You see the word “natural” plastered all over the grocery shelves. All-natural cereal . . . 100% natural fruit drinks . . . natural supplements . . . and natural skin care . . . Many of us think that the word “natural” on the label is the best indicator of quality and wholesomeness. Can we tell that a product is wholesome because it says on the box or bottle that it’s 100% natural? 

Except for meat and poultry, “natural” is still undefined when it comes to food. “Natural foods” and “all natural foods” are widely used terms in food labelling and marketing with a variety of definitions, most of which are vague. The term is often assumed to imply foods that are minimally processed and all of those ingredients are natural products, but the lack of standards in most of the food products means that the term assures nothing. 

Here are some ways to figure out what's natural and what's not:  

  1. All the ingredients listed are ones we can recognize 
  2. It has no artificial flavourings or sweeteners 
  3. You can prepare it in your kitchen without any special processes 
  4. It is “organic” – grown without herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers 
  5. No genetically-modified organisms in it 
  6. Should have only natural preservatives