On eating natural foods

Sometimes I wonder, as I pursue (gradually) healthier eating habits and begin shopping for food for my son, whether buying “natural” foods makes a difference. I’m fairly progressive, but I’ve never fallen hard for organic foods or shied away from processed sweets. The difference doesn’t always shout out at me.
And then I read some labels.
Consider the ingredients in the Skippy peanut butter in my kitchen. I grew up with Skippy, my wife eats Skippy, it’s peanut butter! But take a peek at the ingredient list, reprinted verbatim:
Roasted peanuts
Corn syrup solids
Soy protein
Hydrogenated vegetable oils to prevent separation
Mono and diglycerides
I always assumed, well, that’s how peanut butter is made, right? But then I got into Cream-Nut, the old-fashioned peanut butter made in Michigan and purchased at my local Fairway market. Its ingredient list:
Sea salt
The difference is a revelation. So, too, is the nutrition that comes from each–the Skippy has four and a half times as much sodium, two and half times the carbohydrates and four times the sugar.
In fairness, Skippy now makes a Natural line of its own, so this isn’t really about how Unilever is evil. It’s a reminder to myself that the processed foods of the past half-century do, indeed, come from worse places, no matter how good they taste. The current trend away from these foods is a bandwagon I’m going to try to stick with.
I doubt I can do anything to help Nate’s sweet tooth, which I inherited from my grandmother. But at the very least, I can get him hooked on the right kind of peanut butter.