A new report from Consumer’s Report suggests that if you’re like most Americans you believe a food advertising the word “natural” actually means something. Unfortunately this isn’t the case and hasn’t been for quite some time.
The word “natural” is a completely unregulated marketing term. It’s likely that something about the product can be found in nature. For example, soybeans can be a natural food. However, 94% of the soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified, usually to resist Round Up – a pesticide that will kill all the plants it contacts except for those who have been engineered to resist it. Consider “All Natural Vegetable Oil.” Made of GMO soybeans it is actually a product full of soybeans that behave in a way that wouldn’t exist without the genetic engineering in response to increasingly heavy doses of pesticides – which themselves are man-made products. Not exactly “natural” and certainly not “naturally occurring.”
Also consider under this light nutritional supplements. Many nutritional supplements are labeled “natural” but wouldn’t actually occur in nature in the way they are packaged to us. From http://www.non-gmoreport.com:
“GM microorganisms are used to make vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), xanthan (a thickener), citric acid, and enzymes used in cheeses, breads and baked goods, alcoholic beverages, and juice.”
To be clear, there are some vitamins that are produced within us from our indigenous gut bacteria. These are naturally occurring vitamins. But, taking a vitamin synthetically manufactured in a lab, feeding it to a bacteria and calling the end product “natural”…probably not what you thought it was. You can read here about why I offer my patients and family the supplements that I do.
No doubt the nutritional label is a confusing place, so how do we make this
easy easier? Back to my old joke – there are reasons for the terms “man made” and “mother nature.” (Men screw up everything and women don’t (usually).) Jokes aside, it’s pretty easy to see what grows in a garden or on a farm. Fruits, vegetables and meat. Simple, natural whole foods. These should make up the largest part of your diet. Anything that comes with a label and requires an adversing campaign is usually wo/man made.
Vegetable oil doesn’t grow on a plant. Even organic, non-GMO vegetable oil. It’s manufactured from a plant IN a plant. I’ll extend that to coconut oil – can be a nutritious part of a diet, but still is a manufactured product (and not a requirement to achieve “health”).
How do we know that the seemingly “natural” foods aren’t tampered with by man? Look for the certified organic label – it actually means that it’s not genetically modified and not sprayed with pesticides. Or get to know your local farmer and his practices and support his efforts. (Read more on my thoughts about organic)
If we want to grow stronger each day, one of the things we need to do is eat more foods that are pure and sufficient than foods that are not pure and not naturally occurring.
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