“Natural flavors” is a term many of us food label readers have probably seen hundreds of times but what are they really? It most commonly found on the labels of our most processed foods.
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.
In other words, a chemical normally flavor found in any of the products can be extracted and enhanced and added to in a lab. These natural flavors may contain up to 50 or 100 added ingredients. If you have an allergic reaction to something and cannot figure out what it is, add “natural flavor” to your list of foods to avoid. It is prevalent in so many processed foods. Try to make your own foods from scratch – that way you know what is in them.