Wednesday, November 7, 2012
TIP OF WEEK: Natural & Organic Foods Don’t Necessarily Mean “Healthy” Foods
Recently there has been a big push to purchase “natural” and “organic” food products. I think the consumer demand for these products has been great, and the food manufacturers are responding. We are seeing a lot less additives added to these types of foods, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Both the terms natural and organic are not regulated by the FDA, but the USDA does certify foods as “organic”, but that term has different regulations depending if the food is a crop, livestock, or a mixed-ingredient food. Natural has no standard definition.
I caution you to assume that a natural cookie or donut is an okay food choice, or that organic potato chips are a healthy treat. As with every food, look to the ingredients to learn what is actually in the product, and check out the nutrition facts before biting in. Just because the chocolate chip cookie is organic and from Whole Foods doesn’t mean that it is good for you. Natural and organic junk food usually contains just as many calories and grams of saturated fat… and they aren’t whole grain unless that is listed as the main ingredient. So, they are still junk food even if they are an organic junk food.
My recommendation: Personally, I wouldn’t even bother buying super expensive organic or natural cookies and treats. By purchasing the cheaper versions, you know that they are loaded with all sorts of junk, so you probably won’t be inclined to eat as much as if you had purchased the natural version. If you buy the organic and/or natural versions, you might be more inclined to overeat. However, if your kids eat lots of snack foods, then it might be worth the investment, but always look to the ingredients and nutrition facts… and watch the amounts the kiddies are eating!!!