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What’s the Deal with ‘Natural Flavors’?

 

natural flavor pic

What’s the Deal with ‘Natural Flavors’?
Written by Lindsey Johnson

I’ve been asked these questions a few times: “What’s up with the “natural flavors” in sparkling water and are they ok? Additionally are they okay if I’m participating in a challenge like ‘Look Good, Feel Good’ or trying to lose a few pounds. Is this an acceptable substitute to soda or some sugary drink?”

The issue with most of these “health drinks” or flavored waters is they add sneaky additions like sodium and sugar. Not all clear drinks are healthy; tonic water contains added sodium and sugar and bottled club soda may also contain added sodium.

So I did a little more research on this subject. According to the fine folks at CBS news and 60 minutes, the issue really lies within the fact that companies making the flavoring for most of the food we eat are not obligated to tell us what’s in their recipes – t’s considered intellectual property. Similar to how the people at Apple aren’t inclined to share just how they made the iPhone. Each flavor contains an infinite number of ingredients, all ranging from the essence of the orange your soda tastes like to the anal glands of a beaver – yes you read that correctly! To see the entirety of that 60 minutes episode click here.

The FDA doesn’t require these companies to tell us how they make these flavors or what’s in them; from the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations: “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. Natural flavors, include the natural essence or extractives obtained from plants listed in subpart A of part 582 of this chapter, and the substances listed in 172.510 of this chapter.”

That’s a pretty vague definition, leading me to believe that the definition of natural flavors allows the companies who are creating them have the freedom to use whatever they want to make them, which is a little unnerving.

Many of us are already pretty bad when it comes to drinking sugar or calories, so don’t let your choice of water make it worse. Make sure if it’s a substitute for something that it’s a substitute in favor of your health and wellness. Coach Michele and I prefer La Croix sparkling water, from La Croix’s website: “The flavors are derived from the natural essence oils extracted from the fruits used in each of our LaCroix flavors. There are no sugars or artificial ingredients contained in, nor added to, these extracted flavors. La Croix Sparkling Water does not contain castoreum.”

Castoreum is the technical name for the beaver anal gland extract mentioned above. With all that being said it’s still up you, we can’t say that the “Natural Flavors” are all perfectly natural based on the above information I think we’re pretty clear that we’re not being told everything.

Just to be clear, this post is not intended to steer you away from any and all food with “natural flavors”; it would be hard to find anything to eat. The point is that we really DON’T know exactly what is in there. I personally prefer the fizzy water to soda and if I’m being honest, I’ve had a flavored sparkling water addiction for a good two years and haven’t felt any adverse reactions to it, or any weight gain; but that’s just me.

If you’re not sure about what’s involved with these drinks, try flavoring your still or sparkling water with mint leaves, cucumber, lemon and lime slices, or fresh fruit. There are so many ways to fancy up water and some of these provide additional vitamins and benefits! I will let my sparkling water obsession commence!

References

Spector, Dina.  ”Is Drinking Carbonated Water Bad For You?”, February 28, 2014.  October 23, 2014. http://www.businessinsider.com/is-drinking-carbonated-water-the-same-as-drinking-regular-water-2014-2

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-flavorists-tweaking-tastes-and-creating-cravings-27-11-2011/

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=501.22

http://www.lacroixwater.com/product/faq/

Published on Thursday, November 27, 2014 | 1 Comment

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  From the Invictus Family to Your’s, have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Published on Wednesday, November 26, 2014 | Post a comment
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The Importance of Play Written by Bryce Smith George Bernard Shaw once wrote that, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” I believe the American society is growing old as a result of being overworked and not putting enough emphasis on leisure time and play. Our society has always influenced us to play after work has been completed. Unfortunately, in this day and age, time is money and people feel that if they, for lack of a better term, waste time playing, then they are jeopardizing an opportunity to make more money.

Published on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 | Post a comment
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CrossFit Weightlifting Advanced Trainer Course – December 6-7, 2014 On Saturday and Sunday, December 6-7, CrossFit Invictus will play host to the CrossFit Weightlifting Advanced Trainer’s Course! This particular seminar builds on the introductory CrossFit Weightlifting course by developing your knowledge of the lifts and ability to coach others in them. All methods presented will assist the coach in finding the optimal way to coach and motivate individual athletes to perform the lifts safely, efficiently and effectively. If this is something that interests you, then keep reading! Seminar Description This course is designed for a coach who has completed both

Published on Monday, November 24, 2014 | Post a comment
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Published on Sunday, November 23, 2014 | 11 Comments
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Published on Friday, November 21, 2014 | Post a comment
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