Is Natural, Natural?

Why do we eat? Just like gas enables our cars to run, food is necessary for our bodies to work, to make energy. Yet much of the foods we eat today are not designed with that in mind. Many of us are eating on the run, which often means fast food. Many of us are cash strapped, trying to make our money go as far as it can. Many of us are fooled into thinking that all food labels tell the truth. I recently went with a friend to hear a professional dietitian speak on nutrition and cancer prevention. In her talk, she stated that the FDA looks out for us and does its job. I almost fell off my chair because that statement in and of itself displays what I used to think before being diagnosed with cancer. Since I have started investigating food from the perspective of a cancer patient, I no longer believe that statement and it makes me want to scream when I hear it. There are so many things on food labels that lead us as consumers to think that something is good for us when it is filled with additives that are harmful, and at times, even proven carcinogens. Did you know the word “natural” on a food label has no formal definition from the FDA or the Federal Trade Commission? Foods that are labeled “natural” can be filled with things that are not natural. If there are things on the ingredient list that you can’t pronounce or understand what they are, chances are we shouldn’t be eating them, if we are trying to eat natural foods. We have to take the responsibility as consumers to educate ourselves on what we are eating because no one else will do that for us. We can no longer assume that labels are trustworthy. It is good to educate ourselves as best we can to understand when we should pay more for an item or when it is not in our best interest. What I am learning is that I can only make good choices if I truly understand what I am buying.