When you adopt a gluten-free lifestyle you’ll don several hats, one of which is “label reader.” But you probably never would expect the gluten-free life would also begin with a crash course in marketing and advertising lingo. Not only do you have to know how to look for and avoid gluten, you need to learn packaging linguistics as if you didn’t have enough on your plate.
The two most commonly used terms in the world of product packaging are “all natural” and “organic.” While these words are blessings for those who enjoy a healthy lifestyle, they are umbrella words that describe the overall nature of a product and can trick the unsuspecting gluten-avoider. If a product is coined “all natural,” it does not use unnatural ingredients. If a product is coined “organic,” it’s made with ingredients grown and manufactured according to strict organic regulations. Some products are just partially organic, utilizing organic ingredients when they can.
A large portion of gluten-free products are labeled “all natural” or “organic,” but don’t assume that all foods with those labels are gluten-free. You have to research the product further. A person unfamiliar with the health food industry may come across many unfamiliar terms, such as “All Natural,” “Organic,” “Hormone and Pesticide Free,” “naturally raised,” “cage-free,” and many more. It may seem as if they all blend together and mean the same thing. But a lesson in natural food terminology quickly reveals that each term has its own distinct meaning. While you may like the words “allnatural” and “organic,” you can’t stop there. You must always look for the words “gluten-free” or at least analyze the product to make sure there’s no gluten, whether or not it’s labeled “all natural” or “organic.”