So you’ve made the decision to start eating healthier, checking labels, and looking at ingredients! Wonderful!
You go grocery shopping and as you start selecting your items, you make sure to choose the labels that say “Natural” or maybe “Organic” … They’ve got to be better for you that a box that doesn’t say “All Natural” …. Right?
The truth is the term “Natural” or “All Natural” is not regulated whatsoever by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is the national organization that we hold accountable for regulating and supervising our food production.
When I think of natural, I think fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, truly NATURAL products and ingredients.
Unfortunately, if you actually take a look at the ingredient list in many self described “Natural” food products, you’ll see that many of these products still have corn syrups and genetically modified ingredients in them.
The only actual stipulation that comes with using the word “Natural” or “100% Natural” on food packaging is that the food can’t have synthetic substances or added coloring. But there are many ways around this as well- since companies don’t have to list ingredients that are not directly incorporated into the final product!!!
Unlike “natural,” which has no clear definition, use of the “organic” food label and seal is strictly regulated by the National Organic Program, which is administered through the USDA. Foods with an organic seal are certified organic and contain at least 95% organic content (1). Organic food is produced using approved organic farming methods “that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Specifically, “synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used” to produce organic food, meaning that organic food products are not genetically modified and have not been treated with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers (1).
If you’re reading this post after grocery shopping, I bet it feels a bit defeating as you think about the products you have right now in your home that you trusted because they said “Natural.”
Keep in mind that the most important thing you can do with any food source is read the ingredient list. I know it’s difficult, but if you can’t understand what’s in it- you shouldn’t be eating it.
The healthiest sources of food are those that come from the Earth- fruits and vegetables.
Change your diet, change your life.
1. National Organic Program (last modified Oct. 17, 2012). USA.gov. Retrieved June 3, 2014.