Natural Flavors vs. Artificial Flavors

Butylated hydroxytoluene…

Polyglycerol polyricinoleate…

Tongue twisters, right?  The above words are actually names of additives found in everyday foods!  Which brings me to an excellent point…why eat what you can’t pronounce.  I can’t stress this enough…  read the label on the foods you buy.

You learn a lot about the amount of sugar, fat, fiber, protein and calories in a single serving. You can also see what’s actually in the food. The general rule of thumb when reading the list of ingredients in foods is to make sure you can pronounce the ingredients. If you can, it’s a good bet it contains wholesome ingredients.

But, Deb, you ask, what about “natural flavors”? Are they a better option than “artificial flavors”? The definitive answer—NO.

Natural flavors originate from a whole food, for example, fruit, and then get extracted and made into a chemical compound that can have 50-100 ingredients; artificial flavors are lab-made with the same number of ingredients. Both are equally unhealthy.

However, is it realistic to go through life without ever eating something that doesn’t have natural flavors? Probably not. But, I’d recommend avoiding them whenever possible and choosing whole foods, like bananas, apples, and pears, instead of foods sweetened with natural flavors to taste like fruit.

It’s much better to eat foods with ingredients grown in the ground rather than made in a lab!

MCTs– What are they?

It seem that MCTs are all over the news. What’s the real deal? You hear about possible health benefits of them and you are not even sure what they stand for. MCTs are Medium Chain Triglycerides.  They are unique because their chemical configuration enables them to be absorbed easily in the gastrointestinal tract. Other fats need to be broken down and digested with the help of bile acids and enzymes; MCTs are rapidly absorbed intact and travel directly to the liver to be used for energy. Due to this process, MCTs, unlike LCTs (long chain trigylcerides), are not stored as fat but used as fuel for the body in a way that is similar to the digestion of carbohydrates.

As is true for all fats, use foods with MCTs sparingly. Fats are high in calories and those calories can add up quickly if you use too much. That’s why moderation is always the best bet for overall health and wellness.