What’s the latest trend? Natural, that’s the buzz – everyone wants “natural” and is willing to pay more for it. Eating natural seems to mean healthy to most Americans.
The big question is: has the real definition of natural been so contorted that it is just seven letters slapped on a food label with the intention of misleading consumers?
What Does “Natural” Really Mean?
At one time, the word natural may have meant maple syrup dripping from a tree or a fresh honeycomb pulled from the hive, or even a just-laid an egg from a free-range chicken. Our understanding of the word was once generally synonymous with visions of nature, pure and unhampered.
We have lived in a culture with fake foods for so long that we may no longer compare natural to nature but natural to all the other processed foods around us.
For instance, a bag of regular chips compared to a bag of natural corn chips may seem like a fair comparison, however, the natural in the corn chips means nothing since the corn is likely genetically modified, and the chips probably contain more unnatural ingredients than natural ingredients.
Compromised Nutrient Quality
While there are a lot of so called “natural” foods in the grocery store that contain ingredients that once came from nature, they no longer have the same nutritional blueprint that they once did. Foods that undergo any sort of manufacturing processing become devoid of nutrients pretty quickly.
This is why you see so many foods with labels claiming to have added vitamins and enriched nutrients. The problem is that once we strip foods of their nutrients, it does not work simply to inject them back in.
Vitamins and minerals work in combination with each other and with the ingredients in foods to deliver complete nutritional value. For instance, the best and most useable form of vitamin C comes from a whole orange, not synthetic vitamin C injected into a food item.
There are more lawsuits in process regarding false claims of food manufacturers than you can shake a stick at. In one such case, lawyers are suing General Mills over their Nature Valley granola bars that contain artificial ingredients. Another case is against Frito Lay because their so called “natural” Sun Chips and Tostitos are made from genetically modified ingredients.
The real problem, however is the lack of standard. In reality, there are no standards that define which foods are natural and which ones are not. No one really knows what will happen with these cases or any that follow since there are no regulations – the FDA has simply turned its back on the entire issue.
A Better Way
A better way to determine how much manhandling food has experienced is to read the label. If you see things that you don’t understand, the food is probably not natural. The further food is away from its true natural state, the less likely it is to be of any benefit to you.
-The Alternative Daily