It can be very hard currently to differentiate between what different food labels mean, understand them properly, and then make the right food choices for you and your family. Natural and organic are two words that we hear all the time lately – words that play a key role in how healthy the food is that you are purchasing. A lot of people think that there is no difference at all, or that they only differ slightly. The truth is: there is a huge difference.
What exactly do they mean?
Foods that bare the “natural” sticker at the grocery store are simply items that have not been altered chemically. Organic on the other hand, is any type of food that has been produced without “pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.” (2)
What does the USDA Organic seal mean?
The USDA Organic seal simply means that the food baring this sticker promises customers the superiority and reliability of that product. There also must have been an organic system in place where that product was produced. On the downside, that product is only 100% organic if it is stated on the seal. There are three different types of stickers that we see on organic products: 100% Organic, Organic (which is only 95%), and Made With Organic Ingredients. (2)
Which is more expensive?
The overall shelf life of organic food is higher than that of natural food, which plays a key role in getting more for your dollar. Overall, organic is higher in price than natural foods, but for very good reasons. These include higher growing prices, environmental cleanups, more labor and management demanding, and smaller farms. (2) As the demand for organic food starts to rise, then the prices will start to drop.
Which is the better choice?
There is no right answer to this question, you must figure out what works best for you. There have not been any studies that have proven that organic is better than natural, it’s just a matter of what you are willing to put into your body. Some people believe that organic food tastes better, but it all comes down to personal preference.