There are a lot of “buzz” words out there that can be confusing for those trying to make healthy lifestyle changes. I’ve compiled a list below of the most commonly misunderstood words. While this isn’t all-inclusive, it will give you a good foundation to build your nutrition vernacular. Be prepared and don’t let health lingo fool you when trying to make the best choices for you and your family.
All-Natural – This does not have a legal definition by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The term “all-natural” is often used to imply foods that are minimally processed and whose ingredients are natural; this means they do not contain additives such as sweeteners, antibiotics, colors, or other synthetic substances. Be careful though! Don’t confuse all-natural with organic.
PURE is committed to providing premium-quality products based on the best of science and nature. This philosophy includes the avoidance of artificial dyes or colors, flavors, sweeteners, and other potentially harmful ingredients. The majority of ingredients PURE selects for inclusion are natural, derived from natural sources, or made through nature processes.
Calories – Technically, a calorie is a unit of measurement reflecting the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. In simpler terms, a calorie is the energy released by food, and we need that energy to survive! But calories are only part of the healthy eating equation. One hundred calories of potato chips will nourish and satisfy us differently than 100 calories of nuts or fruits. Other macronutrients matter, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, and sugar.
Gluten-free – Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. According to the FDA, a food must contain no more than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in order to use “gluten-free” on its label. The label was designed for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance so they could avoid foods that could cause health problems. Be aware that gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Even gluten-free foods can be high in calories, fat, sugar, and artificial ingredients. Products by PURE that are gluten-free include: Daily Build, GoYin, CalciuMK+, ENERGY (Grape, Watermelon, Island Splash®, Mixed Berry and Lemon flavors), Mila, Organic Sulfur, Probiotic, Alkaline Water Concentrate, Cell Water, Immune6, Silver, All Superfruit juices, 360 Complete Shakes (vanilla bean & cacao), Matcha Vegan Shakes (vanilla & dark chocolate), Metabolic ONE, Green Coffee Bean, PURE Café, Cleanse capsules and liquid, and the GPS line.
GMO – GMO stands for genetically modified organism. This is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These modifications have focused mainly on crops, such as corn and soy, which are in high demand from farmers. Genetically modified crops and ingredients have been under much scrutiny lately as to whether they pose a threat to human health.
Following recent guidance provided to the industry by the FDA on non-GMO and GMO labeling, PURE will conduct a thorough evaluation and testing of its products to confirm the absence of GMOs. Daily Build, GoYin and ENERGY all tested as non-GMO.
Healthy – The word “healthy” means different things to different people; it could be physical health, emotional health, and/or overall well-being, or the absence of certain conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” If a food is labeled as “healthy,” many assume it meets this goal. However, even foods labeled as “healthy” can still contain sugar (despite being fat-free or sugar-free), and artificial ingredients, including sweeteners, colors and flavors. Make sure the choices you make, including the food you eat, nourish your mind, body, and soul.
Multi-grain – Don’t get this term confused with whole-grain. Multi-grain means that a food contains more than one type of grain, although it may not be a whole grain. There is no standardized regulation or definition and the term can be added to any label as long as the product contains more than one type of grain. Always look for the word “whole” on your labels to ensure you are making the most nutritious selections.
Organic – According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic products are those without growth hormones, antibiotics, conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and GMOs. Again, just because a product is organic doesn’t mean it’s any healthier than its non-organic counterpart; an organic cookie should be consumed in moderation, just like a non-organic cookie. However, if you have room in your budget, certain fruits and vegetables are best purchased organic. These are known as the “Dirty Dozen” by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and are singled out because they contain the highest pesticide load. These include peaches, strawberries, nectarines, apples, spinach, celery, pears, sweet bell peppers, cherries, potatoes, lettuce, and imported grapes.
Preservatives – These are substances used in products to prevent decay and other undesirable changes. Preservation can either be chemical, adding a compound to a product, or physical, such as refrigeration or drying. Preservatives reduce the risk of food-borne infections, decrease spoilage, and preserve quality. A common additive that prevents oxidation is ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
Superfoods – While there is no legal definition of superfoods, these are foods that are nutritional powerhouses and pack large amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Blueberries, acai, goji, seeds, and green tea are all considered superfoods.
Wellness – If we think we are healthy, then what does it mean to be well? My favorite definition is from Dr. Bill Hettler, MD, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute, “Achieving wellness is about finding balance in the six equal areas of your life: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social and occupational.” A high level of wellness is crucial to living a healthy life. Everything we do feeds our well-being.
What words often confuse you when making decisions for you and your family?