Just as there are green washing companies who falsely claim to sell safe care products, come food companies who falsely claim to use natural ingredients. Due to the FDA's lack of regulation, it's quite easy for companies to use misleading food ingredient labels. Today, I'll discuss the notorious, "natural flavors," and why they are the "fragrance" of food.
"Natural flavors" is an umbrella term like "fragrance." By definition, natural flavors must mimic an ingredient found in nature, but natural flavors do not have to be natural. Often, natural flavors are created by a scientist in a lab. The mixture created is everything but natural and usually contains chemicals providing you with a short, intense flavor that quickly dissipates, leaving you wanting more. Yep, this can cause food addiction.
To simplify, let's take the example of a blueberry granola bar with natural flavors. The blueberry flavor consists of a chemical originally found in blueberries that was then enhanced and added to the granola bar in a lab.
What if I told you that natural flavors was one of the most common ingredients in America? What if I told you that the only ingredients to be appear more on labels was water, salt and sugar? Pissed yet?
The more I dig into American food ingredients the more all our issues with weight and diabetes make sense. I try to keep natural flavors out of my kave and I recommend you do the same, because natural food comes from nature, not from a lab.