Most people who are attuned to health and wellness news are certainly aware of the vast change in consumer habits we have seen surrounding a host of chemical additives proven to be in our food. People have become increasingly conscious of the negative health effects of chemicals such as endocrine disruptors, artificial colors and flavors, high-fructose corn syrup and even genetic modification of our food – especially when it comes to their children.
This has led companies as large and diverse as General Mills, Pizza Hut, Baskin-Robbins, Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts and more to alter their products and menus to appeal to the growing consumer base who are trying to be as healthy as possible, even when consuming fast food, snacks and the occasional treat.
At the same time, however, there has been an equal push by many companies to try and cash in on this trend toward consumer awareness and health by obfuscating their ingredients through terms that sound healthy, but might be completely the opposite. One of the greatest threats is contained in the term “naturally flavored.” This, among many other marketing techniques, becomes especially important in the areas of more intense fitness that often relies upon supplementation to optimize one’s gains in the gym. Unflavored protein powder and products which can properly withstand heightened scrutiny are going to be part of the next phase of awareness as people begin drilling down behind the marketing and opportunism in the health and fitness industry. Let’s look at some of the hidden “gems” we all should become aware of.
Firstly, it is important to realize that the FDA has permitted food manufacturers to restrict listing the actual chemicals that often appear in food. These dangerous chemicals hide behind the general term “artificial flavors.” As proof of this, in 2018 the FDA decided to ban 7 synthetic food additives after a lawsuit from environmental groups. As NPR reported at the time:
Ever heard of these food additives? Synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, methyl eugenol, myrcene, pulegone, or pyridine?
These compounds can help mimic natural flavors and are used to infuse foods with mint, cinnamon and other flavors.
You’ve likely never seen them on food labels because food manufacturers are permitted to label them simply as “artificial flavors.”