What ‘All Natural’ Really Means

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When you buy food products, one of the most common phrases that the consumer sees is “all natural.”

But what does “all natural” mean, and how reliable is the label? In other words, are all natural foods truly all natural?

According to a report from the Culinary Institute of America, that natural flavor label you see on your food products may not be what you think it is.

Certainly, natural flavors should come from natural sources, but it doesn’t all need to come from a plant or meat whose flavor is being imitated.

The example that the researchers use is orange flavor. They say that natural orange flavor may contain not only orange extract but also bark extract and grass extract.

The important thing to remember is that natural flavors are created by extracting chemicals or natural gradients, and artificial flavors are made by creating the same chemicals synthetically.

What this means is that natural may be better, but also may not have any advantages at all and potentially be not as good for you. Let the consumer beware.

More from Dr. Brian McDonough

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