Consider Yourself Judged: Organic Foods Can Make People Self-Righteous

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We’ve been there. There’s always that person at the grocery store or farmer’s market who judges you for not buying every single little thing that’s organic.

It could be a look, the handing over of a pamphlet, or a condescending lecture on all things non-processed.

In any case, some people seem to get such joy in making you feel bad for not going au naturale with your food all the time.

Well, scientists have been hard at work trying to figure out why those people are so judgmental.

Here’s the scoop:

In an interesting study by researchers at Loyola University, participants were divided into three separate groups. Each party was shown organic foods, comfort foods (brownies — yum!), or non-organic, non-comfort foods (like condiments).

Then, to determine moral judgment, every person was asked how many minutes they would be willing to give up to help a stranger and also given fictional situations to judge.

The results on helping someone you didn’t know showed that the comfort foods group gave 24 minutes of their time, the non-organic, non-comfort group offered 19…and those organic eaters gave just 13 measly minutes. What’s more, those who ate organic were also more likely to judge moral mistakes more harshly than the others.

So what’s the deal?

One of the researchers believe that people who eat organically experience a kind of self-congratulatory, “pat yourself on the back” behavior. This means that they think that doing a good deed (eating organic) then excuses them from bad behavior (not helping someone) later.

Whether you eat only grass-fed beef or pick and choose your organic grocery list, we could all use a little less judgment in the world, don’t you think? Let’s keep our eyes on our own grocery baskets, please!

Do you eat only organic? What do you think of this study?

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