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Artificial Flavoring

According to the Code of Federal Regulations, “a natural flavor is 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 comparison, artificial flavors are those that are made from components that do not meet this definition. In some cases, hundreds of chemicals can be used to mimic a natural flavor. Flavoring chemicals can be found in naturally in nature, but they are frequently added to junk foods and as such, should be avoided.

Frequently Found In:

  • Soda pop
  • Candy
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Gelatin desserts
  • And many other foods


Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)

BVO, used in soft drinks since 1931, is used to keep flavor oils in suspension and to give a cloudy appearance to citrus-flavored soft drinks. Eating BVO has been shown to leave small residues in body fat; however, it is unclear whether those residues pose any risk, but should be avoided.

Frequently Found In:

  • Soft drinks


Calcium (or Sodium) Propionate

Calcium Propionate is a preservative that prevents mold by altering the action of chemical leavening agents.

Frequently Found In:

  • Breads
  • Rolls
  • Pies
  • Cakes

Calcium (or Sodium) Stearoyl Lactylate

Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate is a conditioner that is used to fortify and support bread dough so it can endure the machinery necessary for bread making.

Frequently Found In:

  • Bread dough
  • Cake fillings
  • Artificial whipped cream
  • Processed egg whites

Carmine & Cochineal Extract

Cochineal extract is a coloring extracted from dried female insects of the species Dactylopius coccus, which lives as a parasite on the prickly pear cactus. Carmine is made from Cochineal. Both can cause allergic reactions and should be avoided or consumed in moderation.

Frequently Found In:

  • Candy
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Beverages
  • And many other foods

Copper Gluconate

Copper Gluconate is the copper salt of D-gluconic acid, which occurs naturally in fruit, honey, and wine. It can be toxic in large amounts.

Frequently Found In:

  • Supplements
  • Skin Care

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup, which contains dextrose, is a sweet, thick liquid made by mixing cornstarch with acids or enzymes. It can also be dried and used as corn syrup solids. Corn syrup does not offer any nutritional value and mainly provides one with calories and sugar. It promotes tooth decay, and is used mainly in foods with little intrinsic nutritional value and should be avoided.

Frequently Found In:

  • Sweets
  • Baked Goods
  • Coffee Creamers
  • Baby Formula
  • And many more products


Dextrose

Dextrose is simply a form of glucose and is abundant in nature, and it can be found in numerous plant and animal tissues, often along with other sugars such as fructose. It is added to foods as a sweetener, but should be avoided because it represents empty calories and contributes to tooth decay.

Frequently Found In:

  • Bread
  • Caramel
  • Soda pop
  • Cookies
  • And many other foods

Diacetyl

Diacetyl is one of many chemicals that gives butter its flavor. It is also added to other foods to create a buttery flavor. Use in moderation.

Frequently Found In:

  • Microwave popcorn
  • Margarine
  • Butter-flavored cooking sprays

Diacylglycerol/Diglyceride

Diacylglycerol is made up of two fatty acid chains that assist in blending ingredients that would not normally mix well, such as oil and water. It is derived from partially hydrogenated soybean and canola oil. Consume with caution.

Frequently Found In:

  • Bakery products
  • Beverages
  • Ice cream
  • Chewing gum
  • Shortening
  • Whipped toppings
  • Margarine
  • Confections


Ethylenediamine Tetraacetic Acid (EDTA)

EDTA attracts metal that may be left behind from food processing machinery and would promote rancidity and the breakdown of artificial colors.

Frequently Found In:

  • Salad dressing
  • Margarine
  • Sandwich spreads
  • Mayonnaise
  • Processed fruits and vegetables
  • Canned shellfish
  • Soft drinks


High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

HFCS starts out as cornstarch and then enzyme or acids are added to break down the starch into its glucose subunits. Then other enzymes convert different proportions of the glucose to fructose. HFCS is more commonly used in products because it is less expensive than regular table sugar. It should be consumed in small amounts.

Frequently Found In:

  • Numerous processed foods

Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate (HSH)

HSH is similar to the sweetener and sugar alcohol sorbitol. It is slightly sweet and absorbed poorly by the body, therefore, it should be avoided.

Frequently Found In:

  • Diet foods
  • Reduced-calorie foods

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)

HVP is a flavor enhancer that is composed of vegetable protein that has been chemically broken down to the amino acids. Contains MSG and should be avoided.

Frequently Found In:

  • Instant soups
  • Frankfurters
  • Sauce mixes
  • Beef stew


Invert Sugar

Invert sugar is formed when sucrose is split and made up of equal parts of dextrose and fructose. It offers no nutritional value and promotes tooth decay and should be avoided.

Frequently Found In:

  • Candy
  • Soft drinks
  • And many other foods


Lactitol

Lactitol is a sugar alcohol that is made from lactose or milk sugar and is not absorbed well by the body and should be avoided.

Frequently Found In:

  • Candy
  • Chocolates
  • Baked goods
  • Ice cream
  • Sugar-free foods


Maltitol

Maltitol is a sugar alcohol made by hydrogenating maltose, which is obtained from corn syrup. It is not absorbed well by the body. Consume with caution, large amounts may have a laxative effect.

Frequently Found In:

  • Candy
  • Chocolates
  • Jams
  • Sugar-free foods

Mannitol

Mannitol is a sugar alcohol that is used as a sweetener often found in candy. Consume with caution, large amounts may have a laxative effect.

Frequently Found In:

  • Candy
  • Chocolates
  • Jams
  • Sugar-free foods
  • “Dust” on chewing gum

Mono- and Diglycerides

Mono- and Diglycerides is used to make bread softer, prevents oils from separating in peanut butter and provides stability in margarine. Although it is not dangerous, it is often found in highly refined foods and should be avoided.

Frequently Found In:

  • Baked goods
  • Margarine
  • Candy
  • Peanut butter


Polydextrose

Polydextrose is produced by mixing dextrose (corn sugar) with sorbitol. The combination creates a slightly sweet, reduced-calorie bulking agent that is not digested easily and should be consumed in moderation or not at all.

Frequently Found In:

  • Reduced-calorie salad dressings
  • Baked goods
  • Candy
  • Puddings
  • Frozen desserts


Quinne

Quinne, a drug that can cure malaria, is used as a bitter flavoring in certain soft drinks. Although quinine is poorly tested, there is a slight chance that quinine causes birth defects. It is best for pregnant women to avoid quinine-containing beverages and drugs.

Frequently Found In:

  • Tonic water
  • Quinine water
  • Bitter lemon


Salt (Sodium Chloride)

Sodium is necessary nutrient necessary for electrolyte processes, however, added salt is used excessively in many processed foods and restaurant meals and should only be consumed in moderation. Diets high in sodium can increase blood pressure and contribute to heart attack and stroke. It is best to consume salt when it occurs naturally in many fruits, vegetables, legumes and to avoid processed foods that contain added salt.

Frequently Found In:

  • Most processed foods
  • Cured meats
  • Soups
  • Snack chips
  • Crackers
  • Occurs naturally in almost all foods

Sodium Benzoate, Benzoic Acid

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative that prevents the growth of microorganisms in acidic foods. The substances occur naturally in many plants and animals.

Frequently Found In:

  • Fruit juice
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Pickles
  • Preserves

Sorbitol

Sorbitol, a close relative to sugar, occurs naturally in fruits and berries. It has half the sweetness of sugar and is absorbed slowly (not causing blood sugar to increase rapidly), however, it should be consumed in moderation because excess consumption may cause a laxative effect.

Frequently Found In:

  • Dietetic drinks and foods
  • Candy
  • Shredded coconut
  • Chewing gum

Starch (Modified)

Modified starches are used in processed foods to improve their consistency and keep the solids suspended. Unlike regular starch, chemicals have been added to modified starch to allow it to dissolve in cold water. Starch and modified starches sometimes replace large percentages of more nutritious ingredients, such as fruit in baby foods. Choose baby foods without added starches.

Frequently Found In:

  • Soup
  • Gravy
  • Baby food

Sucralose (Splenda)

Sucralose is a relatively new artificial sweetener, marketed as “Splenda.” It was invented in 1976 and approved by the FDA in 1998. Although sucralose tastes like sugar, it is a synthetic chemical made by chemically reacting sugar (sucrose) with chlorine. It is not recognized in the body as food and that is why it does not have any calories. Sucralose does appear to be safer than saccharin, acesulfame-K, and cyclamate, but proceed with caution; there are no long-term, studies of the side effects of Splenda on humans. Studies have shown that Sucralose can cause shrunken thymus glands and enlarged livers and kidneys in rodents, but since these studies were not based on human test animals, the FDA decided the evidence was not conclusive.

Frequently Found In:

  • Diet foods
  • Soft drinks
  • Baked goods
  • Ice cream
  • Sweetener packets

Sugar (Sucrose)

Sucrose occurs naturally in fruit, sugar cane, and sugar beets. However, as an additive, sugar should be avoided, as it does not contribute any vitamins, minerals, or protein. Sugar and other refined sugars can promote obesity, tooth decay, and heart disease.

Frequently Found In:

  • Table sugar
  • Sweetened foods

Sulfites (Sulfur Dioxide, Sodium Bisulfite)

Sulfites are used as a preservative to prevent discoloration in foods such as dried fruit, “fresh” shrimp, and dried, fried, or frozen potatoes. It is also used to prevent bacterial growth in wine. Sulfites destroy vitamin B-1 and can cause harm to asthmatics. To non-sensitive individuals, sulfites are safe. The FDA banned the most dangerous uses of sulfites and required that wine labels list sulfite, when used.

Frequently Found In:

  • Dried fruit
  • Wine
  • Processed potatoes


Vanillin & Ethyl Vanillin

Vanillin is used as a substitute of Vanilla because it is cheaper to synthetically produce. Ethyl vanillin is a derivative that comes closer to matching the taste of real vanilla. Both should be avoid.

Frequently Found In:

  • Ice cream
  • Baked goods
  • Beverages
  • Chocolate
  • Candy
  • Gelatin desserts


Zinc Gluconate (also called zincum gluconium)

Zinc Gluconate is the zinc salt of gluconic acid and popular form for the delivery of zinc as a dietary supplement. It may interfere with the absorption of antibiotics, so combinations may be unsafe to consume.

Frequently Found In:

  • Supplements