Natural Food Additives 101

July 08, 2013

Reading labels and confused about the word natural? Here is a quick reference guide as to where natural flavors and colors come from

What are Natural Food Additives?
Products made of natural ingredients or essential oils, oleoresin, essences of other extractives from natural herbs, spices, animal or plant materials.

How to Buy:
Read labels and depending on your preference, buy products with natural added flavorings or colors derived from fruits and vegetables, animal or plant material.

How to Read Labels:
Avoid the words “artificial coloring”, “artificial flavoring” or “FD&C color” followed by the color’s number.

What are Natural Flavors?
Essences whose significant function is flavoring, not nutrition, derived in a laboratory from plant materiel e.g. fruit, vegetables, juices, spices, herbs, bark, buds, roots, leaves; yeast, fermentation products, seafood, poultry, eggs, and dairy

How are Natural Flavors Created?
Scientists (flavorists) blend natural or synthetic chemicals to create flavorings. The only difference between artificial and natural flavorings is the original (natural) source of the raw ingredients/chemicals. The formulas for both are the same although a small change can result in a different flavor. All artificial flavorings use safety-tested components.

What are Natural Colorings?
Colorings are more complexly structured formulas added to foods to help them look fresh and appetizing, look the same year in and year out, and for foods which may not look appetizing in their genuinely natural state.

Health Benefits:
None, but choose natural over artificial flavors or colors.

Smarter Shopping:
Buy whole, unprocessed whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Use spices to add flavor and always read labels.

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