Organic vs. Natural: What’s the Difference?
There are a lot of labels on our food. Organic this. Natural that. Are these labels just marketing gimmicks? There is a difference, and you should know about it.
What is Natural? It Can be Misleading
The word “natural” has emerged into a vague description of a lifestyle. But, when it comes to our food, it doesn’t really mean much. In essence, the word “natural” means that a food is minimally processed and does not have artificial ingredients, chemical preservatives, artificial flavor or added color — but there’s no guarantee.
Myth: Natural food is healthier.
Not necessarily. Sugar is considered natural, and it’s definitely not a health food.
Food containing natural flavors, sweeteners and plant-derived substances can be labeled natural, which means food containing high fructose corn syrup, a highly-processed sweetener that is linked to obesity and other health issues, can be labeled “natural.”
Natural Chicken, Turkey and Pork are Hormone-Free, But Still Have Antibiotics
Chicken and pork that are raised and processed according to USDA standards do not have growth hormones. But, some chicken can still be labeled “natural,” even when it’s been injected with salt and other ingredients.
However, poultry and livestock can still be given ractopamine, a drug that is similar to adrenaline that helps animals put on more muscle instead of fat, and put on weight quickly. The effects on humans are unknown, but one study shows elevated heart rates in humans, while another study shows birth defects in lab rats.
Also, growth hormones are still used in beef and lamb, and the meat can still be labeled “natural” and still contain hormones and antibiotics.
Just Look for Organic
Food with the “organic” label and seal is strictly regulated. This means that the food is grown or raised using approved organic farming methods, without the use of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge and genetic engineering.
Organic meat must be raised with outdoor access for the animals on certified organic land. The animals must be fed certified organic feed with no antibiotics or growth hormones. The feed cannot contain pesticides, animal by-products, antibiotics or genetically engineered grains.
Only food that is labeled “organic” offers products that are grown and processed without the use of antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones or toxic chemicals.
Better for Your Health, Better for the Planet
Not only is organic food better for you and your family, it’s better for the planet. The farming and growing process is more energy efficient, promotes healthy soil, and prevents the problem of hazardous pesticide chemicals leaking into our groundwater. In our opinion, it’s the cleanest, safest food on the planet!