Graphic: THE TOP TEN OFFENDERS
By Martha Hicks Leta
You’ve no doubt heard it from your Fitness Together trainer more than once: If you want to achieve your fitness goals, you must clean up your diet by eating “clean.” The first time you hear the term it may send you into a Googling frenzy for some sort of explanation, which will lead you to all sorts of articles on Tosca Reno. Her “Eat-Clean Diet,” which has made its author and her publisher husband a tidy fortune, offers a sensible diet focusing on eating natural foods without preservatives–fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. No white flour, sugar or processed foods. The credo is, “If man made it, don’t eat it.” Makes sense, right?
But as you shift toward a more produce-laden diet, you should know that some members of the produce family aren’t as clean as they appear. We’re talking mainly about pesticides.
Pesticides are designed to kill living organisms—bugs, mold, fungi and weeds—that interfere with abundant production of the shiny and perfect produce we American’s have grown to know and love. Global independent research conducted by scientists and physicians has established certain health risks posed by pesticide residue, such as nervous system toxicity, certain cancers, immune system disorders and irritation of skin, eyes and lungs.
Though we may wash and rewash our produce, a significant amount of residue remains. Testing of produce by the USDA shows widespread pesticide contamination on most of the popular fruits and vegetables that end up in your local grocery store. According to the Environmental Working Group, a public health and environmental advocacy non-profit, 63% of the samples analyzed show the prevalence of at least one pesticide after normal washing. Ten percent of the samples had five or more different pesticide residues.
Does this mean we should all go back to eating Twinkies and French fries? No. If you want to reduce pesticides in your diet, you have a few options: First, when possible, buy organic. But if your budget doesn’t allow for the added expense, do not despair. The EWG has put together a list of “The Clean 15” and “The Dirty Dozen” of produce. Sadly, some our best staples are the worst offenders on the Dirty Dozen list. The top three are apples, celery and strawberries. The top three best bets for eating clean are onions, corn and pineapples.
No matter how careful we are, the fact is that we live in a world in which we are surrounded by chemicals. Though health experts advise that the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweighs the risks of any associated pesticide exposure, it’s best to shop smart to reduce your risks.
PESTICIDES IN PRODUCE Dr. Andrew Weil, renowned medical expert on natural health and wellness, tells why and how he uses the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists from EWG’s Shoppers Guide to Pesticides.
For a complete list of the cleanest produce or to get a free app for your smart phone go to EWG Shopper’s Guide To Pesticides
To find out more about our custom-fit FT Nutrition and Fitness Plans, check out FTGetsResults for the studio closest to you.