If a label on a food product reads, "all-natural," it must be all-natural, right?
If a juice box is labeled, "Made with all-natural ingredients," it's 100 percent natural, correct?
When I hear the word "natural," I automatically think "made in the original form."
The exact definition of natural is "existing in or caused by nature."
Alright, that's simple enough.
The Grand Canyon is natural. Going make-up free means going natural. Solar energy is natural.
But what does "natural" food really entail?
It's a trick question because no one knows.
The government does not have a legitimate definition for "natural food." This gives manufacturers the ability to create their own meaning of the word.
Natural food should define food that is undisturbed, uninterrupted and created and maintained on its own.
It should not contain chemicals, pesticides or artificial flavors.
How can manufacturers call themselves a word that hasn't even been defined?
"All-natural" chips could actually just mean, "Hey, it all started from a potato."
Yes, but the potato did not naturally contain peanut oil, corn starch, garlic powder or yeast extract.
The FDA considers foods with no artificial or synthetic ingredients to be natural.
However, this does not cover production or manufacturing methods.
Different manufacturers use different modifications for the leave-it-up-to-you definition.
Grape juice can be labeled "natural" because a grape is a natural fruit.
But, most manufacturers substitute the real fruit for a scientifically created flavor to reduce costs.
Fruit flavoring and fruit are two different things. Just because it tastes like a natural fruit does not mean it is natural.
These misleading food labels make it difficult for a consumer to know what he or she is getting.
Don't we deserve to know what we're putting into our bodies?
Sure, food labels exist, but unless you're familiar with words like "maltodextrin," you're probably going to be easily influenced by the word "natural."
Many consumers are tricked every day by these "natural" brands we've come to love.
Here are five "all-natural" foods and beverages that are anything but:
1. Bottled Teas
Many bottled iced teas contain more than just their "natural" promises.
High levels of fructose corn syrup replace real sugar.
Flavored teas aren't coming from squeezed fruit. Instead, they are using "fruit flavoring" or "natural flavors."
Why? Because it's cheaper.
Natural and artificial flavoring make up a lot of packaged yogurts.
Unless the yogurt is organic, the dairy most likely came from a cow pumped full of chemicals and growth hormones.
Why? One cow can't provide everything necessary in a natural way.
Bottled juices don't contain real fruits and natural sugars like we are told.
4. Chocolate-Flavored Cookies
The key word here is "flavored."
This is not real chocolate made from cocoa beans, but flavored chocolate that contains several artificial ingredients that cheaply replace cocoa beans.
The "100 percent natural" promise doesn't mention the fact the dairy coming from the cow was shot up with chemicals and growth hormones.
Just because it's coming from a cow, that doesn't make it natural.
The cow ingesting the chemicals is producing unnatural dairy.
Basically, our most "natural" foods are being recreated.
Fruits are grown with the chemicals, and sugars are added to smoothies, yogurts, cereal and granola bars.
Dairy is coming from cows that are overloaded with chemicals and hormones.
Manufacturers don't want to provide us with the healthiest, cleanest ingredients. They want to provide us with the cheapest ingredients.
In the mean time, our bodies are being deprived of what we need.
Don't trust food labels and "all-natural" claims.
Why? Because there is no definition for that word.