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Organic vs Natural Food: The Differences Explained

There are many different types of food products available on the market today. Some of them are all-natural, while others are organic.

So, what are the differences between them?

The differences between all natural and organic

The differences between all natural and organic

Natural and Organic sound like they would be exactly the same, but they’re actually very different.

“Natural” in terms of agriculture means that the product has not been chemically treated, while “organic” means that the crops were grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.

However, because organic farming methods can be more labor-intensive than conventional farming, the price of organic food is often higher than that of food that has been conventionally grown.

Organic food is defined by the USDA as food that has been produced without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides. To be labeled “organic,” a product must meet specific requirements, including a requirement that at least 95% of the ingredients be organic.

The use of the word “natural” on a label is not regulated by the FDA, so you’ll find it used way more loosely than with an organic product.


What are All-Natural Foods?

Panera BBQ Chicken


All-natural foods are made without any artificial ingredients, pesticides, or other chemicals.

To be considered all-natural, a food must be made with ingredients that can be found in nature. This includes things like fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products. Some all-natural foods may also contain small amounts of herbs and spices.

The use of the term “natural” is not regulated, so it can often be misleading. For example, the term can be used to describe foods that have been processed without using any chemicals or additives. However, some foods that are labeled “natural” may still contain artificial ingredients, and it can still be very heavily processed.

A great example of this is high-fructose corn syrup. Do you consider that a natural ingredient? Well, the FDA does.

In fact, many all-natural foods contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is an artificial sweetener. HFCS is made from corn and is a type of sugar that is processed in a way that makes it more like sugar cane. HFCS is often used in food products because it is cheap and has a long shelf life.

Some people argue that because HFCS is an artificial ingredient and heavily processed, it should not be considered all-natural, but since there are no real regulations on it, you may still find those products considered natural.

You won’t find HFCS in organic products, but natural food has much looser requirements.

You may also see “all-natural” on food labels using slightly different terms, such as: natural, made with natural ingredients, sustainable, green, amongst others.


What are Organic Foods?

Organic foods are produced without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or other chemical fertilizers. They are usually grown using methods that do not damage the environment.

Organic foods are usually more expensive than their all-natural counterparts, but they may have health benefits that make them worth the extra money.

Unlike natural foods that have little to no regulations, the organic label is closely regulated by the USDA.

The USDA sets guidelines for how the organic label can be used, and they regularly inspect farms to make sure that they are following these guidelines. The organic label is not just a marketing tool for farmers; it is a way to ensure that the food that is being sold is safe and healthy.

When it comes to meat, certified organic also has its own requirements. Organic meat means that the animal was raised without antibiotics, hormones, or other synthetic additives. It also means that the animal was fed a diet of organic seed and grass.

If you’re consuming organic meat, you can rest assured that there will be no growth hormones pumped into the product!


What is the downside to eating natural or organic foods?

When it comes to food, many people (myself included) feel that there is no wrong or right answer. For some, the all-natural approach is the perfect way to live their lives, while others believe that organic foods are the most healthy option for themselves and their families.

However, despite the many benefits of eating natural or organic foods, there are also some drawbacks.

One of the biggest drawbacks to eating natural or organic foods is that they can be way more expensive. This is because organic crops are not treated with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, which means that they require more time and money to grow.

Additionally, some natural ingredients may also be more expensive than their synthetic counterparts. For example, organic honey may be more expensive than regular honey because it is a more pure and natural product.


Conclusion: Are natural or organic foods worth it?

Organic food does not mean that food is good for you

Organic food does not mean that food is always good for you


There are pros and cons to both all-natural and organic foods, but in the end, it depends on what you prefer.

Organic food is not necessarily healthier than “natural” foods, don’t get it twisted. A product may be great for you, but the processing of a single ingredient can knock them out of contention for the organic label.

Pick up a product and read the ingredients, and if you don’t know what something is, the internet is your friend! Like anything else with nutrition, it’s important to do your homework.

Don’t choose a food simply based on what the food label says. Read the nutrition facts, look through the ingredients, and make that decision based on what is important to you.

When it comes down to it, you may not prefer natural food or organic food to conventional food, and that’s totally fine! As a firm believer in flexible dieting, I firmly believe that no food should ever be off-limits.

You can choose regular milk over organic milk, or you can choose Oreo cookies over the “healthy” cookie with organic ingredients.

No judgement here.

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About Matt Rosenman

With over 15 years of experience in health and fitness, Matt Rosenman is the expert voice behind Matt’s philosophy is simple: no foods are off-limits, and a healthy lifestyle shouldn't be complicated or restrictive. As a former certified personal trainer with a bachelor’s degree in Health Behavioral Sciences, Matt brings well-rounded expertise to his blog. From revamping classic recipes with a nutritious twist to breaking down fast food menus, his goal is make healthy living less confusing for everyone. Featured in major publications and with a strong following on social media, Matt is committed to making “healthy” uncomplicated—no matter where you are in your health journey. Join Matt on his mission to simplify health without sacrificing flavor. Learn More