(NaturalNews) Consumers are becoming aware of the dangers of chemical food additives, and they are selecting more "natural" products at the supermarket. Many companies are changing their products in response to the resulting consumer demand. Unfortunately, many food companies are sneaking their way around consumers' increasing knowledge by plastering their packaging materials with misleading claims rather than actually making their products more natural. If you are spending considerable amounts of time, energy and money to make more "natural" selections at the supermarket, you may not actually be getting what you think you are paying for.
Please don't be fooled by these tactics used by the food industry to imply that their products are more natural than they really are:
Pictures Just because a food package has colorful pictures of fruits and vegetables splashed all over the front, it doesn't necessarily mean that there are any in there. These photos may indicate what flavor to expect from the product (e.g., cherry yogurt), but they in no way guarantee that actual real food ingredients were used to create the product's flavor. For example, a fruit juice package may be covered with bright colorful apples, but that doesn't guarantee that it contains any real apples. Read the ingredients label, and you may actually discover that a cocktail of corn syrup and artificial fruit flavoring was used instead.
Other pictures to ignore on food labels are those that depict quaint little farms. Take a look around the meat and dairy sections at the supermarket. You'll likely find all sorts of packages with illustrations of cute little farms with red barns, picket fences and rolling green hills. Please don't assume that your animal products came from a place that looks even remotely like that! Many supermarkets are starting to carry products from small, local farms whose animals may live in environments that approximate this type of setting, but always check to ensure that this is, indeed, what you are purchasing before you toss it into your cart. Ignore the front side of food packages and research farms and companies online to be sure what you are eating.
"Natural" or "All Natural" With so many consumers trying to eat more natural diets, food companies are sprinkling terms like these all over their products. According to the FDA's website, the "FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives." In other words, these are not regulated terms. So just ignore them and do your own research to determine if the ingredients in these products are things you'd like to consume. You cannot just assume that these products contain only ingredients that would meet your own definition of how "natural" a food should be!
"Made with..." Just because a product claims on the front of the package that it is "made with" some desirable ingredient, that doesn't mean it can't also contain the exact ingredient the marketing geniuses are trying to distract you from with that claim. For example, a bread package may boast on the front that it is "made with whole grain." If you are looking to avoid refined flours, you might select this variety thinking that you will be consuming whole grains instead of refined flours. However, if you scrutinize the ingredients list on the back of the package, you may find that the bread contains whole grains as well as refined flours. And it may even contain a greater proportion of the refined ingredient - the very one that you likely thought you were avoiding altogether when you made your selection. Ignore the front of packages and always read the ingredients list.
About the author: Want more natural grocery shopping guidance or recipes? Christy Pooschke is author of "Eating Additive-Free" - a natural cookbook & grocery shopping guide. She is also the founder of a natural health online community packed with hundreds of natural recipes, an additive-free grocery shopping guide, natural living discussion forums, hundreds of holistic health and inspirational videos...and more! JOIN today! Christy developed a passion for holistic health after relieving her own Fibromyalgia symptoms through natural diet and lifestyle changes in 2007. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to inspire and encourage others to take control of their own health.
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