When shopping for healthy and hearty foods, most health-conscious people tend to stay away from items that contain artificial colors and flavors. They try their best to gear towards foods that are labeled as naturally flavored on the nutrition labels. However, understanding what nutrition labels actually mean can get pretty tricky if you can’t even pronounce half of the ingredients listed. One rule of thumb is that if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, then do not buy it. That goes hand-in-hand with not buying anything with too much sugar or sodium in its serving sizes.

Although it may sound logical to buy naturally flavored foods because it sounds healthy- have you ever thought about what these natural flavors are, and where they might come from? Does it actually make the food you are eating any healthier? Are they truly what we think they are, and are they actually significantly better than artificially flavored foods?

“Natural flavors” is actually a very general term to describe where an ingredient originated from. Naturally flavored ingredients are chemicals that were originally found in a once naturally occurring source, and they are (surprisingly) not always healthier than artificially flavored ingredients. It is important to know that the naturally flavored product you are buying only signifies that it contains ingredients that were once natural. Theoretically speaking, the chemicals that were originally found in a naturally occurring source can be processed much more than an artificially flavored ingredients to the point that purity aspect is minimal. In fact, the FDA does not even have an established definition of what a naturally flavored ingredient is, and there is a lack of regulations on it.

Both artificially and naturally flavored ingredients serve the same purpose of flavoring foods. The only difference is that one is entirely created by humans, while the other was once traced back to being from a naturally occurring source. Although naturally flavored foods can sound much better than artificially flavored foods, there are actually no evident benefits because of how much the ingredients were processed.

Now we just have to end this post with the age-old question: Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavors, and lemon dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?