The Word Organic
The word ‘organic’ is a misunderstood beast.
In the strict scientific definition of the word, technically all food is organic, because it contains carbon atoms.
Organic has more subtle meanings in the world of food, however. The idea of organic goes along with the concepts of natural vs synthetic food. Organic to many means free of chemicals.
However, food can be natural and organic, yet still unsafe for you. Then on the other hand, you can have synthetic, manufactured foods that are perfectly safe and even good for you.
I’ve spoken before about how detox diets are a myth created by the diet industry. There is a lot of marketing fluff language that seeps into public consciousness and takes root.
Even the word ‘chemical’ is grossly misunderstood. For many people it’s an extremely negative word. The fact is, you cannot live without chemicals. Even man-made chemicals are not always dangerous to your health. We actually need many man-made chemicals.
People equate the word ‘chemical’ to the word ‘poison’, when it is anything but. Is it being pedantic to point out these differences? Not in my opinion. Even real chemists have been known to be lazy and slip into this marketing-speak. It confuses and misleads people, and clouds the issue.
It makes it difficult to have meaningful conversations about where the truth lies.
Did you know that natural fruits and vegetables are full of chemicals that are potentially toxic? Apples, pears, potatoes and any number of vegetables contain these toxins.
The good news is that they are still ok to eat. These toxins are present, but only in very small doses that will not harm you. Chemicals only become toxic or ‘poisonous’ to your body if consumed at a threshold dosage.
So when a company claims a food item is ‘chock full of chemicals’, it is misleading and misinforming the public. One can make a counter claim to any statement by using such vague language, and we as consumers don’t know who to believe.
If a company wants you to believe the food is healthy, they can say it is ‘chemical-free’. If it’s in someone’s interest to damn a food product, they can point to the fact it contains many chemicals. The language has become so hazy that it is impossible to convey real meaning without educating consumers first.
There is a strong misconception that synthetic chemicals are inherently bad for you, and a purveying sense that they cause many forms of cancer and other common diseases.
While a lot of the studies that are pointed to show that these chemicals were ‘present’ when an effect occurred (such as a disease forming), there is absolutely no evidence that the presence of these chemicals had any ‘causal’ effect whatsoever. It’s the old correlation misunderstanding – just because 2 things happen at the same time, does not mean that one caused the other. Often this information is deliberately presented in this way to mislead consumers, which is dangerous but has become a sad fact of modern life.
Another major misconception is that new chemicals are being produced all the time and that we are part of some grand experiment which is not controlled or regulated. There are actually laws in the US that prevents this from being the case. There are regulations in place to control when and where chemicals can be introduced, and how they are transported, used and disposed of.
So beware when you see words like organic, chemical, detox, poison, natural, and man-made. Understand that they may be there to mislead you, and do your due diligence to uncover the truth behind the claims.