We’re all learning that food labeled as “natural” are more often than not about as natural as a synthetic plastic factory. Because “natural” is not really regulated, food labeled as such can be chock full of GMOs and pesticide-covered ingredients.

Yet the use of natural and all its variations as proliferated on food labels of all kinds, and we are still buying them. While issues of cost and access are definitely always at play and are, of course,valid reasons to not opt non-GMO and/or organic options, do your best to avoid these so-called natural food types that are simply making a mockery of the term in all its marketing glory.

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  1. 'Natural' Corn Chips

    If you’re buying natural corn chips that aren’t made with organic corn, the joke may really be on you. Currently, up to 85 percent of corn in the U.S. is GMO — meaning that “natural” corn chip is chock full of genetically modified anything-but-naturalness.


  2. 'Natural' Soy Protein Powders

    Sorry, kids, there’s hardly any chance that non-organic soy product you’re using to buff up or fill up with is ‘natural’ when its first ingredient, soy, is more likely than not genetically modified. Upwards of 91 percent of soy in the U.S. is GMO, meaning if you’re not buying an organic soy protein powder, you’re likely ingesting a whole lot of not-natural in your daily shake.


  3. 'Natural' Cereals

    Unless your natural cereal — whether it’s from a “natural” company or from a conventional company like General Mills — puts organic corn and/or soy in its cereal as opposed to the GMO-full, pesticide-heavy stuff found in conventional corn and soy crops, your cereal can be one big unnatural mess. As Men’s Health explains, “Most corn and soy ingredients come from genetically engineered crops, which have never even been proven safe. In fact, scientists have linked GMOs to serious health problems.” Steer clear, and definitely don’t feed your kids this “natural” stuff, either!


  4. 'Natural' Canola Oil

    Canola is right up there with corn and soy as the most-genetically-modified, so, sorry, Green Monsters, if you need canola oil for a recipe, opt for organic or choose another organic oil. Certainly don’t go for the ‘natural’ canola oil variations, which most likely are about as natural as a monkey with seven heads.


  5. 'Natural' Processed Bakery Items With Non-Organic Sugar

    Sugar beets are also at the top of the GMO list in this country, so avoid baked goods, which are more likely than not to list sugar as a top ingredient, unless you know the sugar is organically derived. As the Non-GMO Shopping Guide explains: “If a non-organic product made in North American lists “sugar” as an ingredient (and NOT pure cane sugar), then it is almost certainly a combination of sugar from both sugar cane and GM sugar beets.” Yikes!

    While almost all products labeled simply as “natural” should be avoided, these are some of the worst of the worst, because, by the sheer nature of their ingredients and the likely origin of said ingredients, make an absolute mockery of the word “natural.” By all means, avoid these, and buy organic whenever financially possible — or opt for non-GMO whole foods more often, keeping processed goods far away from your shopping cart and your body!

    Lead image source: What Does the ‘Natural’ Label Really Mean?