Consumers have shown a preference over the last couple of decades towards items labeled natural, organic, and free of artificial ingredients. The belief is that any natural item exceeds in quality and usefulness anything manmade. Unnatural, or synthetic products can still contain many natural ingredients, but they do not naturally occur in the world in their finished form. So, is one better than the other? Are people that restrict themselves to only natural foods and supplements healthier and safer?
Risks from Nature
It’s important to remember that natural doesn’t inherently mean safe for you to consume. Allergic reactions alone are dangerous enough and certainly attainable through any kind of product. Then of course there’s produce to consider. Vegetables grown without pesticides run the risk of bacteria and fungi growing on them. E. Coli outbreaks are not uncommon with some leafy greens and are as dangerous as any bacterial infection. Even natural products that seem exclusively good can be bad for you if consumed in large quantities. Castor oil is effective at speeding up wound healing, is an anti-inflammatory and works well as a laxative. However Castor beans themselves contain ricin, a toxic chemical which is lethal in large quantities. Like all medicines, even if natural, castor oil carries the risk of being toxic. The point being: natural products in overabundance can be as dangerous as any other product that you over indulge.
Many people eat potatoes daily. Potatoes contain iron, magnesium, and zinc, and many other nutrients. If improperly stored in sunlight, potatoes can also turn green due to excess chlorophyll. Once green, the potatoes taste bitter and cause digestive disorders and headaches.
Benefits of Nature
Natural products benefit humans because they give the body what they need to thrive. Natural foods contain high levels of nutrients that keep people healthy, help to prevent disease, and make it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
Danger of Synthetics
Synthetic products appear in the form of foods, supplements, and other nutritional products. The products enable people to have access to nutrients they may struggle to get through their normal diet. Synthetic products can compare unfavorably to natural foods because they may not provide the amount of a nutrient someone needs, or the formula may contain fillers that sometimes cause side effects or allergic reactions.
Benefits of Synthetics
Certain illnesses or a lack of available or affordable foods to provide a balanced diet can make synthetics a healthy option for some people. Good quality supplements and vitamins without harmful fillers can provide what the individual cannot get from nature. Synthetic foods can also become a necessity when food shortages occur. Lab-grown meats or vegan cheese offer an alternative when natural products are unavailable in the amount needed for the population.
Natural and synthetic products have benefits and risks. The healthiest option for everyone is to understand what their body needs and to use the safest option available to them. Synthetic consumables often offer a healthy alternative that contains many healthy and natural ingredients.