Is Natural Bacon Type Flavor Bad For You?
Due to protection of industry trade secrets, it’s unclear what exactly goes into “natural bacon type flavor.” For this reason, we can’t say for sure whether or not it’s actually bad for you. However, if it’s like most “natural flavors”... it’s probably not that great for you.
View Full Grading System
'N' stands for neutral. Things placed into this category are (a) neither good nor bad for you, or (b) lack the necessary evidence to reach any conclusions.
Very healthy and numerous health benefits. Side effects are rare. Things rated an 'A+' are typically necessary for survival (for example, water).
Very healthy and numerous health benefits. A few harmful qualities may be associated, but only under certain circumstances such as an allergic reaction.
Very healthy and numerous health benefits. Harmful qualities may be associated, but aren't usually serious.
It is important to note that even the best things in life can become bad in immoderate amounts. So, although something may be rated an 'A+', overconsumption/overdoing can bring unwanted effects.
Very beneficial to your health. Things rated a 'B+' may have a few harmful qualities to pay attention to.
Overall beneficial to your health. Things rated a 'B' may have some harmful qualities to pay attention to.
More beneficial to your health than not. However, harmful qualities are most likely associated and shouldn't be overlooked.
The main difference between category 'A' and category 'B' is the harmful qualities typically present in 'B' items. Serious side effects are usually uncommon, but are still possible and should be taken note of.
Both beneficial and harmful qualities associated. Things rated a 'C+' are typically a bit more on the beneficial side. Still, moderation is important.
A fairly even ratio of beneficial and harmful qualities. Moderation is important. Very general topics that can lean towards both sides of the spectrum will be placed here as well. Rice, for example, can be good or bad depending on the type.
More harmful than beneficial. Side effects are common, especially when consumed/done excessively. Moderation is very important.
Category 'C' usually denotes to both good and bad qualities. When it comes to this category, it is important to keep this word in mind: moderation.
Harmful to your health. Although benefits may be associated, the bad most likely outweighs the good. Moderation is very important.
Harmful to your health. A few benefits may be associated, but the bad outweighs the good. Moderation is extremely important.
Harmful to your health. Very few, if any, benefits are present. Things in this category should be avoided as much as possible.
Category 'D' is typically for things that are more harmful than beneficial. While consuming/doing something unhealthy once in a blue moon shouldn't hurt, we definitely recommend eliminating 'D' items as a regular part of your routine/diet.
Category 'F' is for things that fail to bring anything beneficial to the table, and are very harmful to your health. We recommend completely avoiding anything in this category. Long-term side effects of 'F' items are usually very serious.
'N' stands for neutral. Things placed into this category are generally (a) neither good nor bad for you, or (b) lack the necessary evidence to reach any conclusions.
Americans love bacon. Bacon burgers. Bacon wraps. Bacon cocktails. And yes—even bacon-flavored chips.
When Lays launched a “BLT” flavored chip in 2012, an interesting ingredient rose to prominence along with it: natural bacon type flavor. Since then, the additive has made its way into a few other snacks and processed foods. So... what is it exactly?
It’s hard to say for sure. “Natural flavors” rank as the fourth most commonly occurring ingredient on the Environmental Working Group’s database of over 80,000 foods, only being outranked by staples like water, sugar, and salt. However, natural flavors are not as clear-cut as those three. Natural flavors are usually derived from some sort of synthesis or extraction—it doesn’t really matter how they get to their end state, so long as the manufacturing process begins from a “natural” ingredient such as an animal, fruit or byproduct. Any type of added flavoring (either natural or artificial) could contain anywhere from 50 to 100 ingredients. Some of those ingredients are innocuous but others may contain common food allergens or even potential carcinogens.
It’s difficult to say for sure what goes into natural bacon type flavor—in order to protect trade secrets, the FDA does not require manufacturers to individually break out those ingredients. Concerned vegetarian customers who emailed Lays to inquire about the additive received this canned response: “Lay's Classic BLT does not contain any animal related ingredients other than milk.”
So if it’s not made from actual bacon, why bother? Like most natural flavors, natural bacon type flavor is most likely added to mimic the taste, improve the flavor or ensure consistency across multiple batches.
In any case, when a “natural flavor” is added to a food or drink— the food can no longer be called “natural.” For this reason, it’s best to avoid natural bacon type flavor until the long-term effects (or even the ingredients it contains) are known.
If you have concerns about this ingredient, consult your physician or nutritionist for more information. It’s also important to reach out to companies like Lays to demand more information about what is going into their products. The FDA may protect their trade secrets... but as a consumer, you have every right to inquire.
Possible short-term side effects
Possible long-term side effects
- adds flavor
makes taste consistent
safe for vegetarians
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