Food labels: What’s natural? high maltose corn syrup? maltodextrin?

What's natural?

What is natural?

A friend gave me an energy bar and said, “Here try this. It’s natural.”

At the time I didn’t try it because I was not hungry but when I went to try it, I took a closer look. The package says 100 percent natural. Then it says “fruit and nut”.  Then it says “almond, raisin, peanut & cranberry.”

She probably didn’t delve further and thought that almonds, raisins, peanuts, and cranberries equals natural.

But here’s what’s really in Nature Valley’s chewy trail mix bar.

Here’s the ingredients in order: whole grain oats, high maltose corn syrup, raisins, almonds, honey, sugar, roasted peanuts, rice flour, fructose, cranberries, canola oil, maltodextrin, soy lecithin, salt, malt extract, baking soda, natural flavor, mixed tocopherols to retain freshness.

Why does a chewy trail mix bar have so many sweeteners such high maltose corn syrup, honey, sugar, and fructose? And what is natural flavor?

Contains almond, peanut, and soy, may contain sunflower ingredients.

Naturally, it’s better to eat your trail mix from a bag — nuts, seeds, dried fruit.

Now there are some energy bars that are only three or four ingredients. Lara Bar comes to mind as does perhaps one version of a Clif Bar.

When I see these products and read the ingredients, I know this mega food companies like General Mills, (the maker of Nature Valley’s chewy trail mix bar) thinks the average consumer is stupid and likes us that way.


  1. Amy

    “Naturally, it’s better to eat your trail mix from a bag — nuts, seeds, dried fruit.”

    If you make your own trail mix, you better check the label on the freakin’ nuts! I thought the Blue Diamond “Natural” Oven Roasted Almonds with Sea Salt tasted kind of sweet. I checked the label & found: almonds, sea salt and corn maltodextrin!

    That’s how I found your website. Yours was the first one on my “corn maltodextrin” search list that looked like I could trust the info…

    • Karyn Zoldan

      I wish the FDA would come up with a definition for “natural” and stick with it. Practically the entire food industry would revolt though as it doesn’t like to police itself as far as what they believe are good marketing buzzwords.

  2. Cliff

    Same here!
    My wife bought a bag of the Blue Diamond “Natural” Oven Roasted Almonds with Sea Salt for me. I should have read the ingredients “before” I opened the bag and ate a few!
    I’ve been trying to avoid HFCS & other GMO, etc. for several months now after watching a video online about Monsanto.

  3. Karyn Zoldan


    Thanks so much for the response. I wish more people were educated about HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), GMOs, and Monsanto. What a wonderful world this would be. Now it’s all about greedy corporations and profits over people.

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