Is It Even Possible For Food To Be 'Natural' Anymore?

Did GMOs change the game?

We all know that eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are important for a healthy, balanced diet. But even if someone only eats produce, is their diet considered natural? The obvious answer might be yes, because someone is eating an unprocessed plant, but it's actually an unanswerable question since there isn't an official consensus about what the term "natural" actually means.

The reason "natural" is such a tricky word to define is because modern agriculture and food production techniques have made almost all foods quite different than how they were before human intervention. 


Humans have been shaping the appearance and qualities of plants for thousands of years through selective breeding. In recent decades, genetic modification has given scientists the ability to speed up the process. Instead of pushing a group of crops to take on certain attributes over several generations, they can manipulate the genetic code directly, getting desired effects much faster.

Many may argue that GMOs aren't natural, but is selective breeding if it effectively does the same thing?

It is true that many foods currently have the word "natural" on their labeling, but without a specific definition from the Food and Drug Administration, it's not much more than a marketing ploy. The issue is currently being debated by the FDA, but it's anyone's guess what will ultimately be decided. 

DNews explains more factors that make "natural" such a conundrum here:

Cover image: Shutterstock


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.