Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Are Artificial Flavors Bad For You?



Short answer

Artificial flavors have several possible negative effects on health and should be avoided. They are addictive, chemically produced in a lab, and are lacking any sort of nutritional benefit.



Long answer

Artificial flavors are synthesized chemicals (made in a lab) that interact with each other to create a flavor usually based off one found in nature. Often, they use the same chemicals found in the natural source. However, unlike a real banana, synthesized banana flavor is nutritionally void. While proponents claim that artificial flavors may, in fact, be better for you and the environment than flavors from natural sources, perhaps the most telling fact is that artificially flavored food is cheaper to produce than food that is naturally flavored.

One way in which artificial flavors are harmful is that they have tricked us into wanting food lacking in nutrition. The scientists producing artificial flavors are keen on making them both mouth-watering and short lived. Because of this, we want more. Before the advent of artificial flavors, we craved the nutrients we needed - now we crave associated flavors! Artificial orange has no vitamin C - so any drink flavored with it will only have vitamin C if it is added. Often rather than go for the nutrient-filled food, we just want to eat artificially flavored processed junk, robbing ourselves of vital vitamins and minerals.

Other than that, artificial flavoring has been shown to have a wide variety of side effects ranging from headaches, fatigue, and nausea to chest pain, dizziness, an increased risk of cancer and even seizures. Also, like dyes such as Yellow 5 and Red 40, artificial flavors have been shown to have a worsening effect on people with asthma or predisposed to hyperactivity. What's more, is that the RNA and thyroid may be affected.

Possible short-term side effects

  • headache
  • nausea
  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • allergic reaction
  • confusion
  • hyperactivity (especially children)

Possible long-term side effects

  • worsen allergies
  • seizure
  • cancer
  • central nervous system damage
  • respiratory / circulatory depression
  • kidney damage
  • brain damage

Commonly found in

Big are artificial flavors bad for you 2


  • cost effective
  • enhances flavors

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Written by Jeff Volling | 12-28-2015

Written by Jeff Volling
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