What to Know About Food Labels: Differences Between Organic, Natural and Healthy

food labels

If you are trying to eat healthier, you may know that reading food labels is an excellent way to become more aware of what you and your family eat. However, advertising and packaging can make deciphering food labels difficult. Today, we will discuss the differences between “organic”, “natural”, and “healthy”. Here are 5 things to keep in mind while grocery shopping.

5 things to know about food labels

1. Organic foods are grown without artificial pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides. Organic meat, eggs and dairy products are obtained from animals that are fed natural feed and not given hormones or antibiotics.

2. Natural foods are free of synthetic or artificial ingredients or additives.

3. “Healthy” or “health foods” are a general, unregulated term that may be applied to natural or organic foods, or to regular foods.

4. Organic foods are not necessarily healthier than regular foods. For example, the difference in nutritional value between an organic apple and a regular apple is minimal. However, if you are choosing between an apple and a candy bar, the apple is better, organic or not. If you prefer to avoid the use of pesticides or fertilizers, organic is the way to go.

5. Beware of the “healthy” label. Unlike “organic”, the term “healthy”, is not regulated and can be applied without abandon. Read food labels and ingredients closely, and do not rely on package labeling and advertising to determine if a food is healthy or not.

If you are still finding food labels confusing, consider working with our health coach or our Registered Dietitian to get your grocery shopping and meal planning on track. Deciphering food labels can be tricky, but once you learn a few tricks at the store, you will be set to shop and eat for success.

Dr. Karen Leibowitz
Health and Medical Coach
KareBoost Health