Drs. Oz & Roizen’s Tip of the Day: When it’s not really natural

King Features SyndicateMarch 11, 2014 

It comes as no surprise that Marilyn Monroe was not a natural blonde. In the 1952 film classic “Monkey Business,” Ginger Rogers wanted to “pull that blond hair out by its black roots.”

But did you know your “100 percent natural” granola bar contains ingredients such as high-maltose corn syrup — not something Mother Nature came up with? Or that you favorite “natural lemonade” contains butylated hydroxyanisole, a synthetic preservative that the Department of Health and Human Services Toxicology Program says is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”?

Most folks — around 77 percent of you — assume that if something is labeled “natural,” it’s close to organic, as far as purity goes. But in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration has no official definition of “natural” food. (In Canada, foods claiming to be natural must meet specific standards for content and purity.) The only statement the FDA has made about the word “natural” is to say it hasn’t “objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances.” That hasn’t stopped companies from misusing the word.

What can you do? If you do opt for prepared foods, read the label. It’s only natural to want healthy, tasty foods that you can grab on the go. Our favorites? Apples, pears and oranges, any berry, walnuts, almonds and nonfat plain Greek yogurt. Just say no to products that try to pull the nylon (wool would be natural) over your eyes.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service