What Is Natural Flavoring? (And Why You Might Not Want It In Your Food!)

You flip over a protein bar (or something else), look at the label, and you see “natural flavors” so that means it’s good for you, right?

Well, maybe not.

It turns out that natural flavoring is a defined and yet not-so-defined label for chemicals in our food.

Natural flavor or natural flavoring according to the U.S. 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.”

Wait. What?

Basically, it means that if the chemical flavoring in a food product has an edible source then it can be called natural flavoring; whereas artificial flavors are those chemicals with an inedible source (which was made edible through some process).

But that doesn’t mean natural flavoring is better for you than artificial flavoring.

Wait again. What?

Both natural and artificial flavors are chemicals: the difference in labeling is where those chemicals originated. And, sometimes, that can mean that sort of gross “natural” things end up in your food. (Read “There is Beaver Butt in Your Natural Ice Cream.”)

Here at Steve’s PaleoGoods, we don’t like to play games with our food, our bodies, or our labels. So we’re straightup honest when we list our ingredients and tell you they come from real food. For example, this is the list of ALL the ingredients in our Cinnamon PaleoKrunch: Almonds, Shredded Coconut, Pumpkin Seeds, Walnuts, Pecans, Sunflower Seeds, Coconut Oil, Honey, Cinnamon.

That’s it. Nothing else.


Or how about our Pizza ProteinKrunch Bar: Almonds, Shredded Coconut, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Honey, Coconut Oil, Pork Rinds, Eggs, Dried Onion, Dried Tomato, Sea Salt, Dried Garlic, Dried Oregano, Dried Basil.


That’s it. No natural flavorings. No artificial flavorings. Real food made from real food: just like Steve promised when he started making PaleoGoods almost ten years ago!

If you’re trying to make good, healthy choices for your body, don’t take chances with “natural flavoring”—stick with real food made from real food. And that’s exactly what you’ll find at Steve’s PaleoGoods.


Want to read more? Check out these sources:

FDA Code of Federal Regulations

“What Manufacturers Really Mean by Natural and Artificial Flavors, According to Museum of Food and Drink”

“The Surprising Truth About How Many Chemicals Are in Everything We Eat”

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