You will see this term or terms like "Natural Strawberry Flavor" or "Natural Vanilla Flavor" on many food and juice labels, even products that are called "nutritional". If the product actually had "strawberry", the label would simply say "strawberry", not "natural strawberry FLAVOR". The word "natural" means nothing. Everything is "natural" since everything has to come from something that was originally "natural. A good example is MSG (monosodium-glutamate) is a brain neurotoxin. It is a slow poison. Most people understand that MSG is not healthy, so manufacturers have changed the name to "Natural Flavors.
The other issue is that manufacturers can say to you "There is no MSG in this product" as long as the MSG is a "constituent of an ingredient", ie. "natural flavors". This is very deceptive. Many ask this question, " What is the difference between the glutamic acid found in protein and the potentially harmful manufactured glutamic acid we refer to as MSG?"
Glutamic acid is an amino acid found in abundance in both plant and animal protein. In humans it is a non-essential amino acid, i.e. the body is capable of producing its own glutamic acid, and is not dependent upon getting glutamic acid from ingested food.
What is MSG?
Outside of the body, glutamic acid is produced commercially in food manufacturing and chemical plants. Its use in food began in the early 1900s as a component of a flavor enhancer called "monosodium glutamate." Unfortunately, any glutamic acid that is produced as an individual amino acid outside of the body for use in food, drugs, dietary supplements, cosmetics, personal care products, fertilizers, or other, can cause or exacerbate brain lesions, neuroendocrine disorders, learning disabilities, adverse reactions, neurodegenerative disease and more in humans. Glutamic acid that is produced commercially in food manufacturing and chemical plants is known as "MSG.
Since the creation of man, he has eaten food in the form of protein. We understand a fair amount about human protein digestion and subsequent metabolism at the present time. As part of protein digestion, protein is broken down into its constituent amino acids, one of them being glutamic acid. In the human body, the ingested protein is broken down (hydrolyzed) in the stomach and lower intestines through the action of hydrochloric acid and enzymes--both of which are found naturally in the human body. In a healthy human, the body controls the amount of glutamic acid converted from protein in this way, and disposes of the "waste." Humans do not store excess glutamic acid as such.
The glutamate industry continues to deny that exposure to free glutamic acid found in processed food (MSG) causes adverse reactions including hives, asthma, seizures, and migraine headache; causes brain damage, learning disorders, and endocrine disturbances; and is relevant to diverse diseases of the central nervous system such as addiction, stroke, epilepsy, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and degenerative disorders such as ALS, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.
Ingredients, food and beverages that might contain MSG or that were processed with MSG
- Enzyme-modified food
- Fermented foods and beverages
- Natural beef, chicken, pork, smoke flavoring
- Barley malt, Malt extract, Malt flavoring
- Protein-fortified foods
- Textured protein
- Soy extract, Protein, sauce, isolate, concentrate
- Ultra pasteurized foods
- Whey protein, concentrate, isolate.
After reading all the info, I have come to the conclusion that MSG in our food can cause problems and if the only benefit of MSG is to want us to eat more, why is it in the food. Even the FDA site says there are side effects to MSG. Also with the obesity problem, do we really need to eat more? Think about this for a minute...if you have to doctor something up to make it tasty to the pallet, is it really good for you?
Apples, oranges, grapes...good healthy food doesn't need any added ingredients. What processed food do they add natural favors to? You got it...they are mostly the foods that need something to enhance the taste to cover up the bad and cheap unhealthy ingredients. So, in conclusion, does it not seem feasible for us to consider eating more whole food...the way they were created by nature?