Artificial flavors come from anything that is inedible (i.e petroleum) that is processed to create chemicals of flavorings. Hmmmm, anything that is inedible…my stomach hurts. So is natural flavor healthier?
For example, take ORGANIC chicken stock. It is nearly impossible to find a container of stock that does not contain natural or artificial chicken flavoring.
As an Anti-Artificialists, I have been diligently reading ingredient lists on food packaging and have become freaked out about what is in our food!
What is this stuff? Do the additives and flavors matter to my well being? Are the consumption of these products okay? I wanted to understand the difference between natural and artificial flavor, and why are they added to basically everything!
Here I am, living and grocery shopping in the healthiest of healthy food stores in southern California. Famed for its health conscience culture and not a single container of chicken stock is void of “natural” or “artificial” flavor additives! Check for yourselves.
Have we diluted our taste buds so severely with chemical compounds that we must have our chicken stock flavor enhanced? Scratch made stock tastes better, so WHY do food manufacturers need to add extra flavor at all?
The Dorito Effect
According to Mark Schatzker in his book The Dorito Effect the answer is yes. “We have tipped the taste bud scale so far that we crave added flavors instead of craving vital nutrients.” The author suggests, our taste buds have literally been “hijacked” by real and synthetic chemical compounds called palatants.
What’s Is a Palatant?
Palatants today are both meat and vegetable-based and are created to be used in many ways.
The first food palatants (developed for pet foods) were proteins enzymatically broken down and applied to dry (pet) foods. As a result, providing the sensory impact of meat. (5) The “sensory impact of meat”, what?!
Apparently, without the flavor enhancers animals and livestock will not go near the industrialized pet food and livestock feed. Why is this information such a big deal? Because the palatants that were first developed to ensure our domesticated furry friends would eat their kibble, are the same flavor compounds now added to OUR food!
Just like the animals, our re-designed, laboratory formulated, flavor enhanced foods no longer have much to do with our nutritional needs. Rather, everything to do with how things taste. Most importantly, the “sensory impact.”
Palatant components include proteins—derived from animal sources like poultry, pork, fish and vegetable sources like corn, soy, potato and specialty grains. Yeasts, phosphates, antioxidants, antimicrobials, processing agents and OTHER ingredients can also be sources.
Our distracted tastebuds encourage fists full of potato chips and snack foods just to keep getting the satisfaction of flavor. Instead of telling our bodies to STOP because the food we are shoveling in is doing very little to sustain us nutritionally. Like Schatzger says, “…we (as in humans) are being led to the feeding troughs and fattened up just like the animals.”
Some of us have become addicted to these synthesised ingredients and can no longer trust our own bodies internal messaging systems. So we don’t know when to stop eating and we no longer seem to care about what it is we are eating!
“We have become so talented at soaking our food in fakeness that the leading cause of preventable death – smoking – bears a troubling resemblance to the second leading cause of preventable death – obesity”. Mark Schatzker: The Dorito Effect
Natural vs. Artificial Flavors
Let’s get to the “meat” of the subject. What are artificial and natural flavorings? What is the difference between “natural” and “artificial?” How are these chemical compounds created and regulated and are natural flavor healthier then artificial flavor?
The Food and Drug Administration defines natural flavors as “substances derived from animals or plants and artificial flavors are those that are not.”
An artificial flavor must be comprised of one of the nearly 700 FDA-allowed flavoring chemicals or food additives categorized as “generally recognized as safe.” Or any of 2000 other chemicals not directly regulated by FDA but sanctioned for use by an industry group, the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States. Most of these chemicals exist as natural flavors or can be extracted from them.” (4) In “foods made with organic ingredients,” food processors have greater leeway to use synthetic extraction or carrier solvents.
So that we are all clear, whether the flavoring is natural or organic natural, it at some point goes through a series of chemical processes so it can be utilized as a flavoring compound and therefore, can contain synthetic chemicals.
: a person who does not eat artificial food
Artificial flavor is any substance that does not meet the definition of a natural flavor.
Sounds a bit too chemically for me!
As an Anti-Artificialist, we try not to eat “artificial” and “natural” flavored foods. We do this by minimizing consumption of processed foods and reading every single ingredient list. If there are ingredients on the list that are outside the scope of grown from the earth or grazing on the earth, even those “natural” ones that went through approximately 80-100 chemical processes to remain “natural”, the package goes right back on the shelf, period.
There are so many awesome “Do-ers” out there who are creating great food products without adding natural or artificial flavorings. Look for those wonderful products at your local farmers markets or on the shelves of your supermarkets and demand cleaner food products. Show your support to all the producers of tasty clean food with your dollars. Money is one way we can voice our preferences. Bring your tastebuds back to life and give your body the chance to thrive.
Here is our challenge to you. Stop eating artificial and naturally flavored foods. Be Aware of how your taste buds and cravings change. Send us photos of the ingredient list you are putting back on the shelves or the ones you are taking home to enjoy. We want to know what is really going on out there and we want to support you.
Become an Anti-Artificialist today. Live life UNPROCESSED!