Natural isn’t natural?! I bet you are thinking what the heck is she talking about?
All through growing up and into my adult years I always believed that buying something that said “natural” on it meant it was healthy and good for me. I never felt like I needed to read the label or research a company. I was naïve and trusted what the packaging told me. Until now.
The term ‘natural’ isn’t regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and can be used extremely loosely in the food and beverage industry. Nearly anything that began as a product of the earth can be called natural. Soooooo, does that mean we can eat aluminum? I mean its natural and comes from the earth right? I know that’s a silly analogy but think about it, just because it came from the earth and is natural doesn’t mean it should be consumed or is safe to be consumed. Let me give you an example that I read about (extracts taken from Alive Magazine):
“A very popular cured meat distributor in Canada, who have very appealing and natural looking labels, claimed their meat had no added preservatives but did reference cultured celery extract”. At first glance you would think, well it came form celery so must be natural. During this investigation they lab tested this extract and found that it is in fact a form of nitrites. Nitrites are a type of preservative that when mixed with amines (parts of proteins) in the digestive tract, creates nitrosamines, potent carcinogenics (substances that are directly involved with causing cancer). Now that’s not natural!! Furthermore stating that there are ‘no added preservatives’ is, well, a lie. Why can they claim this? As I mentioned before these terms, especially ‘natural’, aren’t regulated in the US, so the word could be popped onto any label where the ingredients originated from the earth, regardless of the chemicals added to it.
Lets move on and look at fructose. Its natural. So many people have the common misconception that all fructose is bad for you. Wrong! The fructose found in fresh fruits is present among many other amazing components that work well together, and the proportion here is so small that it wouldn’t be detrimental to your health. Concentrated fructose, on the other hand, found in prepackaged foods and sweets is where we need to be really careful. The fructose here is acting alone without its other friends found in fresh fruit, therefore much higher in concentration. This results in increased triglyceride levels (fat storage), uric acid levels and eventually obesity. My point here is fructose is natural, it comes from products of the earth. However once you start to mess around with it, and in this case isolate it, it becomes a food that causes health risks.
What am I trying to say here? Be shopping savvy. Don’t get sucked in by labels that fall through the loophole. If there is going to be a first step to better health, its understanding the labelling of food.
So my advice, if you cant pronounce an ingredient, don’t buy it. If you would like more help moving forward with your healthy lifestyle, check out The Watch List, everything you need in one place to get started!
Be in with a chance to win a 7-day Food Journal Analysis! This includes a detailed summary of my insights into your week of eating to help you move towards a healthier diet & a shopping list to get you motivated!
How to enter:
- Go through your cupboards at home and pull out 10 items that are prepackaged.
- Read each label. If there are more than 5 ingredients you cant say or don’t understand, put them into a separate pile.
- Take a picture of both your piles
- Upload to Instagram and/or facebook and use the hashtag #nataliecarranceja. Follow me @natalie_carranceja for double entry.
- At the end of November I will pick a WINNER.
(Note: To all my lovely readers, I have not fully completed my diploma, all information given to the winner will be based on what I have succeeded in already)
Good luck everyone!
Stay happy and healthy!
Lots of Love, Natalie ❤