Word of the Week: Natural

On Monday I posted about how doctors don't communicate to their patients well enough.  Today I'd like to talk about something a bit outside the medical community, but still in the health industry.  This week's word is Natural.  I posted about this a few years ago, but thought it was appropriate to bring it back this week to share with you a very important distinction that is not usually made when advertising health related products. Natural By JoJo Tabares You may never know it by listening to political rhetoric, TV commercials or the main-stream media, but words actually mean things.  Specific things!  If we allow ourselves to get caught up in the current trend to re-define words and to use them as we see fit, we end up saying nothing of value.  If we don’t realize that today’s societal trend is to adopt a Shakespearian attitude in applying meanings to words, we may be fooled into believing something that just isn’t so. In the next several weeks, I will be sharing some of the ways in which words are misused or even purposely used incorrectly and how to discern the truth by paying close attention the real meaning of words. This week’s word is…Natural.  Natural is a word misused by the advertising industry and is one of my Dad’s pet peeves.  Natural means “existing in or produced by nature : not artificial.”  (Merriam Webster.com)   Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which the word natural is used in advertising. *All Natural  *Natural Goodness  *Naturally Good  *Naturally Delicious “Natural” is an advertising technique.  Advertisers use the word “natural” in a way that leads you to believe that, if it’s natural, it has to be good for you.  This is not always true.  Here is a short list of things that exist in nature that are NOT good for you. •    Tornadoes (and other Natural Disasters) •    Scarlet Fever (and some people reportedly die of “Natural Causes”) •    Cocaine (but this is not what you would consider a Natural High) Why is this an important distinction?  Because not everything that is advertised as “natural” is natural and not everything that is natural is so good for you.  There are things that exist in nature that are not good for you when taken in large amounts-like salt.  If you drink too much water in a short period of time, you can die.  We know this from the radio stations that have had water drinking contests with disastrous results!  “Natural” potato chips may be better for you, but if you eat too many, you will still gain weight.  If you eat them exclusively, you are not getting the nutrition you need. I remember a Bill Cosby stand up routine where his wife asked him to get breakfast for the children.  His young daughter wanted chocolate cake, which was already made and easily served.  He argued that it had natural ingredients like flour, eggs and milk.  Though his children were singing praises to dad for the chocolate cake with natural ingredients, mom didn’t believe it was a good choice for breakfast. Related to all things natural is the word “Organic”.  Organic foods are all the rage lately.  Naturally good for you.  Consumer Reports did a study several years ago about Organic Foods.  They determined that organic foods containing no pesticides were no more healthful than those that used pesticides.  Actually, they determined that some organic foods might contain a larger amount of micro organisms for which the pesticides are used.  In fact, it found that it can be dangerous to buy organic fish and seafood because fish can contain mercury, which is also natural. Many products use the word “natural” in order to get you to buy them, but some of them are really not very good for you.  Fruit snacks may have natural flavoring, but I wouldn’t suggest my kids eat many of them.  Something may be listed as “All Natural” but if you read the packaging, you’ll find that not all of the ingredients are natural. In general, it is true that things are better the way they are created by God in nature.  However, not everything labeled as “natural” really is and not everything that is natural is really good.  Remember that the Lord gave the Jews many laws, the purpose of which was to protect them from some of the more deadly things that are “natural”. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer.  Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula.  You can also find JoJo on web sites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com.  For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com Words mean things, don’t they?  What say you about the "natural" things advertised these days? 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  • Stromrechner

    Wonderful, what a website it is! This blog gives helpful information to us, keep it up.

  • JoJo

    Thank you.

  • Strom

    Keep on working, great job!

  • JoJo

    Sneaky, those advertisers! And it’s up to consumers to be aware of what they are buying. Can’t trust what we see on the packaging. Look at the ingredients.

  • Carla

    Very true and a point that needs making! Lots of folks will buy anything that says “natural” or “organic” on it. It’s just like the no cholesterol craze. Cholesterol is only found in animal products, but you’ll see bread labeled “a cholesterol free product.” Well, yeah. . . Same thing with low fat foods. Is it low fat? Well, yes, it is, but check out how they make it that way. . . they up the sugar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UGH

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