Is Natural Food Healthy?
- 1.3k Downloads
Is food’s naturalness conceptually connected to its healthiness? Answering the question requires spelling out the following: (1) What is meant by the healthiness of food? (2) What different conceptual meanings the term natural has in the context of food? (3) Are some of those meanings connected to the healthiness of food? In this paper the healthiness of food is understood narrowly as food’s accordance with nutritional needs of its eater. The connection of healthiness to the following five food-related senses of the term “natural’’ is analyzed: naturalness as nutritive suitability, naturalness as moderate need satisfaction, naturalness as lack of human influence, naturalness as authenticity, and naturalness as familiarity. It is concluded that some very common current uses of the term “natural,” such as naturalness as lack of human influence, are not conceptually connected to the healthiness of food. Nevertheless, the first two senses of naturalness are strongly conceptually connected to healthiness in the food context and the last one may be indirectly related to it. Thus, desire for natural food is not necessarily mistaken and misguided.
KeywordsFood Natural Healthy Conceptual analysis
I want to thank Peter Sandøe and anonymous referees for their useful comments on the earlier versions of this paper, Susanne Uusitalo for correcting my English, and Academy of Finland for the financial support.
- Brennan, A. (1988). Thinking about nature: An investigation on nature, value and ecology. Chatham: Mackays of Chatman PLC.Google Scholar
- Budiansky, S. (1992). The covenant of the wild: Why animals chose domestication. London: Phoenix.Google Scholar
- Callicott, J. B. (1995). Animal liberation: A triangular affair. In C. Pierce & D. Van De Veer (Eds.), People, penguins, and plastic trees (pp. 237–254). Belmont: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
- Cooley, D. R., & Goreham, G. A. (2004). Are transgenic organisms unnatural. Ethics and the Environment, 9(1), 46–55.Google Scholar
- D’Silva, J. (1995). A critical view of the genetic engineering of farm animals. In P. Wheale & R. McNally (Eds.), Animal genetic engineering: Of pigs, oncomice and men. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
- Frazier, K. (2010). Natural low carb diet. Retrieved 15 May. http://www.livestrong.com/article/298363-natural-low-carb-diet/.
- Freston, K. (2009). Shattering the meat myth: Humans are natural vegetarians. Huffpost healthy living. Retrieved 14 June 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-freston/shattering-the-meat-myth_b_214390.html.
- Häyry, M. (1994). Categorical objections to genetic engineering—A critique. In A. Dyson & J. Harris (Eds.), Ethics and biotechnology (pp. 202–215). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Häyry, M., & Häyry, H. (1989). Ihmisoikeudet, moraali ja lisääntymisen vapaus. In H. Häyry & M. Häyry (Eds.), Luonnotonta lastensaantia (pp. 174–195). Helsinki: Gaudeamus.Google Scholar
- Johnson, L. (2011). How to avoid processed foods in a healthy diet. Retrieved 15 May. http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/healthscience/2010/june/how-to-avoid-processed-foods-in-a-healthy-diet-/.
- Kaplan, D. M. (2012). Introduction: The philosophy of food. In D. M. Kaplan (Ed.), The philosophy of food (pp. 1–23). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Lemoine, M. (2009). The meaning and opposition between healthy and pathological. Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy, 12(3), 335–362.Google Scholar
- Loren, K. (2012). Natural milk vs. processed milk. Retrieved 16 May. http://www.karlloren.com/milk.htm.
- Margetts, B. M., Martinez, J. A., Saba, A., Holm, L., & Kearney, M. (1997). Definitions of “healthy” eating: A pan-EU survey of consumer attitudes to food, nutrition and health. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 51, 23–29.Google Scholar
- Matt, D., Rembialkowska, E., Luik, A., Peetsman, E., & Pehme, S. (2011). Quality of organic vs. conventional food and effects on health. Estonian university of life sciences. Retrieved 10 May 2012. http://orgprints.org/19504/1/Report_2011_%281%29.pdf.
- McKibben, B. (1989). The end of nature. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
- Midgley, M. (1995). Sidelight: Do what’s natural, you say? In C. Pierce & D. Van De Veer (Eds.), People, penguins and plastic trees (pp. 103–105). Belmont: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
- Mill, J. S. (1969). Essays on ethics, religion and society. Toronto: Toronto University Press.Google Scholar
- Nordenfelt, L. (2002). On health and natural functions. In A. Gimmler, C. Lenk, & G. Aumüller (Eds.), Health and quality of life (pp. 19–26). Münster: Lit Verlag.Google Scholar
- Nordenfelt, L. (2006). Animal and human health and welfare: A comparative philosophical analysis. Wallingford: CAB International.Google Scholar
- Räikkä, J., & Rossi, K. (2002). Geenit ja etiikka: Kysymyksiä uuden geeniteknologian arvoista. Helsinki: WSOY.Google Scholar
- Richards, J. R. (1984). The sceptical feminist: A philosophical enquiry. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
- Sagoff, M. (2001). Genetic engineering and the concept of the natural. Philosophy and the Policy Quarterly, 21(1), 2–10.Google Scholar
- Saher, M. (2006). Everyday beliefs about food and health. Helsinki: Yliopistopaino.Google Scholar
- Scott-Thomas, C. (2009). US consumers think that natural is greener than organic, says survey. Food Navigator-USA, 6 July 2009. Retrieved April 24 2011. http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Financial-Industry/US-consumers-think-natural-is-greener-than-organic-says-survey.
- Scrinis, G. (2012). Nutritionism and functional foods. In D. Kaplan (Ed.), The philosophy of food. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Smith, R. (2002). In search of a “non-disease”. BMJ, 324(883), 1.Google Scholar
- Stone, C. D. (1972). Should trees have standing?—Towards legal rights for natural objects. Southern California Law Review, 45, 450–501.Google Scholar
- Thompson, D. B., & McDonald, B. (forthcoming). What food is “Good’’ for you? Toward a pragmatic consideration of multiple values domains. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. Online first.Google Scholar
- Tulloch, A. (2005). What do we mean by health? British Journal of General Practice, April 2005, 320–323.Google Scholar
- WHO (1948). Preamble to the constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 states (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948. Retrieved 10 May. http://www.who.int/about/definition/en/print.html.
- Wong, C. (2011). Raw food diet. Retrieved 15 May 2012. http://altmedicine.about.com/od/popularhealthdiets/a/Raw_Food.htm.