|March 28, 2005|
Beware of The Claim "All Natural"
When you're shopping for groceries, watch out for the phrase "all natural" as claimed on the front of various product packages. It turns out that the phrase "all natural" can mean just about anything; it actually has no nutritional meaning whatsoever and isn't truly regulated by the FDA.
Whole grain corn may be a healthful, nutritious food. But when you refine that corn and extract the sugars to make high-fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin, you now have a blatantly unnatural ingredient that contributes to obesity and type-II diabetes. Yet the corn associations insist that high-fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin are "all natural" because it comes from a plant.
The point is that a food manufacturer can take anything that occurs somewhere in nature and refine it to increase the potency by a factor of 1000 times or more, and then claim that their product is "all natural." In other words, if cocaine were legal, they could put crack cocaine in their products and call that all natural too. In fact, they can scrounge up just about anything found on the planet, whether it's heavy metals like mercury or arsenic, or refined sugars made from beets or corn, and they can put those in their foods and call it all natural.
Of course, it's all quite ridiculous. By that definition, anything derived from plants, animals or elements found on planet Earth could earn the "all natural" label. The key is in understanding that it's the process that's unnatural, not the source. When you chemically or structurally alter food ingredients into a form that no longer appears anywhere in nature, it's no longer natural, folks. Regardless of what the food manufacturers claim.
So don't believe food claims -- even from natural product manufacturers -- that state they are "all natural" unless you also verify what's on the ingredients label. And if it has yeast extract, or autolyzed yeast extract, or hydrolyzed vegetable protein or any of these other ingredients that actually harbor MSG, then it is, in my opinion, a deceptively positioned product, because it claims to be natural but in fact uses highly potent refined extracts that don't occur anywhere near that concentration in nature.
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