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The “All Natural Fallacy”


Healthy,” “all natural,” “organic”

These adjectives have infiltrated our supermarkets. So what do the words imply? Food in its natural state (or close to it), unaltered, without added antibiotics, sprayed with minimal (or, ideally, no) pesticides or herbicides, and not processed. For something to truly be “all natural” you would have to, say, fish for seafood and then scale and clean your catch, harvest and then grind your grains, plant and then pick your berries, etc.

Paradoxically, the majority of products labelled with these adjectives (“healthy,” “all natural,” and “organic”) sit on shelves. They are packaged in boxes which are stamped with striking expiration dates.

 

 


“Appeal to Nature,” or “Argumentum ad Naturam”

Rhetoricians call this fallacy “Appeal to Nature,” or “Argumentum ad Natural.” Essentially, a company can claim that something is good because it’s natural, or bad because it’s unnatural. The company isn’t lying; it’s simply manipulating language to market its product. And you know what? The marketing strategy works.

 

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How appealing is this Skinny Pop?! It must be “all natural,” right? Wrong. Just because it contains corn, a grain that can be harvested, does not mean that it’s all natural. You neither harvested nor popped the kernels yourself. Therefore, it’s not in its natural state.


 

“Argumentum ad Ignorantiam” 

The label, “Skinny Pop” can also function as an appeal to emotion, most notably “Argument from Ignorance,” or “Argumentum ad Ignorantiam.” 

“An appeal to ignorance is an argument for or against a proposition on the basis of a lack of evidence against or for it. If there is positive evidence for the conclusion, then of course we have other reasons for accepting it, but a lack of evidence by itself is no evidence.”

The marketing language of the Skinny Pop suggests that if you eat this popcorn, then you will get skinny. First of all, one should only strive for optimal health. So even if only eating popcorn, and nothing else, made one skinny, this would jeopardize overall health and most likely lead to malnourishment, or some other metabolic disorder. Oh, and you know those “superfoods” that promote weight loss? Don’t buy into the gimmick. Above all else, strive for homeostasis.


 

You shouldn’t feel deprived

On the other hand, if you truly enjoy, say, the Skinny Pop, or some other brand of popcorn, then by all means, go ahead and buy some. Food deprivation can be detrimental, too. Mike likes the taste of Skinny Pop. So we actually have this popcorn in our condo. I also carry around processed protein bars and other snacks when I am on the go, in case hunger strikes. I cannot eat Skinny Pop because I have a corn allergy, though.

There’s nothing wrong with a little processed food; however, processed food should only be a small portion of your daily intake (i.e. a maximum of two single serving bags of Skinny Pop per day).

You shouldn’t feel deprived or ashamed of your food choices.


Truth

Don’t fall for marketing strategies out of sheer ignorance. Be smart about what you buy. Be a critical consumer. Shop for nutrition.

Don’t accept everything that you hear as true. Question everything.

In order to learn, you must research–a lot. There will be conflicting views and different schools of thought. Read about them all. You and your brilliant mind need to figure out what is true.

 

 

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