Natural Flavor

Natural flavor is any type of additive that comes from a natural plant or animal substance. Natural flavor is produced in a lab to enhance the taste making people want to eat more of it and buy more of it. Natural flavor is a loophole that allow companies to hide questionable ingredients while being able to make it flavorful and addictive, which means more profits.  

Listed are some examples of natural flavors:

  • Castoreum is a “natural flavor” that tastes like strawberry and vanilla. It’s found in ice creams, puddings, and other desserts and is derived from the castor sac of beavers. A castor is located on a beaver’s backside. This sac stores the spray used to mark their territories and is usually mixed with anal gland secretions and urine. Does that sound appetizing? To most, I wouldn’t think so.
  • Another example of “natural flavors” is naturally occurring glutamate by-products, which is just a fancy way of saying MSG. MSG contains chemicals that tricks our brain into overeating while creating addiction. And the frustrating thing is you won’t see “naturally occurring glutamate by-products” in the ingredients list because it’s hidden behind the umbrella of “natural flavors. Some companies companies are sneaky and not transparent.

More companies are actually listing the actual ingredients contained within “natural flavors”. I would support those companies rather than the ones who try to hide behind the “natural flavors” umbrella.

As a general rule of thumb if an ingredient list says “natural flavor” look for an alternative or you can call the manufacturer to inquire. However, it’s easier to find an alternative if you don’t want to go through the hassle and time of calling the manufacturer.

A client asked what sparkling waters don’t contain natural flavors. Here are a couple that I’m familiar with that don’t contain natural flavors:

And if a carbonated water is not flavored then why not just use fruit and/or herbs you bought at the grocery store to infuse the flavors yourself?

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