Admit it. If, right now, you could bite down on a crispy, crunchy potato chip that was “natural” and therefore good for you, you’d do it, right?

Thought so. Makers of potato chips and corn chips, pancake mixes, frozen waffles, frosted breakfast cereals, ice cream and other taste tempters think so too.

That’s why the word “natural” appears so frequently on food packages these days. Marketing experts know that, for many consumers, natural equals healthful, and that sells.

In fact, the word “natural” on a food package means next to nothing because “natural” has no meaning in law or regulation. For these reasons, the use of “natural” on food products all too often distracts attention from more important considerations.

Natural” and even “organic” may even be misleading if it implies that a product is free of chemical additives (often not the case) or that competitors’ products are “unnatural” and therefore bad for you.

Almost all foods today are processed in some way, and unless you are able to buy exclusively from a farmers’ market or grown your own fruits and vegetables, much of what you eat have seen the inside of a lab, factory or high tech warehouse.

Food science has become so sophisticated that it can be difficult to know where natural and organic ends and unnatural and organic begins.

There are breakfast cereals made from organically grown wheat with raisins made from organically grown grapes.

However, the cereal itself can have lots of preservatives. It may contain lots of added aluminized salt and processed sugar, which are “natural” but in the quantities that you find in breakfast cereals, they’re not healthful and can be very harmful.

Even natural and organic foods require some degree of processing