Some Words May Not Mean Much

Stamp with Word NATURAL

Labels are extremely useful if you know how to read and interpret them. The fact is, the words used can mean many things to different people. Words like diet, low-fat, vegetarian and high fiber are not regulated and can mean a multitude of things depending on how much you know about the word and how it is being used. According to the USDA definition, food labeled "natural", does not contain artificial ingredients or preservatives and the ingredients are only minimally processed. However, they may contain antibiotics, growth hormones, and other similar chemicals.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that all foods labeled organic are good for you. The word organic only pertains to how the food is grown, not how it was processed or what other ingredients were included in the end product. An loaf of bread made with organic wheat is great, but what about the other ingredients? Are there additives and preservatives included? Did they use whole grain or finely milled flour? Reading the label only tells you part of the story.

Another misconception is that all processed foods are bad for you. That isn't always the case. Foods that include all natural ingredients and minimal processing are still considered to be processed, even if they do not include additives and preservatives. It all comes down to the amount of processing a food is put through before it is packaged and sent to the grocery store.

The key to eating the healthiest "words" is to find out and truly understand how a word is being used and in what context. Knowing the difference between diet foods and the foods you include in your diet will help you find healthier alternatives and allow you to get a better grasp of what you are actually eating. Many people would be surprised that the foods they consider to be healthy are really doing more harm than good.


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