The phrase “all natural” is quite popular now and is being used everywhere. With healthy-eating habits rising, people are searching around for “all-natural” foods more than ever. Unfortunately this has ignited a chain reaction with the food industry, resulting in the deceptive labeling of more foods with “all natural”. But what does “all natural” really mean?
“All Natural” Has no Defined Meaning
The answer essentially is that “all natural” means nothing. The phrase often simply means that companies want to increase sales by making you think you’re buying something infinitely more healthy. Fact of the matter is, there is no real definition established for “all natural”. The phrase is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and can mean whatever the company who labeled it wants it to mean. Naturally, we attribute the terms “natural” and “all natural” in any case, to nature, or as nature intended. But what the terms generally mean at best is that the product has no artificial ingredients or intentional additives. The food can still be genetically modified or contain unnatural ingredients such as monosodium glutamate. Companies may even argue that their product is “all natural” by justifying their ingredients based on what the ingredients are derived from.
For example, companies and manufacturers claim that high fructose corn syrup is “all natural” because it is derived from whole grain corn, a healthy food. This is either false justification and deceptive selling or plain stupidity. Once the corn is refined and sugars are extracted to make high-fructose corn syrup, it becomes a concentrated, refined, unnatural ingredient that has been proven to contribute to obesity and other health ailments.
What’s more, all foods labeled “all natural” may also be genetically modified and probably have gone through either irradiation or pasteurization. It is also likely the foods are covered in pesticides and herbicides.
With that being said, “all natural” sometimes does indicate a true increase in quality. Sometimes it isn’t a matter of right and wrong, but good, better, and best. “All natural” products will often be better for you than those products without the label. If that is an upgrade, then go for it. But knowing what it means is important for making choices based on your desired level of healthiness.