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FOOD LABELS: IS NATURAL + ORGANIC BETTER?


Ahhh…the great debate over food labels! Every time you step foot into the grocery store, there they are:

ORANIC… NATURAL…LOW-FAT…

What the heck does this all really mean for us as the consumer? Are these foods better than the rest? Are they truly the healthiest option?

In today’s Coaches Blog, we’re cracking the top 3 food label myths:

Myth 1: NATURAL = BETTER!

Myth 2: LOW-FAT = HEALTHIER!

Myth 3: ORGANIC = HEALTHIEST

These are the myths luring us into buying foods for the wrong reasons and in some cases, over-paying for foods that aren’t any better or healthier.


Myth 1: NATURAL = BETTER!

This one is relatively sinister, as it shows how far food companies will go to deceive the general public.

There are two buckets for natural: meat + all other foods:

For meats, the USDA defines natural as any food that does not contain artificial ingredients or preservatives and is minimally processed.

Sounds good, right? Here’s the caveat:

The guidelines for natural only applies to what can / can’t be done once the meat’s been processed; meaning hormones and antibiotics can still be given to the cow BEFORE it’s processed.

This doesn’t mean it is good or bad, just that the label is entirely misleading.

All other natural foods are defined by the FDA are any foods in which nothing artificial or synthetic was added “that would not normally be expected to be in that food.”

Sounds good, right? Here’s the caveat:

This is both vague and misleading because it leads us to believe these foods aren’t processed or manufactured when in fact, they are.

Finally, all-natural is a label that means the exact same thing as natural – No difference.


Myth 2: LOW-FAT = HEALTHIER!

By definition:

  • Reduced fat means the product has 25% less fat than the same regular brand.

  • Light fat means that the product has 50% less fat than the same regular product.

  • Low-fat means a product has less than 3 grams of fat per serving.

This is GOOD in some instances, for example yogurt! If you compared low-fat, non-fat and fat yogurt, you can see fat has been removed with nothing else added in its place.

Comparatively, this isn’t the case in most foods, especially boxed products. Let’s use reduced fat Wheat Thins as an example which *spoiler alert* simply are not a “healthy” snack.

1 Cup Wheat Thins:

  • Reduced fat: 221 cals, 5g p, 38g c, 6g f

  • Original: 225 cals, 5g p, 35g c, 8g f

In t his instance, reduced fat means they simply replaced the “missing fat” with sugar because fat tastes good and sugar will do the trick.


Myth 3: ORGANIC = HEALTHIEST

Organic foods, while sometimes better for the environment, are not necessarily better for you in terms of your health.

The food itself is the same, but the flavor and color might vary by quite a bit between the two.

There have been only a few studies on the effect of organic vs normal, but the few that have been done have found no positive health link between organic foods and better health.

And unfortunately, organic pesticides can be just as harmful to you as regular pesticides.

Want to learn more? Click the video now for more details on WHAT these labels actually mean and how it impacts you and your health.

 

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