Natural foods are foods that are minimally processed. Natural foods do not include ingredients such as refined sugars, refined flours, milled grains, hydrogenated oils, sweeteners, food colors, or flavorings.
Sucanat, stevia, raw honey, agave syrup and maple syrup are sweeteners often used in place of white sugar in a natural foods diet. Sea salt is also preferred over table salt.
Proponents of natural foods diets argue that refined ingredients promote obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
During the natural food movement, natural foods were made popular in America and Western Europe during the 1970s. Its principles include avoiding artificial ingredients and 'processed' foods such as refined sugar and white flour.
Food produced or sold according to the ideals of the natural food movement is sometimes known colloquially as 'health food,' although many people also use that term in a broader sense to mean any type of healthy eating.
Although in modern times the natural food diet has largely been practiced only by a minority, it has frequently influenced the way the wider population eats.
Many groceries, restaurants and cookbooks utilize and promote natural foods. Natural foods are sold at natural food stores, food cooperatives, and larger chains.