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Why Does “Organic” Matter For Sports Nutrition?

04/12/17

Illustration by Chris Ede – the transition from synthetic to organic nutrition

Most of us naturally prefer the idea of organic ingredients over processed, artificial food. You already buy fresh ingredients, shop locally when you can, and choose natural whole foods.

Organic food is more nutrient dense, better for the environment, and it usually tastes better too. Personal instinct is one thing, but what does the science say about organic ingredients for sports nutrition?

Does it really matter about the ingredients in your whey protein, pre workouts, and hydration products? Let’s look at what science has to say about organic ingredients, milk, and food production.

Man running through DNA

Man running from synthetic to organic

What Does Organic Mean?

The dictionary tells us that “organic” means derived from living matter. But we kind of knew that already, right? Even without thinking about it, we know that organic means real, natural, and whole.

It’s important to know the food industry definition of organic, too.

Organic food production aims to be as natural and simple as possible, with high levels of animal welfare and strict rules about pesticides and fertilisers. Organic farming and food production does have a legal definition, and organic farmers have to comply with guidelines. Within the UK (the home of Natural Organics), the minimum legal standard is set by the Government who are advised by the ACOS (Advisory Committee on Organic Standards). The organic food chain is monitored and registered by a variety of bodies in the UK, including the Soil Association and the Organic Food Federation. At a basic level,

So now we know what organic food is, it’s time to ask the question which really matters to us as individuals: does organic sports nutrition really matter?

The Science Of Organic Foods

You might instinctively feel that organic food is healthier. And many experts agree with you, suggesting that organic food has more nutrients (or retains more of them during the food production process).

In 2014, the British Journal of Nutrition published a systematic review and meta analysis into the nutrition of organic foods, looking at 343 studies from around the world. This was the most comprehensive scientific analysis about organic foods. It concluded that there is are “statistically significant” and “meaningful” differences in nutritional values between organic and non-organic foods. Organic crops (on average) have significantly higher concentrations of antioxidants (as high as 69% in some cases), and lower incidence of pesticide residues, according to the study.

A plant-rich diet has a range of benefits, including the amount of antioxidants it gives us. This study said that the level of antioxidants in organic foods can be linked to reduced risk of chronic diseases.

It’s not just about organic ingredients like vegetables, fruits, and berries (which we use to flavour and sweeten our products). It’s also about milk – a fundamental product for any protein supplement company. Our Organic Whey uses milk from organic grass-fed cows.

The 2014 meta analysis also looked at the nutritional benefits of organic milk. The positive findings were later supported by a 2016 meta analysis which looked at 196 studies on organic, grass-fed cows. It found that the milk from grass fed cows has 50% more omega-3 fatty acids (than non-organic dairy cows).

Man running from synthetic to organic nutrition

Man changing to organic nutrition

How Our Bodies Digest Organic Foods

Good nutrition isn’t just about what you eat. It’s also about what your body can actually absorb from that food. Digestion is key to getting all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids from food. This is particularly important in sports nutrition, when we need our bodies to absorb the food just before, during, or after exercise.

If our bodies can digest organic food more easily, then we will ultimately get much more benefit from them. We ask so much of our bodies, so we should make nutrition as simple as possible!

Man running through DNA 2

Man running away from synthetic nutrition

What Organic Ingredients Are Not

You might also like to think about what organic food helps you avoid. By choosing organic sports nutrition, you send a clear message that you don’t want to support environmental damage, animal welfare problems, or food modification. On a personal level, you also show that you take your health and wellbeing seriously. Organic sports nutrition is not fake, artificial, or synthetic. It aligns with your values of simplicity, health, and all-round vitality.

Choose Organic For Your Lifestyle

Sport and fitness is a big part of your lifestyle. But you are serious about a lot of other things, too. And if those things include animal welfare, sustainable farming, and the environment, then choosing organic makes sense.

Eating organic food can limit your exposure to toxins, pesticide residues, and chemicals. Organic ants aren’t sprayed with chemical pesticides, so they naturally produce more antioxidants. And if you choose sports nutrition high in antioxidant foods (like cacao and berries), your body will access more of these important antioxidants.

We all prioritise what’s important to us and what is not. That’s exactly why Paul founded Natural Ambition in the first place!

You know what’s important to you. Align your food choices with your priorities, and you’ll feel healthier AND happier!

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