I really am starting to loathe this word. It has been used and abused by food companies and marketers to the point that I think it's lost it's true meaning. Sort of like when someone swears too much in a conversation....it just loses its punch.
I understand the need to move towards whole/less processed foods. I am adamant about people getting back into the kitchen and getting back to the basics. I wouldn't teach cooking classes if I didn't believe in this, but people become so dependent on this word as a beacon to healthiness that they often get led astray.
You know what else is 'Natural"?
But you don't see people advocating for the regular consumption of those things listed above. Just because something is natural, doesn't mean it is healthy.
For example: butter and lard are 'natural' in the sense that they came from a cow, but the reality is that over consumption of foods high in saturated fats (like lard and butter) increase bad cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease.
All natural fruit juice is also perceived as healthy but it has the same amount of sugar in it as pop (even if you juice it at home).
There are many other examples I could use, but it would make this post far too long.
I actually wrinkle my nose when I hear commercials that use the word natural. Take this Nature Valley Bar commercial below. It's naturally delicious with it's natural dark chocolate, peanuts and oats.
Your right: It's also naturally full of 170 calories, 9g of fat (of which half is saturated), 2 grams of fibre and 12 grams of sugar (that's about 3 teaspoons).
Here's a good guideline with granola bars: aim for 8 grams of sugar or less and 4 grams of fibre or more and if it's a snack, it should be more than 150 calories.
But back to the matter at hand: NATURAL DOES NOT EQUAL HEALTHY! Don't let them fool you, even if the commercial is pretty.