Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Don't let "Natural" fool you!

If you think about it, what exactly is natural? I feel like if it isn't strongly manipulated in a lab somewhere, it is somehow a natural product. Although, just because something is natural, doesn't mean it is safe. A lot of companies have been popping up all over the place, claiming that their product is natural. Upon further inspection, you can easily spot out the facades. The first warning sign that the product you are interested in is deceitful is when you find words you can't pronounce under the ingredients list. Sure, some fancier products, and more organic/scientific products will have the ingredients listed by their scientific name. That is different, and is easy to distinguish. So, do your research. Just because something says organic or natural on the product, doesn't make it 100% so.

Tips on how to spot the Natural from the "natural" products:

  • Scan for hard to pronounce words. Google them if necessary.
  • Check for the words "fragrance" "perfume". True natural and organic products only use essential oils. 
  • How much does this item cost? More often than not, the real deal is more costly. The fakers easily persuade the less educated into buying their products because they are cheaper.
  • How is the product packaged? True, dedicated natural products usually look professional, earthy, and are packaged to be more eco friendly. I find it hard to believe that something in an aerosol can is really all that natural.
  • Use your own judgment. If you have any doubts, just skip on that product for now until you learn more about it. I find nothing wrong in snapping a photo of the ingredients list to study at home later before making a purchase. 
How do you feel about companies labeling their products as natural, when they truly aren't?


  1. All of these tips are definitely helpful regarding natural products. It is confusing to find what is best for us and also can be misleading at times.
    twinkle at optonline dot net

  2. Good subject. There's a lot of confusion in the market on this topic. I might add a suggestion to use caution when comparing "organic" and "natural." They couldn't be more different. I'm a food processor that makes both an honestly all-natural brand of products as well as a certified organic line. "All-Natural" is NOT a regulated term and companies can use it on just about anything. "Organic" on the other hand IS regulated by the USDA, requires rigorous third party audits and comes with a $25,000 fine for it's misuse. As a certified organic farmer and food processor, I am subject to a number of regulator regimes, including USDA, FDA, Michigan Department of Agriculture, Kosher and more. None of them are nearly as rigorous or air tight as the organic tracking, auditing and inspections we go through. So comparing it to "Natural" could mislead consumers. There's already enough confusion in the consumer market. I agree that following your gut is an important tool when making consumer decisions, but rest assured you can put more faith in the USDA Organic logo than you can in assessing how something is packaged or whether you can pronounce the words on the label. Thought packaging and wording can be helpful, I have a hard time spelling or pronouncing a lot of words, like gyokuro (from Green Tea), Lecithin (from eggs), Inulin (chicory Root) or Tocopherols (Vitamin E), but they are perfectly good things to eat.
    Timothy Fitzgerald Young
    Food For Thought, Inc
    Honor, MI

    1. Thank you so much for your thought out reply. I should go back through my post and reword some things. Let me explain. I have seen products that definitely have some organic ingredients, but lack the USDA Organic label. Just because a loaf of bread may contain something such as organic flour does not necessarily mean that the sugar, salt, or yeast was organic as well. I totally believe that when a product has the organic symbol, that it is organic. But I also know full well that companies use phrases like "made with organic ingredients.." when they also contain smut. It seems a little misleading, especially to those who are easily swayed, or just starting to learn about eating organics. You are right about the difficult pronunciation of words not being an amazing tactic to go by, but it does indeed help. Most people (I hope) should know about Tocopherols, and often times when a product has a difficult word under the ingredients list it is due to the scientific terminology being used (most often than not it will have the word dumbed down in parenthesis next to it). It is still tricky though, hence why I suggest simply Googling the word, and using your best judgment. Thank you for the food for though!

    2. You have great instincts Paisley. Your point of cost as an indicator is a good tip. Ultimately you should get what you pay for, a good product with quality ingredients, that are effective and last you a good while. Doing your research as you mention, is also very very vital, otherwise we're just relying on a company's promise. Ultimately a third-party organic certification, as Mr. Young mentioned, is much more reliable than words printed on a marketing label. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  3. I think it is a shame that companies try to pull one over on people like this. Especially if they are new to going green and using natural products..... they shouldn't capitalize on their still-limited knowledge.

  4. Considering the numerous products we have today, it hard to find anything healthy anymore.

  5. It's frustrating that we can't trust labels. I wish companies were more transparent!

  6. I try to stick with whole foods. That way I know exactly what I am getting. I love the Nutribullet to get all the fruit and greens I need.

  7. Yes, the terminology is confusing. Honest marketing is not always easy to come by in products. Buyer beware!