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!

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