Health Fitness

A look at natural flavors: did you eat your beaver butt this morning?

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Before you continue reading this article, consider which of the following categories you fall into:

1- You go through life eating what you want regardless of how it has been processed and what it may contain nutritionally for your health or that may be harmful to your health.


2- You would like to understand if what you put in your mouth is possible and you care about your own well-being and that of your family both today and tomorrow.

If you are in the first category then this article may not be for you and if you are in the second then keep reading as today we will be talking about natural flavors.

So, let’s start with: what’s the deal with natural flavors? It seems very rare that foods require natural flavors! Think of it this way, if a food is natural, shouldn’t it contain its own flavor without adding anything extra? Hmmm makes you think a bit, right?

Perhaps the real question is if a manufacturer lists an ingredient as a natural flavoring, what is it and why is it hidden under the “Natural Flavors” label? Now, to clear things up, most government bodies will define natural flavors as:

“Essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extract, protein hydrolyzate, distillate, or any product roasted, heated, or enzymolyzed, containing flavor components derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf of similar plant material, meat, shellfish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or products of fermentation thereof, the significant function of which in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”

Well that’s as clear as mud!!!! However, this particular part of the statement is interesting: “whose significant function in food is flavor rather than nutrition.” Does this mean that these natural flavors are there to trick our brain that this food tastes great?

Just a little more food for thought.

However, the statement above means that natural flavors can be derived from just about anything that hasn’t been chemically modified in a lab, so it’s a mark on the plus side. Count up now; Lots of confusion and a bit of good news.

Apparently the words “natural flavor” are in place to protect many companies’ “secret” ingredients in their recipes. The bad news is that this is occurring in almost all processed foods to give them that seemingly irresistible flavor that keeps you coming back for more, ultimately leaving you disabled, sick, ill, and with other medical complications.

Also, by not understanding or knowing what these natural flavors are, if you suffer from food allergens, it is difficult to determine if certain foods are causing your particular reactions. You might suffer from rashes or an upset stomach, for example, and find it particularly difficult to identify the root cause of the problem.

Reading and understanding food labels is challenging at the best of times, however if a particular ingredient such as “natural flavors” makes the task nearly impossible, as the flavor could come from virtually thousands of different plant or animal sources.

One particular natural flavor that has come under fire in recent years and has had to be disclosed on all packaging is MSG or MSG which was discovered by a Japanese scientist in 1907. MSG has been found to react negatively to the health of many people and therefore the pressure was eventually so immense that this ingredient had to be disclosed.

This does not mean that all natural flavors will harm you, however the goal of this article is to explain where some of these natural flavors come from and if you did, would you continue to eat certain foods if you knew exactly what natural flavor was being added?

Many meal replacement supplements are full of natural flavors and are more than happy to promote their product as the healthy alternative. If it’s so good for you, why do they use the words natural flavor on the label? Here is a small excerpt from the Isagenix website where they open with the following statement:

“Contrary to what some people may think, the use of the term ‘natural flavors’ on Nutrition Facts labels is not a deceptive tactic by food manufacturers to hide harmful or unappealing flavoring agents.”

Now read this at your leisure, but it seems to me that they need to be open and honest and state exactly what natural flavors are being used. They also claim that:

“‘Natural flavors’ is a term used on food labels to reduce confusion.”

Seriously, how dumb do you really think we are? Anyway, read the article for yourself and by the end you will have read a lot of big words and well-constructed paragraphs designed to dumb you down and prevent you from digging deeper for yourself because they only use natural flavors and nothing artificial…

So, let’s take a look at what these added natural flavors might be.

Main use: for vanilla and raspberry flavored foods. Think ice cream.
From: Extracted from the dried acorns and secrets of the beavers’ buttocks.

Main use: coloring applesauce, baked goods, meats and spices.
From: Boiling mealybug beetles of South American and Mexican cacti.

Main use: candies, cosmetics and chewing gum.
From: Scraping secrets from a small red bug normally found on tree bark.

Main Use: Flavor enhancer, broths and broths.
From: It is a salt of the amino acid Glutamate.

Name: Benzaldehyde
Main use: to flavor almonds.
From: Extracted from peach pits and is a poison.

Main use: in bakery products.
From: Derived from human hair and duck feathers.

Main use: sweetener.
From: Genetically modified corn.

Here are some of those numbers we often see on food labels:

* E120-mealybug
* E542-edible bone phosphate
* E631-5′-inosinate sodium
* E901-beeswax
* E904-shellac
* E920-L-cysteine ​​hydrochloride
* 620-625; MSG is 621

Some side effects induced by the additives:


* headaches or migraines
* rashes (hives, eczema, dermatitis, other itchy rashes)
* stomachaches, bloating, reflux, constipation, bedwetting, sneaky poop
* asthma, frequent coughing, stuffy or runny nose
* frequent colds, flu, ear infections
* joint pain, joint swelling
* heart palpitations, rapid heartbeat, pseudo heart attack


* sleep disturbances (difficulty falling asleep, frequent night awakenings, night terrors, restless legs)
* restlessness (loud voice, irritable, easily distracted, demanding, easily bored)
* irritability (touchy or easily upset, loses temper, throws tantrums)
* Opposition challenge (outbursts of temper, often says no, refuses orders, defies rules, angry)
* inattention (forgetful, disorganized, fuzzy brain, dreamy)
* anxiety (lethargy, depression, panic attacks)
* unhappiness (grizzly, miserable, cries often)

Another point to consider is the use of the word organic in some foods today. There is a massive movement behind buying organic, which is great, however the price is a bit out there and I’m sure you’ll agree with me on that.

Now, even though yes, a natural flavor like Castoreum (Mr Beaver) is organic, would you choose a different brand that didn’t contain this ingredient if you knew it was present?

This is really the whole point of this article, would we all be making different food choices if we were 100% aware of every ingredient? Well the answer is yes for some and no for others and that’s fine and I’m sure you would agree with me that it would be great to be able to have that option, however sadly we don’t really have it.

Is there any way to tell if a Natural Flavor or some other natural additive is affecting me or not?

Since potential side effects can manifest anywhere from 30 minutes to 48 hours later, this makes things a bit more difficult. You may have a soup containing 635 (ribonucleotides) for dinner tonight and then have trouble sleeping or diarrhea tomorrow night and think the problem came from tomorrow’s dinner!

Having an allergen test can help you identify possible reactions to different foods which can help you to be more aware of what might be affecting you.

How can we avoid Natural Flavors and Natural Colours?

The simple answer is to stop eating prepackaged, canned, boxed, and processed foods. Instead, eat foods in their most natural state and you can get all the nutritional value you need instead of having to take supplements.

Supplements do have a place in some cases, however 90% of them are junk and can be outweighed by a well balanced diet containing macro and micro nutrients and of course water. This will result in your food addictions dissipating and you may even drop a dress size or two, and that’s great news.

So next time you buy something at your local grocery store and it says INGREDIENTS: apple slices, water, cane syrup, corn syrup, modified corn starch, spices, salt, natural flavor, and artificial flavor. Ask yourself “What is the natural flavor used here?” and “I’m under the impression that the natural flavor is the natural apple flavor?” oy your answer could be “It could be anything!” while you go and buy some apples instead…

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