Shop Healthier: What Foods To Buy And Which To AvoidBy: Tina Volpe - January 11, 2014
Although the push by millions of people in the effort to label GMOs, our foods still lack the information needed to make a non-GMO choice, but there are other options you can choose that can bring better health to you and your family. First and foremost, organic foods do not contain GMOs!
When at the grocery store of your choice, most find a multitude of products with confusing labels. Trying to determine which may be the best one as far as ingredients is not always that easy.
How do we know if it really is organic? And what exactly does “All Natural” mean? And what about free range and cage free eggs are they really better?
Foods that are labeled Natural or All Natural: According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
“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. The 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.”
In other words, if it says natural, it’s a little better than foods that are not, but don’t be deceived. The word is basically just a marketing tactic to draw you in to buying that product.
Organic on the other hand is much more reliable – the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has strict regulations in place on how organic foods are produced. From USDA: Food products labeled with organic claims must comply with both USDA regulations for the organic claim and FDA regulations for labeling.
Whole grain is another word that is highly misunderstood and misused. Whole grains are products that are from the grain itself with the least amount of processing, and 100% of the original kernel, all of the bran, germ, and endosperm, must be present to qualify as a whole grain.
What is deceiving about whole grains is that you can have a minuscule amount of whole grains in a product, a cereal for example, but the rest is processed beyond recognition.
This is where you need to be educated. Just because a product claims to be whole grain, does not mean that it is. Check the ingredients, and if you find more processing than whole grains, look elsewhere.
Free Range and cage free are foods that supposedly were allowed to roam freely in an effort to be your food. However, in recent publications criticizing the producers methods, these are just words that are an attempt to make the consumer ‘feel better’ about their choices.
Many experts say that the healthiest foods are those that come from Mother Nature. Fruits and vegetables have not been processed if you buy them organically. Breads that are labeled organic whole grain are the better choice. If you’re buying something in a box, you can pretty much be sure that it has had a lot of processing – and the more food is processed the less it does the body good.
Image via Wikimedia Commons