Most conscious consumers immediately check ingredients before purchasing or consuming processed food items. This is a smart idea since it is difficult to trust the claims of most companies. Words associated with good health such as all natural can have myriad interpretations by food producers.
According to the FDA website, “it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth”. In addition, they state “that the agency has not objected to the use of the term (natural) if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances”.
Don’t be fooled, natural does not always mean healthy. Some commonly used natural ingredients include high-fructose corn syrup, high-maltose corn syrup, and maltodextrin along with the mysterious natural flavorings ingredient.
Another issue with many processed foods is their lack of consistency in the use of certain ingredients. Commonly used phrases on many processed foods items include: “____AND/OR ____oil” and “CONTAINS ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING OILS”. Canola, peanut, corn, sunflower, cottonseed or soy oil, you pick! Any of these refined oils could be used in your processed food.
Why do companies do this? Apparently, the reason labels aren’t more specific is that it gives the food companies freedom to substitute shortenings depending on availability and price without having to change labels at the same time.
To me, it is just another reason to cut processed foods out of the diet. If companies don’t know exactly what’s in their product and simply bid for the cheapest oil, this is an indicator of low quality and lack of consideration for their consumer.
Compare this to any passionate baker, cheese maker, brewer, farmer or artisan producer. They are proud to share with you the ingredients, process, and love that went into each batch. The difference in quality is apparent and the health giving affects will be too. Keep this in mind next time you reach for your favorite bagged snack and consider enjoying an unprocessed alternative!
Interested in learning to incorporate real food into your diet? Check out my website at www.nichewellness.com! I offer free 50 minute consultations to individuals interested in balancing their body naturally!