The vast majority of foods in America are processed in some form, which means that they have excess sugar, salt, or additives. One of the most common additives in processed foods is artificial flavoring.
When you think of artificial flavoring, you may ask the question, is artificial flavor bad for you? Here are some key facts about basic food flavors and if their artificial substitutes are good for you.
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What Does Artificially Flavored Mean?
Artificial flavor is anything made up of synthetic elements rather than natural or organic sources. Chemicals that create familiar tastes can be mixed to form new artificial flavors.
While the purpose of some artificial flavors is to replicate the original as close as possible, others have their own distinction. For example, the artificial flavoring of banana is vastly different from an actual banana but still enjoyed.
Some of the most loved artificial flavors include:
- root beer
Compounds of Flavors
One misconception about artificial flavoring is that it is complex. In many cases, artificial flavoring is the same chemical makeup as the original flavoring.
Flavor technology has come a long way through scientific progress. Scientists known as flavorists, vetted by the Food and Drug Administration, try to develop new flavors that will satisfy American consumers.
A good example of nearly identical models is artificial butter flavor. The flavor of classic butter is due to sugar fermentation, while the artificial butter flavor appears through a purification process.
Substitution vs. Enhancement
Two of the main objectives of basic food flavors are substituting a flavor completely or enhancing one of the flavors to make it more enjoyable. Many products that are not completely artificially flavored often have some form of flavor enhancement to make them more delicious.
Artificial vanilla is a popular substitute in the kitchen because it is easy to use. Imitation vanilla is made out of synthetic vanillin. Synthetic vanillin has an identical chemical structure to the compounds in natural vanilla beans.
A good example of flavor enhancement is yogurt or ice cream that has fruit added to it, but also contains artificial flavors. The fruit will give you a delicious bite, but the artificial food flavoring makes the flavor stronger.
Check the Nutritional Value
If you want the basic food flavors without the calories, then sometimes artificial flavoring may be the right choice for you. When a product is artificially flavored, you can look at the nutritional contents to see if it aligns with your health goals.
For example, many substitutes for sugar are low or no calories. They are perfectly safe to consume and will help you with weight loss or a healthier lifestyle.
Is Artificial Flavor Bad For You?
You may still be asking yourself, is artificial flavor bad for you? Although there is no right answer, you can judge your food decision based on these factors.
Want more tips on how to make positive changes to your diet or lifestyle? Click on our Lifestyle section for more information.