Flavorists Speak: Artificial and Natural Flavors

A well kept secret

Imagine you were a doctor, say a descendent of Dr. Frankenstein. Imagine if you could take old tasteless food that was denatured by overprocessing and heat and so old it’s on the verge of going bad. Mix in some magic concoction of “flavors”, and instantly it tastes so fresh and wonderful, you just have to have more. Have you ever felt like that? My nose and taste buds love it, I have to have more. I always overeat. I’m never quite sated. But maybe I need some over-counter antacids afterwards. Maybe it happens so often that you go to the doctor and s/he prescribes you the latest purple pill?

Maybe it’s not your gut, maybe it’s your food.

We know what cooks and chefs are. Today, ‘flavorists’ determine how our food ‘tastes’. They have a strong hand in virtually everything on the shelves in the supermarket that comes in a can, a bottle, a bag or a box. From Chicken broth to bread, Artificial and Natural flavors are the 4th most common ingredient in our commercial food supply after water, sugar and salt. Whether “natural” or “artificial” they contain incidental chemical additives that are not found in pure food. The term “natural” is used to make labels as misleading as possible. Both arsenic and cyanide are natural, it doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

This 14 minute segment from “60 minutes” changed the way I think about food. See what the flavorists say. It is frightening.


“We want a burst of flavor in the beginning and a finish that doesn’t linger too much, so that you want more of it.”

“We don’t want it to linger because then you’re not going to eat more of it if it lingers.”

Besides the incidental chemicals, the most frightening thing is that people like what they’re used to. A generation raised on “flavored” foods often thinks the strawberry “flavor” tastes better than a real strawberry, because they’re used to it and because of the addictive nature of the mixture.

Morley Safer:

“Give someone a quick fix, and then have more. That suggests something else called addicition.”

The only difference between artificial and natural flavors and organic natural flavors is where these chemicals are derived from.

Hot? Thirsty? looking to try to make the healthy choice – Naked, here’s a venerable name!

Labeled on the front as “organic”, makes you think it’s pure! Their Flavors are chemically extracted from organic plants or animals, the incidental chemicals that remain are not. Isn’t that nice?

Read a great article from fatburningman.com

What do I do?

Read the ingredients. If it has “flavors” or long words you can’t pronounce, don’t recognize or don’t understand, leave it on the shelf.

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