Just How Natural Are 'natural Flavors,' Anyway

Posted: Aug 26, 2020



From sparkling water to yogurt to pasta sauce, “natural flavors” appears on the labels of countless packaged foods and beverages.

In fact, natural flavors are the fourth-most common ingredient listed on these labels, with only salt, water and sugar appearing more often, according to the Environmental Working Group.

But what are natural flavors, and how natural are they really?

For starters, the Food and Drug Administration defines natural flavors as substances derived from plants (fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, barks and roots) or animals (meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy) whose primary function is taste rather than nutrition. The flavor may be extracted via heating, fermentation, distillation or other processes.

Artificial flavors, on the other hand, come from non-food, synthetic sources.

Natural flavors may still contain synthetic preservatives, emulsifiers, solvents and other “incidental additives.”

So healthwise, there’s not much of a difference between the two. Nevertheless, more companies are choosing to use natural flavors over artificial flavors — even though it’s generally more expensive and sourcing natural ingredients may raise environmental concerns.

By Kelsey Borresen
08-26-2020
Source and complete article: huffpost.com



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