“Natural” Chicken Versus Organic: How to Decide Which to Purchase
Use this as a guide to help you make the best decision for you and your family
- Organic chicken is obviously more expensive. If you cannot afford organic chicken, look for local farms. Many use organic practices but do not pay for the certification since they are small operations. If you eat a lot of meat and poultry, you may want to consider buying these foods organic due to the high GMO and antibiotic content.
- No chicken in the US can be given hormones legally. This is all chicken, organic and non-organic.
- Antibiotics are added to the feed of non-organic chicken’s b/c of the close quarters they live in and thus the risk of them spreading infection and disease. Have you ever seen how these chickens live and the inhumane environment they are in? Keep in mind “you are what you eat and you are what your food eats”. Go to http://freefromharm.org/animalagriculture/chickens-facts-industry-doesnt-want-know/
- Because non-organic chickens are given antibiotics in the feed, this can lead to drug resistant bacteria which can become an issue when you have a bacterial infection and your antibiotic won’t work. This can also lead to drug resistant bacteria in the chicken.
- Organic chicken contains more omega 3 EFA’s (essential fatty acids). This is because of the vegetation/insects that they get to eat. A grain based diet is higher in omega 6 EFA’s which leads to systemic inflammation in your body. (we need omega 3’s and omega 6’s and we need to get them from food or supplementation but balance is important.) Most people tend to get too many omega 6’s in the diet and too little in the way of omega 3’s-you want to reverse this ratio.
- Organic chicken gets to eat insects and vegetation. Organic chickens eat a diet of organic feed and due to access to pasture also get to eat bugs and insects. Chicken that is non-organic is typically fed a GMO grain based diet and does not get these other natural foods into their diet. This GMO grain based diet in turn can then affect your health when you consume these foods on a regular basis.
- Natural: This word is essentially meaningless. Most meats qualify for this such as beef, poultry and eggs. It is a meaningless adjective that just means that the product is minimally processed and no artificial flavoring, color or preservatives are added AFTER slaughter. (The harm is done when the chickens are alive by adding in GMO feed, antibiotics and in the case of beef, hormones).
- Outdoor space: Organic chicken is required to have a space. Free range a meaningless term here as the chickens may just have outside access of a small slab of concrete. Organic chicken must have pasture access. More than likely your small local farmer is going to be able to provide more pasture access than the large organic famer. Either way, this is better for the chicken and results in a less stressed and healthier bird. The confined chickens do not have room to roam, do not get sunlight, fresh air, and are stressed due to the living conditions and treatment. They are also often injured due to the over- crowded space.
(aka “All Natural”)
|Higher in Omega 3 EFA||YES||NO|
|GMO Grain based diet||NO||YES|
|Antibiotics in feed||NO||YES|
|Outdoor Space provided||YES||NO|
(chicken per pound on average cost $2.69 to $4.99)
(chicken per pound on average $1.50 to $2.48)
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Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC.
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As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.