What Are Natural Flavors? How Are They Different from Artificial Flavors?

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What Are Natural Flavors?

What are Natural Flavors Lemon Infused Water

There's some weird, artificial stuff floating around out there.

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Natural flavors are something you may see on the ingredients list of your favorite cereal. Or maybe they're on your radar due to the recent LaCroix lawsuit.

Unfortunately, like many things in the food and supplement industry, there are no regulations when it comes to these flavors. And "natural flavors", that are in fact not natural at all, are highly prevalent.

How prevalent?

"Natural flavors" is currently the fourth most common food ingredient listed on food labels.[1]

There are, however, many companies in the industry that utilize natural flavors that are truly natural. We'll explain how to determine the natural from the unnatural below.

What is "Natural Flavor"?

The definition of natural flavor under the Code of Federal Regulations 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”[2]

But what does that actually mean?

In layman's terms, that just requires the flavor to have originated from a natural organism. It's clear that the flav