Natural Products Expo provides a taste of trending healthy stuff

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Tasting your way through six massive convention halls is no easy task at the annual four-day Natural Product Expo West.

To navigate around here you'll need the lingo: Organic, gluten-free, probiotics, allergen-free and carbon neutral are just a few examples.

"FODY is a company that specializes in low FODMAP foods for people that suffer from IBS - irritable bowel," said Fody Foods creator, Steven Singer.

"We're the only brand that tests every single fish for mercury and about one out of four fish don't pass our test," said Bryan Boches, co-founder of Safe Catch.

Ashley Andrews of Arizona based Bumkins was stunned that there were 85,000 or so walking the halls.

"Ours is free of BPA, lead, phthalates, any of the nasty chemicals that you don't want," said Andrews.

"The one that just cracked me up was the probiotic counter spray. Am I suppose to lick my counter, spray it in my mouth? How do I benefit from these," questioned clinical nutritionist, James LaValle.

La Valle says he appreciates efforts from paleo, ketogenic, even vegan products to reduce sugar, but still sees a lot of hype .

Health experts joke if you "should" be eating what you see here, then your cabinets would be stocked with chips, cookies, crackers and ice cream - albeit free of colors, additives and preservatives.

"In the end eating chips, crackers, cookies and ice cream is still eating chips, crackers, cookies and ice cream. When people are under chronic stress they don't reach for broccoli," reminded LaValle.

Dr. Melina Jampolis says calling something "natural" means very little.

"I think the term 'natural' gives foods a health halo that they don't necessarily deserve. It is exonerating them from other criteria we use to judge foods," said Jampolis.

LaValle is more focused on the farm-to-table journey.

"Where it comes from, how it's grown, how they treat it, all of that stuff really makes a difference," said LaValle.

But those who've been showing here the last 37 years are proud.

"What we all as pioneers started, which was to bring better food available to more people more easily - we've achieved," said Alison Cox of Edward & Sons.
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