Let's be honest: Aside from the fact that "natural" is a nice idea, it's a term that can nonetheless be applied to anything from nuclear energy to cigarettes. And "organic", while now representing a wonderful system that finally has clear regulatory guidelines, is still not a “whole” idea and an end unto itself.
Why? Because an organic soda filled with lots of organic sugar is still bad for your health just as an organic burrito loaded with organic salt is giving your body things it doesn't need.
So who comes along to reinvent things and create a new paradigm we consumers can use to find food that's really good for us? Not your friendly natural food store – but Hannaford, a large grocery store chain here in the Northeast. They’ve just launched their Guiding Star program, which rates 27,000 of the food products the company sells on their health and nutritional values. The system gives no stars to the least healthy products on Hannaford shelves and three stars to the best. Of the 27,000 products that were plugged into Hannaford’s formula, 77 percent received no stars. This system, while far from perfect, is a huge step forward in looking at healthy eating from a more holistic point of view.
Why do we need it? Because labels and claims like “fair trade,” “not-tested on animals,” “non-toxic,” “low-fat,” and “heart healthy,” to name just a few, don’t tell the whole story nor do they incorporate the whole impact the product bearing them can have on your health. There’s more on the program in the New York Times, but for now all I can say is way to go Hannaford!