to become obese.  MSG has been linked to weight gain.

In addition to the feeling of delayed satiety, the high concentration of chemicals in non-organic foods also has a rather alarming internal, biological impact upon the human body. Not only do the chemicals in such foods cause you to retain water, and thus put on weight, they also kill off the beneficial bacteria found in your gut. While the reduction in the volume of “good” bacteria negatively impacts on the strength of the immune system, the unfavourable balance of such bacteria in the gut also leads to bloating and more fat being stored around the abdominal region. 

Organic meat is rich in CLA, while being infinitely leaner

Common sense, as well as scientific evidence, dictates that nutritious, lean meat is preferential when making a commitment to losing weight. And when analysing the content of organic vs. non-organic meat, there really is no comparison.

In much the same way that efficiency and maximum financial output are prized in the production of crops, the very nature of the way in which non-organic livestock is reared fundamentally differs from its organic counterpart.

Non-organic chickens, for example, are fed a diet that is rich in hormones and antibiotics, resulting in unnaturally large chickens, with an associated high fat content, while their organic counterparts are leaner, thinner, and have a far lower body fat percentage, as a result of their more natural rearing. 

While lean, organic meats contain higher concentrations of beneficial fatty acids, such as Omega-3, they also, inherently, contain more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). The concentration of CLA found in organic, grass-fed meat is almost three times that of its non-organic compatriot. And the benefits of CLA are palpable.

Indeed, several studies have shown that CLA is a key component in reducing body fat. One study found that a 3.2g per day dose of CLA supplementation increases lean body mass, catalysing weight loss of up to 1lb over a five week period.

Organic food is nutrient dense

Non-organic foods contain a large number of “empty calories.” These are defined as calories which have a low nutrient content, providing little benefit to the human body.

Conversely, organic fruits and vegetables, according to studies conducted by researchers from Newcastle’s School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, are considerably more nutrient rich than non-organic foodstuffs, packed full of secondary metabolites, as well as higher concentrations of vitamin C.

The nutrients found more readily in organic produce not only have the impact of strengthening your body’s immune system and protecting your body from the dangers of free radicals, but there is evidence they are also more simply converted into energy than the calories found in non-organic foodstuffs. The more effective conversion process means that the body no longer has to endure as many peaks and dips in energy output, increasing the likelihood that you will undertake exercise, as well as reacting favourably to the redundant requirement to expel toxins, ingested through the chemicals contained in non-organic foods.   

A calorie is not a calorie

Although I alluded to it before, it’s imperative to realise that calorie content does not necessarily dictate how beneficial, or harmful, an item of food is for your body. Calories are not all created equal; it’s how the body metabolises that calorie that is most important. 

If we take the example of choosing whether to eat a 100 calorie pack of Lorna Doone Shortbread Cookie Crisps or two table spoons of Tahini, we discover an alarming truth. Even though Tahini has an inherently higher caloric and fat content, its superior nutrient density makes it easier for your body to metabolise. As much of the Tahini is metabolised and converted into energy, little is stored around your abdomen. The high fructose corn syrup content of a 100 calorie pack of Lorna Doone Shortbread Cookie Crisps, meanwhile, ensures that a vast quantity of the toxins, contained in the food, are stored in your fat.

The importance of dietary fiber

If weight loss is your goal, a high fiber diet, derived from the consumption of organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, is utterly essential.

The inherent fiber-rich nature of such foods means that they stay in our stomach much longer than other non-organic foodstuffs; a fact which ensures that we feel fuller for longer, reduces food cravings, discourages overeating, and ultimately helps us to lose weight.

In addition to feeling fuller, carcinogens, contained in our intestines, bind easily to fibre, guiding it through our colon quickly, thus reducing the incidence of colon cancer. As fibre also helps to remove cholesterol from our bodies, it also greatly reduces the risk of heart disease. 

Eat smart

If you’re serious about losing weight, making the switch to organic food, while beneficial, is merely the first step towards achieving your goal. It is also essential to monitor your calorie intake.

If a food product is adorned with an organic label, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has a low caloric content; a mistake which a worrying proportion of Americans seem to make, according to Norbert Schwarz and Jonathon Schuldt’s 2010 report, published in the journal Judgment and Decision Making.

When shopping for organic produce, be smart and take the time to read the label, to ensure that you are fully aware of the number, and quality, of calories that you are putting into your body. Failure to make this change could inhibit any real progress towards weight loss.

Get active

While a balanced, organic, calorie controlled, diet will ensure that your quest for weight loss is built on solid foundations, you will not see real, transformative change, in terms of your body composition, without following a regular exercise regime.

A blend of cardio and weight lifting is the optimum way to lose weight, increase lean muscle mass, and improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Any journey begins with a single step

Making the decision to change your lifestyle and to finally lose that spare tyre is half the battle. Staying motivated, long after the initial enthusiasm has worn off, however, takes a certain degree of mental fortitude.

The desire to “fall off the wagon” and slip in to bad habits will be overpowering at times. The aesthetic results you see, and the psychological benefits associated with weight loss, should, however, be enough to steer you through the dark times.

Remember, the first step is always the hardest one to make. Once you’ve committed to change, and momentum begins to play its part, there’ll be no stopping you.

Author Bio:

Kelly writes about health and nutrition. She endorses Weight Watchers, not as a diet, but as a way of eating healthy. She gives away coupons to help you save on this proven weight management program. As an avid sportsman, who plays an hour or more of sport every day, Kelly is very particular about what he puts into his body. Kelly has been eating organic food for over a decade and prizes greatly the feeling of wellbeing that it gives him. Organic food enables Kelly to stay lean, as well as perform in the sports arena, at the highest level.

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