What does natural mean?
Essentially, natural products are not made in a lab. For example, vanillin, the chemical that makes vanilla taste distinctive, can be extracted from a vanilla bean with a solvent (like alcohol). On the other hand, the vanillin compound itself can be created in a lab and dissolved in alcohol. They are both tasty products that add flavor to food, but the bean extract is a "natural" product and the lab-created version is "artificial."
Directly from the FDA:
Foods are natural "if they contain no artificial or synthetic ingredients, and if they are minimally processed"
By this definition, every artificial sweetener is a synthetic and unnatural product. Furthermore, a sugar source like honey is more natural than a sugar source like white granulated sugar because it is less processed.
Below is a recipe for high-protein chocolate cream pie filling (pudding filling); the recipe contians the natural non-nutritive sweetener Stevia to boost the sweetness of the finished product. Be sure that you use pure Stevia powder (link for illustration only; any brand of pure stevia will do); avoid the product with extra starch filler.
Combine in a food processor:
1 8 oz package fat-free cream cheese
1 12 oz container low-fat ricotta
½ cup no sugar added soy milk
4 scoops Elemental NutritionNatural Chocolate Whey Protein
1 Tbsp natural chocolate extract
2 Tbsp carob or cocoa powder
1 tsp pure stevia powder (or artificial sweetener, if you prefer)
1/5 recipe: 230 Calories; 5g fat; 3g sat fat; 14 g carbs; 1 g fiber; 29g pro
1). Use as a healthy, high-protein alternative to pudding to pudding in Graham cracker chocolate pie
2). Allow to set as a pudding in a bowl
3). Freeze and enjoy 3-4 hours later as a high-protein frozen snack
4). Use as a layer to bolster health of birthday cake
5). Combine one serving with a banana and ice for a testy low-fat post-workout smoothie
6) Serve with a cup of strawberries, raspberries, or a sliced banana