Mar. 05, 2020
As we know, food additives may be natural or synthetic. Many food labels list natural and artificial flavorings in the ingredients. People often believe that natural is better, but is this accurate? Both of them have chemicals. The difference is in whether they come from edible or inedible sources.
Natural flavors – Natural flavors are usually created from an edible source, such as vegetables, fruits, meat, poultry, dairy, herbs and spices. Scientists, called flavorists, use derivatives of these products to create over 2,000 chemicals that make up 500 natural flavors. Interestingly, flavors may come from unexpected sources. For example, to create lemon flavoring, flavorists use the citral chemical found in lemon peel, lemongrass or lemon myrtle.
Artificial flavors – Flavorists make artificial flavors by combining chemicals made from inedible ingredients, such as paper pulp or petroleum. Artificial flavors are made to smell and taste exactly like natural flavorings. They must pass stricter safety testing, too. But even so, organic purists believe that artificial flavors can cause a host of health problems.
All foods — and everything else around us — are made up of chemicals, whether they occur in nature or are made in a lab. That means everything we smell or taste is a response to chemicals. For instance, methyl cinnamate is found naturally in a variety of plants, including in fruits, like strawberry, and some culinary spices, such as Sichuan pepper and some varieties of basil. Methyl cinnamate can also be synthesized by the reaction of methyl alcohol with cinnamic acid using silica immobilized licheniformis MTCC-10498.