I'm Dr. Elizabeth
EPIDEMIOLOGIST TURNED HOLISTIC HEALER, MEDICAL INTUITIVE AND YOUR HEALTH ISSUES’ WORST NIGHTMARE
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All right, hold on tight because I’m about to take you on a ride through Truthville.
How often do you read the labels on the products and snacks that you purchase?
Have you ever wondered what some of those things, like natural flavors, really are?
How often do you notice advertisements on packages and products you buy that say things like, “NO artificial flavors” and think to yourself “Great!” and safely assume this choice must be healthier?
Yep, I used to do that too.
At a certain point on my healing and health journey, I really had to reevaluate my nutrition and my diet. As a result, I became very dedicated to examining food labels on a regular basis. I scrutinized them when I went to the grocery store. But even at that point, I still did not realize that there were things getting by me that were helping to perpetuate the health issues that I was trying to heal myself from. One of those things was natural flavors.
When it comes to all those things you see on your food labels and what they mean, you may or may not give it too much thought beyond the information that’s printed on the box, can, or bag in front of you.
How often do you actually look at your food labels?
Especially if you’re someone who is health conscious, you may not be in the habit or routine of looking at labels on the products that you buy at the grocery store anymore. Oftentimes we can get to a point where we feel that all the products we buy are “safe” so we no longer pay as much attention. Unfortunately, people may be led to make that assumption because they trust the messages they’re being given.
There are so many different words on food labels, a lot of them difficult to pronounce, that our eyes probably just blur or glaze over most because they don’t necessarily really mean anything to us. And believe me, the industry knows that as well.
I used to think that I knew all there was to know about food labels. Early on in my research career I was heavily involved in research around type two diabetes, weight loss and physical activity. I was involved in the ground-breaking research studies that discovered a lifestyle intervention, consisting of diet and exercise, was statistically significantly better at reversing and preventing type two diabetes compared with a pharmacological treatment or prescription drug.
During that time of my life, I was an integral part of those research studies. I even used to train patients and research participants in the clinical and research setting on how to read food labels. But even at that point in my career when I was considered an “expert”, I hadn’t been trained about the hidden dangers that impact the health and wellness of everyone and lead to a lot of chronic health issues.
When we see “no artificial flavors” or “all natural” or “all-natural flavors”, we mistakenly trust that means it’s healthy for us. This is one of the reasons why it’s so very easy for the food industry to sneak things by you that are actually harmful for your health.
A lot of people probably think that natural flavors are perfectly good for them. A study published in 2017 found that people’s perception is that food is certainly healthier when words appear on packaging such as natural.
Well, then how are natural flavors defined and what are they?
This is a difficult question to answer for you, because the FDA has not actually defined the term natural. This was by design. As a result of this “oversight”, companies are able to use the term “natural” VERY loosely. In fact, natural can be anything that is derived from a plant or an animal. Now this could be anything from a fish, meat, dairy product, herb, spice, bark, bud, leaf, root, fruit, or veggie!
The truth is that natural flavors are really just more chemical additives, such as preservatives. They’re not that far from artificial flavors. The only difference is that natural flavors must be extracted from plant or animal sources. In fact, it may be the case at times that artificial flavors contain fewer chemicals than natural flavors!
The FDA doesn’t even require disclosure of the other chemicals any particular item contains, making it very easy for companies to get away with this irresponsible practice. I used to teach patients and research participants to look out for the things traditional medicine tells us to watch out for on labels like saturated fat and sugars.
Now I train my patients and clients how to find those deeper, more hidden toxic chemicals that truly matter and impact our health, like natural flavors, and are overlooked by most health care practitioners. Today I’m going to train you!
Let’s debunk natural flavors.
To understand natural flavors, you have to understand what MSG is and why it’s so harmful.
Understand that MSG is one of the underlying root causes of neurological symptoms, disorders, and problems. If you’re experiencing any neurological symptom, issue, or sensitivity there is a chance MSG may be involved in contributing to the symptoms you’re experiencing.
So let’s talk about MSG. MSG stands for monosodium glutamate. I’m sure most of you have heard of MSG. It’s a food additive that is literally in tens of thousands of different products, snacks, condiments, restaurant dishes, and more.
MSG is a salt that naturally occurs in glutamic acid, which is a non-essential amino acid. Yes, MSG is naturally occurring in glutamic acid, but there’s absolutely nothing natural about its presence in your body.
MSG can lead to a lot of different health issues and could be involved in anything from autoimmune conditions, migraines, weight problems, acne, Lyme disease, gut problems, bloating, and psoriasis to neurological symptoms, anxiety, depression, fatigue, vertigo, brain fog, UTIs, PCOS, endometriosis, and fibroids -just to name a few examples.
MSG builds up in the brain over time. When this happens, it starts to embed deep within your brain tissue, creating a cascade of problems that can lead to a lot of detrimental symptoms and very dangerous consequences.
Once MSG gets deep into your brain tissue, it causes inflammation and swelling. It can also literally kill thousands of your brain cells and weaken neurotransmitters, which are the chemical messengers in your brain. This leads to a disruption in your brain’s electrical impulses and burned-out neurons (nerve cells). With your brain and central nervous system so impaired by MSG it’s obviously going to be difficult for it to function properly.
These aren’t the only consequences of MSG for your health. It can give you symptoms like feeling confused and anxious, and it can also lead to micro strokes.
MSG injures and weakens your central nervous system, which is critical to your health and wellness, and your ability to thrive as a human being.
While there are some types of additives and ingredients that are okay in moderation, there are no circumstances in which MSG is going to be helpful.
Natural flavors are simply MSG. There are other terms that usually mean MSG, and I’ll leave a list for you at the end.
Any ingredient you see on a food label or product that has a name like “natural flavors” is truly nothing more than hidden MSG. If you see phrases like organic flavor, organic natural flavor, natural fruit flavor, natural cherry flavor, natural chocolate flavor, natural peppermint flavor, natural smoke flavor, natural beef flavor, natural chicken flavor, natural vanilla flavor, ANYTHING like this- if it has “natural”, even if it has the word organic included, it’s simply just MSG.
Every single type of natural flavor can contain more than one type of chemical compound or biohazard that is harmful for you. It’s a shame that for all these years natural flavor has been advertised as safe, trustworthy, healthy for you and your family. It’s been slipping under the radar for decades.
Remember that they can represent any of thousands of chemicals that were all born in a lab, so it’s taking a risk for your health if you’re going to consume them.
There are some food scientists out there that believe and have stated that artificial flavors are safer compared with natural flavors because they’re actually produced under more tightly controlled laboratory conditions.
I hope this empowers you to shop smart!
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