January 23rd, 2014
03:15 PM ET
Editor's note: Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health, and the author of "S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches." Connect with Cynthia on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
The first time I heard the word "clean" in relation to food was way back in the mid-1990s. I attended a conference about supermarket trends, and learned that grocery chains were starting to "clean up" store brand ingredient lists by removing unrecognizable terms.
Back then, this move was considered controversial, because it involved doing away with added nutrients, listed by their technical, non-household names (like pantothenic acid, a B vitamin), as well as eliminating preservatives, which meant short shelf lives (e.g., would consumers really want bread that gets hard or moldy within a few days?).