For years, health-conscious people have debated the pros and cons of artificial and natural flavors.
In most of these tête-à-têtes“Healthy” natural flavors beat out “bad” artificial ones.
Recently, however, natural flavors have caught flak from the same people who once championed them, mainly because many now believe that natural flavors aren’t nearly natural enough.
Why have opinions changed?
What does “natural flavors” mean.?
How “natural” are natural flavors?
and natural flavors are bad for you?
Get evidence-based answers to these questions and more in this article.
What are “Natural Flavors?”
According to the FDA, “natural flavor” or “natural flavor” means:
“. . . the requirement woololeoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains flavoring substances obtained from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud. , roots, leaves or similar plant material, MEATseafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose primary use in food is flavoring rather than nutrition.”
In other words, a natural flavor is any food flavoring derived from a plant or animal.
Why, then, do so many health and food “gurus” campaign against natural flavors, claiming they are actually unnatural and laced with “toxic chemicals?”
Mainly because they don’t understand the chemistry of food.
Allow me to explain. . .
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How Natural Are Natural Flavors?
For a flavor to qualify as natural, it must come from a natural source. However, it can be a source that you do not expect, and it can be processed in an unnatural way (which includes the use of artificial chemicals).
Take vanilla, for example. You might think that natural vanilla flavoring comes from vanilla beans extracted from vanilla pods, but it would will be very expensive and unsustainable because of the labor involved.
Scientists have previously discovered, however, that the main flavor component of vanilla beans (vanillin) can be done AVAILABLE from other sources, including celery seeds, tobacco leaves, orange leaves, and lemon peels. Naturally enough.
But the process of extracting vanillin?
Generally included synthetic chemicals such as organic solvents and acids or special enzymes. ACCORDING to the FDA, such substances are allowed to create a “natural” flavor even if they are present in the final product (even at insignificant levels).
Because of this, you can have FDA-sanctioned “natural” vanilla flavoring that does not come from a vanilla plant and that contains trace amounts of unnatural compounds.
When some people see how this sausage is made, they feel deceived because they always think that the natural seasoning is “100% natural in every way.” That’s why angry bloggers are outraged because of the “dangerous chemicals” that hide the supposedly good. supplementsfood, and drink.
The problem with this line of condemnation, however, is that it ignores the abundance on unscientific evidence which shows that natural (and artificial, for that matter) flavors are not harmful unless they are consumed in excess.
In the case of vanillin, for example, RESEARCH REVEALS shows the LD50 (the acute dose that causes death in 50% of test animals) in rats is 1,580-to-3,300 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.
Translate that to a 155-pound person, and you get an LD50 dose of between 111 and 231 grams, and relate that to, say, a cake recipe that calls for a drop or two of vanilla extract (with 0.5-to-1 gram. of vanillin), and you reach the realization that you have to eat between 200 and 500 cakes in one sitting to eat enough vanillin to have 50/50 chance to die.
A skeptic may acknowledge that it must be suicidal by tasting to die from it but also point out that there are many unwanted side effects that can occur near death, from something as mild as stomach ache to a severe like a disease, and more. small amounts of the spice, if eaten often enough, can produce such reactions.
They’re not entirely wrong—if you eat enough flavorings, you’re harming your health—but there’s no evidence to suggest you’ll ever reach this upper limit, especially if you usually eat quite a bit. unprocessed and nutritious foods and consume small amounts of flavoring supplements, medications, and beverages (as many health people do).
In addition, some natural flavors are made without chemical additives (including all organic flavors) and do not contain any synthetic ingredients. (And if you’re wondering, my sports nutrition company Legion it uses more “mild” processed types of natural flavoring.)
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