The Truth About Natural Flavors (and Why We Don’t Use Them!)

The Truth About Natural Flavors (and Why We Don’t Use Them!)

The Truth About Natural Flavors (and Why We Don’t Use Them!)

Packaged food and beverage items, whether they’re overly processed or not, often come with a list of questionable – or at least unfamiliar – ingredients. But something that may seem safe, such as “natural flavors,” can actually be more foreign than one would think. 

If the flavors are as “natural” as the manufacturer wants us to believe, then why leave us in the dark by replacing the actual ingredient(s) with the word “natural” – a term that has practically lost its meaning in recent years throughout the health-foods industry. So, are natural flavors “natural”? The answer is no.

What are “natural flavors”?

Chemically, natural flavors don’t differ much from artificial flavors, and the word “natural” can be quite deceptive. While artificial flavors come from petroleum (and some inedible sources), natural flavors are synthesized from plant and animal sources. Fruits, vegetables, roots, leaves, herbs and animal products are usually distilled or fermented in some way to extract molecules that go into manufacturing “natural flavors.”

They’re deemed “natural” because these flavors are extracted from edible sources. However, when flavorists produce a specific natural flavor, there’s a lot more to it than extracting molecules from a natural source.

What is a flavorist?

A flavorist’s job is to understand, on a molecular level, what combination of compounds is necessary to recreate a specific flavor.

Let’s use watermelon as an example. A spirits producer decides it wants to manufacture a line of fruit-flavored vodka – starting with watermelon. Using actual watermelons would be too expensive, and the supply of fruit would have to be on a massive scale.

Instead, the flavorists would order fresh watermelons from a supplier and taste them. The next step is to identify the taste using a special set of words to help them narrow down on the kind of flavor they’re trying to recreate (sort of like reverse engineering the flavor). With the most accurate definition, the research and development team seeks out the molecular fingerprint of this flavor by using compounds available in the lab to recreate the flavor. 

Once they generate the right combination of molecules to formulate the watermelon “flavor,” it’ll be manufactured on a large scale to produce the product.

Are “natural flavors” safe?

As mentioned, on a nutritional level, there really isn’t a difference between artificial and natural flavors as the flavor molecules themselves contain zero nutrition. Natural flavor sources range from an African bark used to create vanilla flavoring, to leaves that mimic and enhance the taste of watermelon.

Initially, natural flavors may be derived from edible or “natural” substances. However, the substances may be questionable and can contain ingredients that can cause allergies. Often, they’re even mixed with chemical solvents and preservatives before being added to food

In fact, companies can label an ingredient as “natural” as long as 80 percent of that ingredient is derived from a natural source. The other 20 percent could be anything and often includes chemicals and additives that are severely detrimental to our health in the end.

Vegans and vegetarians – be wary! Sometimes, “natural flavors” can be sourced from animal products (yikes!).

Does Planet Protein use “natural flavorings”? NO!

We’re painfully aware of the affects these unknown substances can have on our health. Rest assured that you will never ever find questionable ingredients, including “natural flavorings” in Planet Protein products.

Our Chocolate Magic and Vanilla Magic protein powder formulas are sacred. They’re made with real, organic foods grown from the earth – it’s nutrition as Mother Nature intended!

Check out our full list of Planet Protein’s sustainably sourced ingredients here.

Category_Health Tips, Category_News, hidden ingredients, natural flavors -