It’s become more confusing to buy food these days. With all of the marketing and lack of clear definition it’s quite a challenge to understand what is in our food. Here are a few common terms and their definitions. Hopefully this will give you some pieces of the puzzle and help you navigating your next trip down the super market isle.
What does it mean for a food to be organic?
The definition in the dictionary is this: relating to, or derived from living organisms (2) : of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides.
What does this mean?
- Food with out chemicals.
- Food grown with out pesticides.
- Food that has not been modified or changed from its original state.
What does GMO mean and why is this related to food?
A GMO is a genetically modified organism. A GMO is made in a laboratory and then cross-pollinated, meaning is is inserted in to a plant or animals DNA to create a super plant or animal that will then produce more of what ever it produces. This is why GMO cells are used in food products, to increase production by growing larger plants and animals.
What happens when you eat a GMO cell?
Think of it like this, imagine your cells are circles and the food we eat breaks down in to more circles for the cell circle to gobble up and feed it self. A GMO or foods that contain GMO’s are square cells. You eat a genetically altered food; it travels thru your body, is broken down and meets the circle cells. So now you have square shaped cells in your circle cells and they don’t exactly fit into the circle, but the circle cells still need to be fed so they accept the square. Now imagine a circle with a square in it, its out of shape and not quite as round as it use to be.
What does it mean when a food product is labeled Natural?
Definition from the 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. That said, 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. The term Natural or All Natural is mainly used for advertising and packaging. Since the FDA does not regulate this there is no limit to what a company can call natural or all natural.
US Food and Drug Administration 4/29/2012
What defines a processed food?
So what is processed food anyway? A processed food is any food that has been altered from its natural state. As soon as it is altered (processed) in any way (no longer fresh and raw), it starts to lose nutrients. The more processed, the less nutrients it has.
Examples of processed foods include
- Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables
- Packaged foods labeled “natural” or “organic,” cereals, and jarred baby foods.
- Foods fortified with nutrients such as fiber, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Foods prepared in quick service and dining in restaurants, cafeterias and food courts anywhere where they make or ship food in bulk.
The key here is if it comes out of a box or has been pre packaged, chances are its not a whole food.
What is a whole food?
A food that has not been processed, and contains no artificial ingredients.
Examples of processed foods include:
- Fruit, and veggies
- Chicken and fish
- Beans, quinoa, brown rice.
- Milk, raw nuts, raw honey.
When navigating the super market isles it is always best to shop the parameters of the store. The areas of the store that has food that will expire unless used in a few days. This is where you are likely to find the nutrient rich foods your body can recognize and use for your benefit. Do your best to avoid the isles filled with pretty packages enticing claims and food that will still be here in 10 years.
Note the average diet in American is referred to as the SAD diet, or the Standard American Diet. It consists of prepackaged processed; undefined “All Natural” GMO enriched substances labeled as food.
In general Americans are consuming more food from a factory or lab rather than from a farm or garden. This “stuff” we call food reminds me more of a movie from eons ago, instead of Frankenstein we have Frankenfood.
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