When it comes to our choices of fashion or lovers, the old saying that there's no accounting for some peoples taste holds true. But its usually not a matter of life and death. Our food choices are another matter entirely. What tastes good is not necessarily good for us and in fact some foods can hurt us.
There are more than 3,000 food additives and preservatives used in the processed foods we eat. Additives make some foods look more appetizing and even enhance their flavor to some extent. And preservatives may help processed foods last longer on your pantry shelf, but they don't add a day to your own shelf life.
Our sense of taste is about so much more than just scarfing down food. Before we actually put food into our mouths, we eat it with our eyes, our noses, our hands, and even our ears [I love the crispy-crunchy sound of celery, one of my favorite snack foods]. Food enhancers - additives, coloring, and preservatives - are designed to heighten the intensity of our pleasure, but at what cost to our long-term health?
Artificial Vs. Natural Flavors
Artificial flavors - this appears on food labels of thousands of products. You'd think that this much truth in advertising would backfire. I mean, why would anyone knowingly choose the fake version of lemon, butter, or strawberry flavoring over the original? Surely such honesty should backfire, right? Well, it doesn't. Its a mystery to me. Perhaps the convenience, the immediate gratification, and the close-to-original flavor are enough for millions of consumers who consume millions of artificially flavored products every year.
There's no mystery about why the food industry prefers artificial flavors to the real thing. The bottom line is that they're easier on the bottom line of these companies.
Its actually cheaper to use the artificial stuff than the natural. You don't need seeds, acres and acres of farmland, irrigation systems, sunshine, fertilizer, or farm laborers. All you need is a laboratory. The irony is that the long-term side effects and health risks resulting from exposure to artificial foodstuffs can be costly.
Natural flavors are defined by the FDA as oils, extractions, and essences derived from spices, fruits, veggies, edible yeasts, roots, herbs, and other plant sources as well as meats, poultry, dairy, and seafood products. The extraction and processing may compromise them to some extent, but at least their sources are natural ones.
Natural flavors and artificial flavoring may taste similarly, but they're a world apart. Natural flavors come from edible sources - vegetables and fruits. Artificial flavorings come from inedible sources - chemicals, compounds, contrivances, and concoctions. Both are eaten, but that doesn't mean they should be.
For example, vanilla extract from the vanilla bean sounds palatable. But how about vanilla flavoring extracted and processed from cow dung? Yep. A Japanese researcher discovered a way to extract vanilla flavor, vanillin, from cow poop!
Note: Not all chemicals are bad. After all, everything from Red Delicious Apples to Apple computers have chemicals in them. And not everything labeled natural is actually natural. And some natural chemicals are deadly - for example, almond flavoring contains cyanide poison.
For your health's sake, spend some quality time researching what you're buying, then spend your money on some quality, natural, organic products.
Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tips, natural health, oral health and skincare. If you are looking for more health resources make sure to check out the Trusted Health Resources list.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.