Americans have made it clear that they prefer natural products. When you go to your grocer today, it would seem that manufacturers and stores have risen to the challenge and made these products much more available. There is always an option in a light brown and olive green bottle boasting “includes natural ingredients.” Some products claim to be “dye free” and others “includes whole grains”. Dairy products proudly label they are free of Rbgh. My absolute favorite marketing term that’s been used since I was a kid and always makes me laugh in the aisle is “100% juice.”
America is good at two things really: innovation and marketing. Nobody can BS like our marketing gurus. They’ve heard our cry for safer natural products and they’ve BSed us. Think about the term “includes natural ingredients” and use oatmeal as an example. You start with wholesome oats, tasty cinnamon and a drop of honey. All of these are lovely natural ingredients. The you added sucralose or aspartame, peach flavoring (what the heck is this even made out of?) and preservatives. Now you have a toxic cocktail in your warm nourishing oatmeal. Well, they didn’t lie. Truth in labeling movements can’t help you here. It included natural ingredients. You didn’t think about what that label didn’t mean when you put it in your cart.
Take a look at this seemingly wholesome natural product. Two things struck me right away. First, notice the multiple terms for sugary syrups. This is a diabetic nightmare. Second, tripotassium phosphate is not the kind of potassium you find in a banana. It is a chemical used in pesticides and often blamed for the death of aquatic wildlife. It may be used here as a preservative or it might be left from the production of the oats and sugar. I’m not quite sure why it is in this but it shouldn’t be. My advice in this situation would be to buy 100% organic oats. Surprise, they are pretty much as instant as instant oatpacks. You can add your own honey and real fruit to taste.
You need to pay attention to beauty products and home cleaners too. Unfortunately the U.S. doesn’t really have any labeling guidelines when it comes to these two so you’ll have to do a bit more research. The bottom line is: Don’t fall for the marketing hype on the front of a container. Read the ingredients every time. If you don’t know what something is, look it up when you get home. When a product contains ingredients you don’t want to be eating, don’t stress yourself out. You’ll know to try a different product next time.
Next Lifestyle Blog: Decoding the label – Food