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[Video] The Natural Effect — Here’s What “Natural” Food Labels Really Mean

“If you asked me, by genetically combining two organisms…that’s 200% natural”

Just throw a barn on it. The really depressing part — it works, unequivocally.

In an effort to promote all things organic — which admittedly has it’s own issues (more on that in a second) — Only Organic’s ‘The Natural Effect’ adeptly pokes fun at how inadequate food labeling in the US really is. “Natural,” “all natural,” and “100% natural” are plastered EVERYWHERE, and people eat it up like crack addicts. Including myself, for a while.

Peel back the lettering and what’s left is fluffy marketing gobbledygook; designed explicitly to exploit a loophole and mislead consumers into mass-consuming more faux health food. Not all companies, but some.

This is the FDA’s official response when asked what makes a food fit for “natural” labeling:

“From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.”1

Technically, natural signals that food doesn’t contain artificial colors or sweeteners. That’s it. Anything with pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals, or GMO goes. Slap natural on it and pop a little bubbly.

That leads directly to organic.

Organic is the one word that’s heavily regulated and actually carries weight. And even that comes in various shades of grey —”100% organic,”  “organic,” and “made with organic ingredients” all mean completely different things — and isn’t a clear-cut marker that something’s healthy, clean, or lean. Chocolate, soda, beer, and chips are never okay to repeatedly shove down your esophagus, regardless of how “organic” they might be.

They’re just slightly less terrible than the Lays you’ll find in Costco.

Stay informed and be safe out there. Supermarkets prey on the uninitiated — you will get eaten alive and spend exorbitant amounts of money on food that isn’t doing anything for your body.


Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto

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References, Notes, Links

  1. FDA — What is the meaning of ‘natural’ on the label of food? []