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If It’s Not Food, Don’t Eat It!

I wanted to write a post about ‘natural and artificial flavorings‘. They are in almost everything, even only slightly processed, foods. Until I first read about these in “What They Don’t Want You To Know” by Kevin Trudeau (I don’t recommend the book specifically… he is a little far out) I hadn’t really thought about them much. However, what they are is a way for food companies or manufacturers to put things into the food that aren’t listed. One can think what they like about different preservatives and colors and their abilities to slowly kill the planet, but the idea behind labeling and ingredient lists is disclosure.

So what are ’natural and artificial flavorings’? There is a long list of substances that the government allows under the title ‘natural and/or artificial flavorings’. This angers me quite a bit. Why bother listing ingredients if there is a whole list of unknown substances that can get listed under these generic categories? Why is it so important to list flour, that has been around for thousands of years and everyone knows about, and not list new chemical cocktails that are new and unknown? Even if it is safe, why don’t they want to list it on the label?

What is the difference? What is artificial flavorings?

“Most artificial flavorings are derived from petroleum. They may affect RNA, thyroid, and enzymes. Most have not been studied for safety or toxicity. They are all synthesized chemicals that don’t even have common names. Most artificial flavors actually contain many chemical ingredients, not just one. Many of those chemicals are volatile.” Link to quote.

What are natural flavorings? Are they better?

“Natural products are usually safer, but not in this case. Whether or not a flavor is artificial or natural depends on how its made, but either way, it is a chemical. The term “natural flavoring” is kind of misleading, as it designates something derived from nature that may not necessarily be natural. Obtaining something from a natural source isn’t the same thing as using something in its natural state, which is much healthier.” Link to quote.

What really got me a couple months ago was Dill Pickle Chips (not sure the brand, from Menards). My husband got me these for a camping trip because he knew I really liked them. As we sat there eating chips I read through the ingredients. Dill wasn’t in them. There was parsley pieces for coloring. Otherwise, everything that made them taste like dill was under the ‘natural and artificial flavorings’ title. Dill is a weed, what is so hard about using dill?

I try not to purchase things with natural and artificial flavorings, but it would be next to impossible to avoid it altogether. I have heard stories of people having allergic reactions to stuff that fall under these headings, but it makes it very hard to know what specifically they are reacting to and hard to avoid. We live in a society that makes companies list if products are produced in facilities that process wheat, tree nuts, soybeans, shellfish….,etc and then go and specifically add ingredients that they don’t list. …. Can someone say ‘lobby money’?

So, what to take from this post:

1. Natural and/or artificial flavorings aren’t natural and don’t grow on a tree so they weren’t meant to eat.

2. Government mandated full discloser in ingredients is only partially true. If I am not even told what it is, I don’t want to eat it.