Artificial food flavouring; so you’re up at the cottage and someone pulls out a bag of Doritos (or their “healthier” alternative). You tell yourself, you’ll only have a few…
5 WAYS ARTIFICIAL FOOD FLAVOURS MIGHT NEGATIVELY AFFECT YOUR HEALTH
And next thing you know you’re reaching for crumbs at the bottom of the bag. Generally, we know that processed foods are contributing to a collective decline in our health, but is it perhaps the added food flavouring that’s making us reach for these craveable foods in the first place? Food additives and engineered food flavouring give our taste buds exactly what they want, but at a pretty significant cost to us. Here are five ways that artificial food flavouring might be negatively affecting our health.
TRICKS OUR BRAIN
Artificial flavouring hijacks your brain! That’s why when you only mean to have a handful of chips, you end up eating the whole bag. In many cases, food manufacturers actually pay scientists to produce food flavours that trick our brain into wanting more of it. Cha ching (for them, that is).
Synthetic chemicals are used to enhance the flavour of a food and give it specific characteristics – like that strong, but short lived surge of “yum this is so good!” – that tricks you into consuming more. The truth is, it’s never even THAT great tasting, yet somehow it’s so addictive.
CHANGES OUR PALETTE
More on how flavouring affects our brain – When our taste receptors get activated through artificial food flavouring, the reward centre of our brain is activated and hormones like dopamine are released. When this happens, our own physiology gets confused, and we start craving those same foods over and over!
Also, artificial food flavours are usually added to hyper-palatable foods, so you more you eat them, the more you want to eat them again and lose a taste for WHOLE FOODS. We notice this a lot with kids in our pediatric FUNC MED program for example. Once they’ve tried something with flavouring (i.e. a Dorito), they might put up a fight when you try to feed them something seemingly bland next to it like a piece of iceberg lettuce!
We have lots of tricks to get your kid back on track! Contact us if you need help getting your kid into loving whole nutrient dense foods!
INCREASES THE AMOUNT WE EAT
Evolution has taught our brains to associate certain flavour profiles with certain nutrients, vitamins, minerals etc. When an artificial flavour mimics a nutrient from nature, our brain thinks we’re getting those nutrients. Then, when we don’t, our brain will urge us to eat another, and another and so on.
So we end up increasing the amount of the food we are eating, even if we didn’t intend to when we started! Infuriating, isn’t it? For example – we can’t sit down to eat a whole basket of peaches, we’d be so full!! But we could sit down and crush a bag of peach ring candies (of which, peach is not even on the list of ingredients!).
CAN LEAD TO NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY
Remember how artificial flavours can trick our brain into thinking that you consumed a specific nutrient? Well, when that happens consistently aka you continue to eat those foods without actually eating the nutrients your body is looking for, you can run into problems, like nutrient deficiencies. Let’s take craving an orange for example. If you instead opt for an orange pop or even an orange flavoured soda water, the mind feels satisfied but the body was likely telling you you needed some vitamin C!
ADDS TO YOUR TOXIC BURDEN
Let’s recap that artificial flavours are chemically manufactured in labs, so they commonly contain chemicals/toxins. Remember that “flavours” are proprietary, so the company is not required to list the various chemicals that went into creating that “artificial flavour”, and all they have to write on the label is just that.
For example: Coke and Pepsi taste different right? Aside from water, sugar/high fructose corn syrup and caramel colour, they TASTE different because of their different chemical additives. Keep in mind artificial flavourings are commonly added to low-quality, highly processed foods, which also contain other additives, sugars, inflammatory fats and more that can affect our gut, liver, hormones, immune system and so much more!
HOW TO START AVOIDING ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURING?
The natural first step is start looking out for “artificial flavour” on the backs of your foods and ditch them! Even “natural flavours” just be aware of it for the reasons mentioned above. Good news: we are in the perfect time of year to re-set those tastebuds and kick “flavouring” to the curb. The truth is, you can’t go from craving Doritos to eating a cucumber and expect to love it by starting to embrace natural spices, herbs and local produce.
HOW TMB CAN HELP UPGRADE YOUR HEALTH
Want to learn more about how functional medicine can help upgrade your health, contact us today for a free consultation with our functional medicine practitioners.
LIKE WHAT YOU’RE READING?
This article is excerpted from our weekly TMB Magazine — an exclusive subscriber only publication that is packed with all sorts of in-depth latest study breakdowns, functional medicine insights and wisdom from Dr. Bhat and her team.
Discover even more about your health, body and wellness and unlock your bio-individual power! Sign up today!