In today’s food market, hearing the term “razzleberry,” “supped up strawberry,” or “blue n’ boisterous” is nothing to blink over. Companies of all shapes and sizes are inventing their own flavors, and then giving them a more unique name than the taste themselves. Fruits are morphed into feelings or actions, or just invented all together. While boysenberry may be less common than your everyday fruits, it’s a far cry from the fictional razzleberry – a piece that holds no place on the food chart.
Despite these “flavors” occurring on a regular basis, they may actually provide several dangers to those who consume them. While many assume these risks mainly target children (few adults eat made up berries), this is not the case. Foods claiming to have naturally occurring flavors, such as orange, banana, apple, etc. are often made purely with artificial ingredients. These items are more regularly consumed by adults, but also pose a higher threat because they’re less blatantly unhealthy.
What are the Cons?
Foods and beverages with artificial ingredients can cause an array of health problems, especially when used frequently. Artificial flavors have been known to cause chest pain, headaches, fatigue, nervous system depression, allergies, and even brain damage. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning of the list. Other symptoms including seizures, nausea, dizziness, and many more.
With over three thousand artificial flavoring ingredients currently in production, any number of these side effects could be swarming your meals on a daily basis, along with additional consequences.
One of the more common artificial flavorings, caramel, has been known to cause vitamin B6 deficiencies, genetic defects, as well as cancer. Saccharin, another popular flavor ingredient, can bring on allergic or toxic reactions, tumors, and bladder cancer.
The Risk Factors Grow
Some food and beverage companies are attacking the current “health trend” from a whole new angle. Rather than cutting out sodium, sugars, and MSG, they’re implementing a new product altogether, one that shuts off your taste buds. Some of these big names are using bitter-tasting alternatives to sodium and sugars, and then removing the bad taste with a new, mystery substance that prevents tongues from detecting their flavors.
Legally though, this “generally safe” item doesn’t have to be listed on the ingredients label. Because of the FDA’s definitions and standards, it simply falls into the “artificial flavors” category, leaving most customers unawares. Companies have also declined to share which products currently contain the new taste-altering substance, leaving us even further in the dark.
Unfortunately this and other artificial flavor ingredients are placed into most pre-packaged foods and beverages. The best way to avoid them is to read labels carefully (and with the understanding that “artificial flavors” can be much more dangerous than it reads), and avoiding such substances.
Hopefully as awareness about artificial flavoring dangers continues to spread, we can help eliminate them from our food sources altogether.
To find out more about healthy food choices and how to include nutrition without losing taste, head to ZingAnything.com.
Photo courtesy of TonyParkin67