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What does "natural" food mean? Not much.



Some marketing terms are like Freddy Kreuger: they just do not die.

As a dietician, I have been trying for years to tell my clients that the word "natural" means absolutely nothing.

However, a recent survey found that 53 percent of US consumers were motivated to buy a product when it was labeled as "natural."

(Sigh.)

I understand where the confusion comes from, I think. "Natural" is such a powerful word. The dictionary definition – present in or produced by nature; not artificial ̵

1; is crisp and clear.

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But the US The Food and Drug Administration has no formal definition of" natural "as it applies to" organic. " However, a "long-term policy." A food labeled as "natural" should be free of artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives, and color additives. The FDA does not care how natural food can be processed, grown, or reared.

See "Confusion!"

Fortunately, the FDA has been trying to address this confusion: at the end of 2015, they invited us, the American public, to comment on how they were doing n should define the term "natural". But the beginning This period was closed in mid-2016 and nothing has happened since then.

Consumers continue to believe in the power of persuasion of "natural".

In fact, the aforementioned survey also shows how influential the claim is "natural." Only two other claims on food packaging were almost equivalent to "natural" – "no preservatives" and "no high fructose corn syrup". Label Lingo like "low sugar", "antibiotics-free", "free range". and "fed grass" only seemed to have the potential to affect less than half, sometimes up to a quarter of buyers.

"The obvious reasons why food companies love to label their foods as" natural "is that" of course "is sold – no matter that it has no regulatory significance except to exclude artificial additives," Dr. Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Science and Public Health at New York University. "The worst thing is that many people believe that" "natural" means "organic" – a term that's heavily regulated. Because of this, there is so much pressure on the FDA to regulate the term. I can not wait to see what the FDA expects. "

Next time you shop the grocery stores, remember that" natural "means nothing. This does not make a food healthier – or even healthy.


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