Food is one of the most amazing things in the universe, but what is on the shelves today is not food, not anywhere close to food. What is it is a toxic pit of chemicals that is affecting the way that you crave food; the food industry has it all figured out and the sooner you learn the better.
If I were to tell you right now to close your eyes and picture nacho cheese from Taco Bell, you will probably get a picture of the color bright orange, a color that has been manufactured in a lab. That picture you have in your mind has altered the idea that you have about food, real food that is.
If you went out right now and looked around you would see children chewing watermelon flavored gum and eating fruit-flavored candy. When you go to the movies you see people eating popcorn flavored with artificial butter. Not to mention the fact that if you go to a supermarket you can find so many flavored items that it looks almost impossible to find any plain variety: flavored soups, ice cream, juices and even water.
If you are like me, cooking at home, odds are you have a spice cabinet or rack with 10-20 herbs and spices. I use them to improve the taste of my meals and I am sure if you cook then you do the same thing. But, processed food does not rely only on these simple ingredients, as a matter of fact, “Natural flavor” is the fourth most common ingredient listed in food sources, which rates more than 80,000 foods on the market.
“Natural flavors” is the term used by food companies and scientist that means the substance originated in nature. Food companies can then add other ingredients, yet still declare “natural flavors” on the food label.
By FDA definition: “Natural flavor 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.”
Author, Mark Schatzker, has put together a timeline of the artificial food industry and its most powerful ingredient: flavor, in his new book, The Dorito Effect.
“Evolution did not program us to get fat — we’ve simply tricked ourselves into craving the wrong foods,” Schatzker says on his website.
“Synthetic flavors in foods have heightened their desirability at the very same time that whole foods are losing flavor,” he says, believing that engineering food to have a longer shelf life or for prettier colors has diminished the taste. “Now that we’ve broken that connection between flavor and nutrition by creating synthetic flavors, we have created foods that tell a thrilling but deceptive nutritional lie.”
The flavor of food has long been a way for people to indicate its health value. In the past, when all we did was seek out real food, craving certain flavors meant our bodies needed that certain ingredient. For instance, if you desired citrus fruit, it could indicate that your body needs vitamin C. When you ingest an orange soda or a lime flavored water, it can trick your body into thinking that it is getting the vitamin and the craving continues because you still need it.
“I stopped putting sugar in my coffee, not because I was trying to cut back on sugar but because I felt like it was getting in the way of tasting the coffee. It’s like I’ve rewired my palate,” he says.
The word natural is thrown around so loosely, that most of the time food manufacturers can put whatever they want into your food and still label it natural. It is best to avoid anything labeled “natural” or “synthetic” or as many processed foods as possible and but real fresh ingredients so many things that you overpay for in the supermarket and at fast food restaurants when you could just make the same thing at home for a quarter of the cost and not much more of your precious time. Cherish what you put into your body, it is a temple and you are what you eat after all!