Often, we as consumers look for the word “natural.” It gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling that it wasn’t synthesized in a laboratory by terrorists who want to give you cancer.
Likewise, we shy away from anything artificial, because it’s “not natural.”
The truth is that not everything that’s natural is healthy, just like not everything that’s artificial is unhealthy.
Granted, most things that are natural are good, and most things that are not natural are likely not good. But there are exceptions, and to indiscriminately say “all things that are natural are good, and all things that are artificial are bad” would be false.
For instance, did you know that “natural” strawberry and raspberry flavour comes from a beaver’s anus? Silly me, and I thought that natural strawberry flavour comes from a strawberry. Well, I guess it is natural. After all, it wasn’t synthesized in a laboratory.
There are also poisonous mushrooms. They certainly are natural. They do grow in nature. But these all-natural mushrooms will kill you.
Likewise, not everything that’s artificial is automatically bad. For instance, folate is a vitamin that is needed for cell replication. It also helps pregnant women make sure their babies are born without neurological defects. Folate is natural. Folic acid is not natural. That’s the synthetic version of folate. And yet, folic acid has a higher absorption compared to folate.
Another thing that isn’t natural is whey protein. Sure, it’s a natural component of dairy, but to extract and isolate it is definitely not natural. And yet, whey is extremely health promoting. For one thing, it helps you maintain your muscle mass as you age. But one thing that not a lot of people know about whey protein is that it’s also beneficial for the immune system, as well as the digestive system (and then again, not for all people).
So what’s the lesson in all of this? Natural isn’t automatically healthy, and synthetic isn’t automatically unhealthy.
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