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Organic Food Turns You Into a Jerk

Love organic food? Then you're a jerk ... at least according to research.

Pschologist Kendall Eskine of Loyola University in New Orleans showed that people exposed to organic food are more judgmental and volunteer less than those exposed to comfort food:

When it came to helping out a needy stranger, the organic people also proved to be more selfish, volunteering only 13 minutes as compared to 19 minutes (for controls) and 24 minutes (for comfort food folks).

"There's something about being exposed to organic food that made them feel better about themselves," says Eskine. "And that made them kind of jerks a little bit, I guess."

Why does eating better make us act worse? Eskine says it probably has to do with what he calls "moral licensing."

"People may feel like they've done their good deed," he says. "That they have permission, or license, to act unethically later on. It's like when you go to the gym and run a few miles and you feel good about yourself, so you eat a candy bar."

Link (Photo: Shutterstock)

Previously: Are Urban Bicyclists Snobs?


It seems to be a superficial connection.Sure, if one chooses organic foods, then one displays a certain level of awareness and ability to discern between available foods (choices) and make the most prudent choice. Perhaps the repeated use of this kind of judgment shapes ones mindset in other areas of life as well. However, the author's conclusion that 'something' in the food that organic eaters eat is the 'causative' agent of superior behaviour is rather weak.. It is just a change in the mindset of the person who believes that he / she has made a better lifestyle choice than others.
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American's are increasingly "going" organic. But the process of living organic isn't made easy by the system in place. In fact, much of the food labeled organic still contains non-organic by products. The majority of the plastics are made with GE crops, specifically corn.
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@ Miss Cellania: I know what you mean. We grow all our own vegies and meat organically, but rarely buy organic food as it is so much more expensive. But I also agree 60 is not a big sample size. Nevertheless, I had a quick think about the people I know who only eat organic and bar one of them they are quite judgmental and intolerant compared to the others. I also agree that cause and effect is likely to be the other way round.
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Indeed, but the study is actually a bit more subtle than that:

They did not sort the participants into "I eat organic food", "I eat normal food," and "I eat comfort food" categories.

Instead, they showed photos of organic food, normal food, and comfort foods to 3 randomized groups. Those that view (and only view, not eat) organic food photos are found to be more judgmental.
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Correlation something something causation.

In other words, judgmental people may be more likely to eat organic food.

I wonder if people who eat out of their backyard garden which just happens to be organic but not particularly expensive were included in this study.
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