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The Difference Between Whole Foods and Organic Foods

Fitday Editor

If you are confused about the difference between whole foods and organic foods, read below to better understand these terms. Both whole foods and organic foods are beneficial for the human body compared to foods that contain chemicals and preservatives.

What are Whole Foods?

The term whole food refers to any food that is as close to its natural state as possible for consumption. This means that the food is unprocessed and unrefined. Whole foods are free of chemicals, additives and preservatives.

Health Benefits of Whole Foods

When foods are processed, vitamins, minerals, fiber and water are often lost during the process, which makes the food less healthy. Often artificial coloring, preservatives and flavorings are added to food during processing. All of these things can negatively impact one's health. Whole foods are not processed nor do they have any of these unhealthy additives.

Additionally, whole foods do not have any unnecessary added sugars and salt. Both of these have links to obesity and high blood pressure. The human body can handle breaking down natural sugars and sodium better than these artificial additives.

Examples of Whole Foods

Fruits and vegetables are a simple example of a whole food. Other types of whole foods include nuts, beans, seeds, milk, eggs and certain cuts of meat, fish and poultry. If any additives or processing has occurred, then a food is no longer considered a whole food. The process of pasteurization to milk is not considered an unnatural process and pasteurized milk is still considered a whole food.

What are Organic Foods?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the term organic foods refers to poultry, meat, dairy and eggs that come from animals that are free of antibiotics and growth hormones. Organic fruits and vegetables are have never been treated with pesticides, ionizing radiation or bioengineering.

To be certified as organic, certified government officials visit the farms and plants that grow and process these foods. After inspection, if the locations are up to USDA standards, then the farm or plant are certified as organic.


To be 100% organic, a food must contain all organically grown ingredients. To be labeled as organic, a food must contain 95% organic ingredients. Five percent of these ingredients can be non-organic but must not contain sulfites. To be labeled as 'Made with Organic Ingredients' the food must contain at least 70% organic ingredients. The remaining 30% of ingredients can be non-organic but must not contain sulfites.

For animal foods to be labeled as organic, the animal must have access to the outdoors.

Health Benefits of Organic Foods

Organic foods are considered healthier than non-organic foods because they do not contain any pesticides or chemicals. Additionally, certain organic foods have shown to have higher amounts of vitamin C and protein than their non-organic counterparts. Research shows that organically fed animals tend to be healthier than animals that are fed non-organic feed.


In addition to the human benefits of organic food, organic food also benefits the environment. Organic farms do not produce pesticides or fertilizer run-off, which often can end up in rivers, lakes or streams. These chemicals could containment drinking water and destroy habitats. Research has shown that certain pesticides are toxic and can lead to health problems such as Parkinson's disease, cancer, reproductive disorders and respiratory problems.

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