The tongue is covered in taste receptors that identify the five basic tastes: salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and umami. Taste and the other senses play an important role in our enjoyment and digestion of food. The smell, sight, and taste of food – especially delicious food – stimulate the production of digestive ‘juices’ (such as saliva in the mouth and HCl in the stomach) and prepare the body to receive food.


When food is processed, it loses its natural flavor, and when it sits on a store shelf for weeks, natural chemicals in food begin to deteriorate, reducing their shelf life and affecting the way they taste. That’s where the flavor industry comes in.



Artificial flavors are additives designed to mimic the taste of natural ingredients. They are a cheap way for manufacturers to make something taste like strawberry, for example, without actually using any real strawberries.


The FDA’s definition of artificial flavoring is as follows:

“The term artificial flavor or artificial flavoring means any substance, the function of which is to impart flavor, which is not derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof.”


In other words, ingredients that comprise artificial flavors are chemicals that were not originally sourced from nature.


Artificial flavors are known to cause many adverse reactions, including:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Chest pain
  • DNA damage
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Depression of the nervous system
  • Brain damage


Other symptoms include seizures, nausea, dizziness, and more. Without labeling the specific ingredients in artificial flavors, identifying the root cause of your symptom(s) is near impossible.

Many artificial flavors include ingredients that are also used to make artificial colors, such as tar and crude oil. Hence, the numerous health effects associated with them are not surprising. What is astounding, however, is that there is little documented research and practically no studies published on the effects of artificial flavors.


The food industry has bombarded our taste buds with flavor. Those who regularly eat – or are addicted to – processed foods lose their taste for real food. We lay blame on sugar and fat for the worldwide obesity epidemic, but ultimately, isn’t the flavor industry largely responsible for making processed food taste good?


Unfortunately, the FDA does not require flavor companies to disclose ingredients as long as all the ingredients have been deemed GRAS. This protects the proprietary formulas but allows for many chemicals to be hidden under the word ‘flavor’ on the ingredients list.

For consumers, this is unfortunate, since even food manufacturers are not aware of the specific ingredients that comprise the flavors used in their products.


For more, visit


Facebook Comments