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Your Health & Wellness, Iss #015 -- Beware of unhealthy ingredients wrapped in the 'organic' label!
October 20, 2007

(Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle)


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Week of October 21, 2007

Table of Contents

* Beware of Unhealthy Ingredients Masquerading In 'Organic' Clothing *


Beware of Unhealthy Ingredients Masquerading In 'Organic' Clothing

Back in the day when there were relatively few health enthusiasts (they were basically a sub-culture), the only place you could purchase health food was in a health food store. And those stores were few and far between. Also, Unlike today, the big supermarkets did not have sections for health and organic products.

In actuality, food products were a lot more healthier in the '50s and '60s when I grew up than they are today. They weren't perfect, but they were healthier. Cows were not given recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) until 1994, and they weren't factory-farmed until the mid-'70s. That means beef was grass-fed and healthy, and dairy products like milk and cheese were hormone and pesticide-free. Today these food products are specialty items, and not sold in your typical supermarket!

Supermarket food is no longer healthy. Today's 'baby-boomers' (those born between 1946 and 1964) are health-conscious, and are driving the ever-growing health and organic food revolution--not to mention health clubs and gyms. To meet their demand, supermarkets were created that are dedicated exclusively to organic products.

In 1958 a chain of convenience stores known as Pronto Markets was created. That name was changed to Trader Joe's in 1967. In 1980 Whole Foods supermarket was born in Austin, Texas. It was to become the world's leader in natural and organic foods and non-food products.

Seeing that the market for natural and organic foods is huge, and growing every year, traditional supermarkets are now offering organic food. Shop-Rite is one such supermarket. Even Wal-Marts is determined not to be left out of this lucrative market. They now offer a large selection of organic products (See...)

However, care should be exercised when purchasing 'organic' foods from Johnny-come-latelys such as Wal-Marts and others. For instance, Wal-Marts has come under fire for placing non-organic food items under the banner of 'Organic.' Read product labels carefully, and never assume that a product is organic just because it is placed under a banner which says 'Organic.' The demand for organic food is so great that some unscrupulous manufacturers and stores are looking to cash in under the radar.

Buyers should be cautious of food labels too! Everything labeled all-natural or organic may not be healthy for you. First of all realize that the terms 'all-natural' and 'organic' are not synonmous. 'All-natural' is a catch-all term used by food manufacturers to tap into the 'health food craze' on their own terms. But certain federal guidelines have to be followed before the term 'organic' can be used.

The government doesn't even have a formal definition for 'natural' or 'all-natural.' It can mean anything the manufacturer wants it to mean, or says it means.

Avoid products which say 'natural' or 'all-natural.' They are NOT NECESSARILY ORGANIC and the label is ambiguous and meaningless. If you are a typical consumer like myself, you look at 'natural' as being healthy, and the ingredients as coming from nature and minimally processed. Unfortunately the reality is quite different most of the time (See...)

Organic is a different story. The term organic means that 95 percent of the ingredients are organic. The remaining 5 percent can be non-organic. 100% organic means that every ingredient is organic. And what does it mean when an ingredient is said to be organic? It simply means that the ingredients are (a) raised using traditional farming methods (b) hormone-free (c) pesticide-free and (d) antibiotic-free.

It is possible to have an organic product which is unhealthy. If a bag of potato chips contains an excessive amount of sodium, it matters little that the chips are made from organically raised potatoes. Organic products can also have too much sugar or too much saturated fat. The organic sugar will cause your blood sugar to reach the roof just as any refined carbohydrate will. And too much saturated fat will still pack on the inches.

Whole Foods supermarkets sells organic cookies with all-natural ingredients. When I checked the ingredient list on one particular brand, the first ingredient listed was sugar. That means the product was made almost entirely of sugar. Those cookies are 'organic' junk food--not much better than nonorganic cookies.

Sitting on the shelf right next to those sugar cookies were cookies from the same manufacturer with one important difference. The first ingredient listed was organic whole grain rolled oats. The rolled oats is in the greater quantity. If it came down to a choice between the two, you would want to purchase the cookies with a healthy ingredient listed first.

And even then, treats such as this should be an occasional indulgence--especially when your are trying to lose weight and maintain your health. Even though sugar is listed as the second ingredient, there is still too much of it present.

(By the way, sugar is sugar. It doesn't matter if it's table sugar (sucrose), fruit sugar (fructose), or organic sugar--they all will cause your blood sugar to spike. All sugar should be limited in your diet as it contributes to obesity, and obesity-related diseases.)

Keep in mind that the label 'organic' (Read...) means that no pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics were used in food processing. It DOES NOT MEAN that the product will not have excessive sugar, sodium, or fat. And as far as meat is concerned, organic doesn't mean that it was grass-fed. If the meat doesn't specify 'grass-fed' or 'free-grazed', it was fed grain.

Shop at stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's as you should any other supermarket. Shop the outer aisles. This is where you will find the fruits and vegetables and dairy. All the refined products are concentrated in the inner aisles. The least processed foods are best for long term health.


New E-book now available Let Food Be Thy Medicine.

The title of this manual is from the famous saying of Hippocrates in 400 bc. The full quote is “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” Hippocrates is known as the father of modern medicine. The foods which constitute the standard American diet (SAD) lack the ability to supply essential nutrients, let alone be medicine for a sick body.

Whole foods such as wheat and other grains, and fruit are processed to such a degree that dietary nutrients and fiber are removed. Examples are white rice, white bread, and fruit drinks. These processed products are inadequate to supply the human body with the nutrients it needs just to sustain itself. Even though the majority of Americans are eating more than enough calories, they are empty calories.

People are literally starving themselves to the point that the body is highly susceptible to attack by disease. Their immune systems are undernourished and not capable of fighting chronic illnesses.

By following the information given in this manual you will slowly nourish your body with the wholesome nutrients it needs to maintain, repair and build itself. Instead of calorie dense foods you will be consuming nutrient dense foods. You will put yourself on the road to strength, vigor, and vitality–no matter what your age. Price: $21.95.

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Please visit http://www.living-a-healthy-lifestyle.com for all of your health concerns.


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