With the food revolution well on its way in the United States, consumers have been demanding healthier foods for themselves and especially for their children. With this revolution, “organic” and “all-natural” have become generally overused terms in many grocery stores & households. You can't walk down the aisle of a grocery store without seeing 100 different items that blast "all natural" on the packaging, but can people really explain what exactly the difference is between organic & all-natural?
The FDA or USDA has defined what makes foods “organic” and there are clear specifications for those food products. What about the labeling of “all-natural”? Most people, including my wife, will come home from the grocery store and say, “Look what I found. An ALL-NATURAL snack!” It usually ends up being some sort of pastry treat like “All Natural Pop Tarts”. Well, that must be healthy and just as good as organic or at least better than that other stuff in the aisle, right? My first response is, “All-Natural doesn’t really mean anything, love...look at the ingredients”. I always laugh at the "all-natural" labeled products because one of the first ingredient is usually sugar, and/or, corn syrup, followed closely by maltodextrin and/or modified starches. PWD also need to keep in mind organic cane sugar will raise your blood sugar levels just as quick as non-organic or all natural cane sugar, but take a look at the definitions or lack thereof for both.
All Natural: According to 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. 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.”
Organic Foods: “Foods are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.”
As you can see, “all-natural” doesn’t really provide too many restrictions. I use the labeling of products categorized as all-natural as a starting point for reading nutritional information, but don’t just trust the label to automatically assume it is “healthy”.