Our foods are fake! The fact that our once normal grocery foods have become modified and enhanced and no longer give us real nutrients is a harsh reality that we all have to face. In an effort to sustain shelf life, image quality, and year round consumption, the food industry has tampered with our consumables to the point that if we really want to eat healthy, we have to pay more. So what do the food corporations do? They create a higher tier of more expensive food; those two tiers are Organic and All Natural. Both are different and you need to know the difference.
Organic has become a lifestyle choice for many folks across the US. The idea is that organic retains nutrients that are many times lost in mass production. The term “organic” is defined by the United States Department of Agriculture, which requires stringent third party testing in order for foods to obtain the organic sticker. The main principles in an organic food are Biodiversity, Sustainability, Natural plant nutrition, Natural pest management, Diversification, and Integrity. For farmers to become certified organic, they must follow all of the guidelines and keep good records of their processes since agents can audit them anytime. As you can imagine, this process adds costs to production, but the belief is that buying organic will ensure the best possible quality of health — something that is difficult to put a price on.
The term All natural on groceries and food labels can often be deceptive, many times leading consumers to believe that they are buying healthier foods when in reality it may or may not be any more healthier than the original product. According to the USDA, foods can only be labeled “natural” if they do not contain any artificial ingredients or added colors and are minimally processed.
But as you could imagine, manufacturers will use the label “all natural” while ingredients contain MSG and GMO’s to enhance shelf life, taste, and reduce production costs. The problem with “all natural” is that there is no true regulating agency or accountability process like there is with “organic.” With just a little bit of research (like reading the label), products that claim to be all natural will contain ingredients that have been modified and hydrogenated.
The important key to eating healthy is to not trust the labels. You will have to bring your eyeglasses to the supermarket with you and read that tiny print on the back of the box. Thanks to the FDA, every ingredient has to be published on the box and if you can’t pronounce more than 5 things, it’s probably no good for you. As far as produce goes, buying organic is your best option. Being an aware consumer and reading what you are eating is the best and most important way to stay healthy and in-control of what you put in your body.