Let Me Ask You This...
Do you have those ingredients in your house? Do you even know what all of those ingredients are?
There are a ton of artificial, chemical, junky ingredients in foods these days. When you see an ingredient called artificial flavour, you might ask yourself, what exactly is it?
For the most part, it’s a secret! Seriously! Big food companies don’t want their proprietary flavours to be known, so they’re allowed to say artificial flavour and leave the details out. That alone gets me upset! What makes me more upset, however, is what artificial flavours represent when they're in your food.
In this week's post, I will be talking about the real deal behind artificial flavours. Hopefully we will all feel a little more educated by the end of this post.
Why Use Artificial Flavours In A Product?
However, let’s say we're a big food company and we’re making thousands of apple muffins every day. In a factory. On an assembly line.
How would we process the huge amount of apples that need to be chopped, grated or made into applesauce? Would we have a separate Apple Room where all the apple processing happens? What if one batch was slightly riper, or tasted slightly different from the rest? Would our customers notice a different taste?
Apples are perishable- they go bad. So, how could we guarantee the apples wouldn't go bad? Remember the saying "it only takes one bad apple to ruin the whole bunch?".
What if we could have an apple flavour that tastes better than real apples? Something that makes people want to keep buying them every week. It's true, some of the artificial flavours are engineered to have an even better taste than the real food.
All of this is to say that companies will often opt for the easier and more profitable option, which more often than not includes artificial flavours.
Artificial flavourslast longer and are virtually identical from batch to batch. In our apple muffin example, the artificial flavours used to make an apple muffin are ready to go, so we don't need to peel, cut, or worry about apples going brown, or that they're not tasting apple-y enough.
Oh, and it’s way cheaper than using real, whole apples.
Pro Tip: If the package says flavoured in the description, then the flavour is artificial. For example, apple muffin contains at least some apple. Apple flavoured muffin, however, contains artificial flavour and no apple.
Safety Of Artificial Flavours
There is an approved list of flavours that are accepted to be safe, and are used by the food industry. They are considered GRAS, or generally recognized as safe.
Even if they are 100% safe to ingest, the mere fact that an artificial flavour is in food makes it an artificial food. It's not a real, whole food. Having an artificial flavour as an ingredient almost identifies that food to be a processed, food-like product or junk food.
Artificial flavours in food indicate that the food, regardless of the marketing, or health claims, is not the healthiest choice.
Artificial flavours are not added to improve the healthfulness or nutrition of the food. Seeing them on an ingredient list indicates that the food is not going to optimize your health.
The good news is that we can easily make healthy, whole food, home made versions of many processed products that people frequently buy. Let's try that out with the delicious apple muffin recipe below.
Recipe: Apple Muffins
- 1 cup rolled oats, uncooked
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 cup chopped apples
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, mix the quick oats and cinnamon. Add the quinoa and mix again. Now add maple syrup, apples and eggs, and mix until just combined.
- Place 12 muffin liners into a muffin pan. Fill each muffin cup about ⅔ of the way
- Place in oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes.
- Serve & enjoy!
Pro Tip: Before baking, sprinkle each muffin with a touch of cinnamon for extra (natural) flavour.
How To Efficiently Use Whole Foods
When trying to eat as many real, whole foods in our diets as possible- efficiency is key. If we are organized and efficient about our meal preparation, it becomes much easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle in our busy day to day lives.
I created the Simple Swaps Guide to Meal Planning & Prepping to help give you some simple tips and tricks. This guide was created to offer my best suggestions to help you make small changes that will have a big impact on overall health.
Click on the button below to access this free guide.