A worker cuts organic spinach during the fall harvest at Grant Family Farms on October 11, 2011 in Wellington, Colorado
A worker cuts organic spinach during the fall harvest at Grant Family Farms on October 11, 2011 in Wellington, Colorado - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

If you're seeking ways to make your diet just a bit healthier, you've probably heard the classic argument that organic food is better for you, and that you shouldn't touch GMOs with a ten-foot-pole.  

But as New York Times columnist Mark Bittman argues, you're probably focusing on the wrong ideas.

"With 'organic,' I think the word is ill-defined," he says. "There's nothing wrong with the desire to eat organic food, but focusing on the word 'organic' as if it were a panacea is a problem. With GMOs, it's the opposite--there's nothing particularly good about them, but on the other hand, to be afraid of them is a way stronger reaction than necessary."

Bittman argues in his latest column that it's not about how the label describes the food we put in our diets.

"Eating organic food is maybe preferable--whether it's nutritionally superior is questionable--but it's a secondary consideration," he said. "The primary consideration is what's in your diet. It's not about whether you can afford to eat organic, it's about whether you can afford to eat better. And for 80 or 90 percent of the people in the United States, the answer to that is yes."

But Bittman, who supports going fully vegan before 6 p.m. in his new book, cautions against lumping "veganism" into the same "healthy" category.

"Veganism implies healthy, but you can eat Oreos and Coke and still be vegan," he said.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow David Gura at @davidgura