Natural vs Organic Foods: Understanding the Basic Differences

Over the past decades, the organic and the health food market has grown significantly with distinct production, processing, distribution and retail systems. You can find a hint of “organic” in everything today, from food to skincare. But, before buying anything, it is imperative to know what organic and natural mean. Also, if “natural foods” have the same safety and health benefits as organic foods.

Busting the commonly accepted myth, Luke Coutinho, co-founder,, said, “Natural doesn’t always mean organic.

Organic products

The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) and FSSAI define organic products as those “produced by farmers who conserve soil, water, and renewable resources to improve the environmental quality to empower future generations.

According to the lifestyle coach, “organic products are born from holistic farming practices focusing on biodiversity, soil health, chemical-free inputs, etc., with an environmentally and socially responsible approach that has been produced according to production standards organic “.

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Tip: Organic food does not necessarily mean healthy food. “Note that organic butter contains the same fat and calories as regular butter. Even though organic foods contain cleaner ingredients, they do not help with weight loss. Mindful eating should always be a priority,” he stressed.

Know your food (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Natural products

Products labeled as “natural” are mostly minimally processed and free from synthetic or artificial ingredients or additives. These items are not chemically modified and contain fewer preservatives and chemicals. “However, they are not regulated like organic products,” he said.

“To be considered all-natural, a product must contain ingredients found in nature. These include fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products. You may also see herbs and spices in some all-natural products. Therefore, the flavoring or coloring is made from natural ingredients. But the only downside is that natural foods are not yet regulated in our country, so many manufacturers abuse them,” he added.

According to Coutinho, “mislabelling and fraud also occur when food business owners label a product as organic when it contains non-organic ingredients or when organic standards are not met.” “When organic food is certified, it means that it meets established standards,” he said.

The fundamental difference

Coutinho pointed out that the words “natural” and “organic“may look the same but are different.” Organic produce is grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, such as conventional pesticides and fertilizers and does not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), while natural produce only promises not all of these, but may be free of synthetic or artificial ingredients or additives. ,” he said.

Fruits and vegetables are an example of organic. Accredited organic fruit and vegetables are grown on soil free of harmful synthetic chemicals and pesticides. Organic products are always controlled by certified bodies and comply with strict guidelines. Natural products, on the other hand, are not certified. All organic products can be considered natural, but all-natural products cannot be considered organic, he said, adding that “despite this, natural products are still healthier and safer than conventional products. “.

So what can consumers do?

“Choose a product based on its ingredients, not its claims on the label. Look at the nutrition facts and ingredients and decide what’s important to you. Studies have also suggested that even a common pesticide or fertilizer can cause potential damage to our nervous system, endocrine system and immune systemleading to increased cancer risks,” Coutinho said.

“Often people are hesitant to buy organic food because of a lack of confidence in its authenticity. Therefore, it is always wise to read nutrition labels before making a purchase,” he added.

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