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Organic Consumers Association

Why You Should Avoid So-Called 'Natural" Foods and Buy Organic Instead

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page, Health Issues page, Nutri-Con page, and our The Myth of Natural page.


Are the words written on food packaging honest?

 Many corporations hire lawyers to carefully craft words that are just barely on the side of being legal. The Yahoo health site has collected eight common package proclamations that are red flags of "crafty" advertising.

These include:

Flavored: Both artificial and natural flavors are actually made in laboratories, and natural flavors are not necessarily healthier than artificial ones.

Pure: "100 percent pure" products such as orange juice can be doctored with flavor packs for aroma and taste.

Nectar: While 'nectar' may sound particularly wholesome, it's really just a fancy name for "not completely juice." These "diluted juice beverages" may contain more high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners than fruit puree.

Fat free: Some cooking sprays are "fat free" only if they are sprayed for a fraction of a second to produce a microscopic "serving".


The Importance of Deciphering Food Labels

It's unfortunate, but reading food labels isn't as easy as you might think. In addition to determining what ingredients are in the food, you also need to have the foundational knowledge of how to decipher certain verbiage used to describe them. The words listed above are just a few of the words that can be used to mislead you.

Below, I'll review a few more label items that are often used in deceptive ways, or that may lead you to buy a product you'd otherwise avoid:


  1. Vitamin and mineral claims
  2. The "All Natural" label
  3. The "Organic" label
  4. Misleading nutritional facts
  5. Dangerous ingredients not required to be listed on any food label




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