What are Artificial and Natural Flavours?
Look at the ingredients list on most prepared foods and most likely you’ll find natural or artificial flavours listed.
What are these flavours and are natural flavours better for you?
According to the FDA “The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. ”
The term “artificial flavours” refers to any ingredients NOT obtained from any of the above.
The truth is, both natural and artificial flavours are laboratory concoctions created to simulate flavours. The only difference is the source. Neither is “healthy”.
Flavours are extracted from artificial or natural sources, heavily processed with chemicals, ‘improved upon’ to make them stimulating and addictive to consumers, and sold as secret formulas. Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal writes that one artificial flavour can be made of more than 50 ingredients.
The Canadian Food and Drug Regulations says that artificial flavours used in Canadian products can contain ingredients like sweeteners, food colouring, preservatives, benzyl alcohol, ethyl acetate, isopropyl alcohol and edible vegetable oil. Manufacturers also love the term “natural flavours”. It provides a giant loophole allowing them to conceal ingredients including soy, peanuts, and animal sources.
For an eye-opening look at this, please watch this interesting 60 minutes segment with Givaudan, the largest flavouring company in the world. You’ll never look at beaver bums the same way again.