What Are in Natural Flavors? Why in Almost Every Food?

(Last Updated On: August 8, 2020)

Have you ever read the ingredients on the back of your food and wondered what natural flavors are?

We are trying to eat/buy clean keto as best as possible, but whenever we go to grocery stores, we see “Natural Flavors” quite often within ingredients. So we did some research.

Natural flavors are in food because these flavors are stimulators/enhancers, that hijack our brains. The food industry provides enhancers that make people crave and eat more; it’s an addiction. Obesity is a huge problem nowadays, so the food industry decided to cut down fat, sugar, and salt.

As a result, creating an alternative billion business opportunity with “Natural Flavors.”


Where Do Natural Flavors Come from?

natural spices
The main ingredient of (natural flavor) comes from plant or animal sources. Sounds good, but food companies have a free-range in processing. They can add chemicals and can add up to 99 other components to create one flavor.

Processed Natural flavors are manipulated in a lab, making them almost indistinguishable from artificial flavors, which use human-made chemicals to give a product its particular flavor or aroma.

Natural flavorings should be a product made from nature without manipulation. Synthetic additives are everything else that isn’t of natural origin.

The natural sources are;

  • Bark 
  • Buds 
  • Dairy products, including fermented products
  • Distilled or fermented products
  • Edible yeast
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Fruit or fruit juice
  • Herbs
  • Leaf 
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Root leaves or plant material
  • Seafood
  • Spices
  • Vegetable or vegetable juice

Natural flavors are extracted from plants and animals to create specific tastes for processed foods. 

The lab makes about a hundred different chemicals, even up to two hundred different compounds, to create a flavor. 

Here are the problems;

  1. People have already gotten used to intense flavors, even when the taste of the food product isn’t natural.
  1. Many processed foods are pasteurized and supplemented to make them taste better to people, and they tend to buy more.

The truth is that many of these engineered flavors get you to buy more of the product, and that would include products that use natural flavorings.


Why Are Natural Flavors in Everything?


natural yogurt
As mentioned before, Natural flavors are extracted from plants and animals to create specific characteristics for processed foods.

They can get your brain excited, and you will crave for more, and they even give the sensation of freshness.

For example, think of yogurt. Do you think yogurt is healthy? Well, unfortunately, almost 90% of yogurts have natural flavorings.

Don’t just trust the logo/brand, written organic, low-fat, natural ingredients, whole milk, fat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, plain, non-fat, non-dairy, unsweetened, etc. 

When you walk into a grocery store, you will see the mass production of food with natural flavors or artificial flavors. The food industry doesn’t care about your health, and they want to profit.


What Exactly Are Artificial Flavors?

artificial flavors
Artificial flavors are chemical mixtures that taste very similar to natural flavors in our foods, but it’s not from a plant or animal source.

The main ingredient itself is a chemically produced substance, with possible further chemicals combined.

It means we have no idea what they put in this artificial flavor.

Have you asked yourself why the artificial flavoring is booming on the market?

The problem nowadays is to satisfy consumers, but agriculture occurs year-round instead of seasonally. This process sacrifices some flavor to save on cost.

The flavors added to processed foods are to make them tastier and more crave-worthy.

They’ve found a way to create flavors that would taste similar to real foods.  Amplifying the quality of taste that many have come to enjoy.

Every food we eat contains chemicals such as water. H2O is a chemical that is a healthy source, but too much water can be dangerous. 

The food industry which creates these artificial flavors making foods taste so addictive is now a multi-billion aim. The flavor specialists focus on making cheap, mass-produced food.

It’s also ridiculous that consumers are starting to love the artificial taste more than the authentic flavor.

As long as people eat fake food, the food industry won’t stop creating artificial flavorings, but the good news is more people are waking up and are starting to eat healthier food.


Strange Sources of Flavorings

strange natural flavor
Have you ever asked yourself why candies are shiny e.g., skittles? It’s hard to believe, but they use a sticky secretion from a beetle in East Asia to give it that beautiful shine.

Here’s another example strawberry, raspberry, or vanilla flavoring comes from the anal glands of beavers.

We are asking ourselves too! How are they coming up with these ideas for flavorings?

Here’s the definition from the FDA: The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. 

The bottom line is they can hide this information under the labeling guise of natural flavorings or natural.


How They Can Get Away of Natural Flavorings Being Listed

natural flavor being listed
Natural foods shouldn’t have so-called natural flavorings. If the food is organic, it is merely from the earth. 

Many people have read ingredients on food products, displaying natural flavorings, but you don’t know what they are putting in your food. They hide ingredients adding unnecessary chemicals.

The primary food corporations do not want to list what they are putting into our food; otherwise, you would be deterred from buying/eating it. Who wants to see secretion from a beetle in the ingredient.

It’s better to have a secretion from a beetle than ununderstandable chemicals.

What Organic Farming means for the USDA National Organic Program; 

The USDA organic label on dairy or meat products says that the animals from which it originated were raised in living conditions that accommodated their natural behaviors, without being administered hormones or antibiotics, and while grazing on pasture grown on healthy soil.

During processing, the meat or dairy product was handled in a facility that was inspected by an organic certifier and processed without any artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors before being packaged to avoid contact with any prohibited, nonorganic substances.

An essential part of the process-based regulatory framework is the prohibition of specific organic production methods and handling.

Methods like irradiation, sewage sludge, and genetic engineering are all expressly prohibited from being used when growing or processing organic foods.


What about Fruit Juice?

orange juice natural flavor
Orange soda may have either natural or regular flavoring, and if it’s not natural flavoring, it’s usually artificial flavoring, which means manufactured in a lab.

Just because it says natural, it doesn’t mean that you’re getting orange in your orange soda.

You’re asking yourself why can’t they use orange juice and mix it with carbonated water.

Standard pasteurized orange juice authentic flavors are destroyed during processing, getting characteristics back, food corporations engineer flavoring to enhance what was lost in the process.

Most likely, your soda has nothing to do with real oranges or orange juice anyway.

Since you don’t benefit from orange soda, start making homemade orange juice adding carbonated water, It’s even more refreshing.



natural flavor research
We haven’t seen a lot of research regarding natural flavors and what it does to us because the people who are going to fund the opposing opinion are the food corporations themselves. 

It’s the same situation with big pharma. 

When it comes to maintaining health, it is imperative to know what you consume. Certain engineered foods are tastier; by design from the lab.

Always keep in mind that you are choosing health over so called tasty natural flavors/artificial flavors.

So, guys, we encourage you to fix your food from scratch. It’s way healthier, and for our taste, it’s even more delicious. You will always look forward to eating great food.

Let us know your experience and leave a comment below.

For any further questions/information, please leave a message below.

Cheers to Healthy Living,
Anh-Tu and Sigmund
Anhtu & Sigmund

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  1. Darrin

    Thanks for the informative post, I think. I am a little grossed out by the beaver anal gland byproducts and beetle secretions. I’ve heard of some pretty weird and disgusting methods of manufacturing and producing food products, and now I have a longer list and even less trust for those companies that are making most of our foods. Certainly, artificial flavors should cause us to stop and ask “what the heck is that?” But natural flavors you would think are, well, really 100% natural. But not when the FDA allows dozens of other chemical byproducts in that “natural” flavor mix. 

    From now on I will watch these labels much closer. Thanks again for the information!


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