FDA Bans 7 Artificial Flavoring Substances

Many consumers are unaware that they are ingesting substances that are not good for them. These substances are usually written as “artificial flavors” on product labels.  Recently, the United States Food and Drug Administration released a list of seven artificial flavoring substances that are harmful to health. These flavorings include ethyl acrylate, benzophenone, eugenyl methyl ether (methyl eugenol), ethyl acrylate, mycrene, pyridine, and pulegone.

The Substances Were First Approved by the FDA

These synthetic substances might be foreign to ordinary consumers, but they were first approved by the FDA during the early 60s. These substances are used for a wide variety of purposes such as mimicking or enhancing natural flavors. They are used to impart the flavor of mint, cinnamon, and floral in ice cream, baked products, beer, candy, and chewing gum.

The flavoring industry and FDA mentions that there is no risk to the public when consuming these products as long as the quantity is small. But even if this is the case, there are a growing number of people who prefer not to eat or drink anything synthetic.

Natural Alternatives Needed for Artificial Flavoring

Many people are opting not to buy products that contain artificial flavoring or substances. As a result, food companies are looking for natural alternatives to flavor for food. Petitioning to ban these substances pose a significant risk to many food manufacturers. The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association noted that the delisting of these substances confirms that there is a need for FDA to assess the actual risk instead of still following the 60-year old provision of the Delaney Clause.

The Delaney Clause was the statutory provision created by the FDA. In a nutshell, the provision strictly discourages the FDA from approving any food additives that can induce cancer to humans at any dose. And since the substances mentioned above did not reveal to cause cancer in the past, their use was continued until today.

Approving the Petition May be Difficult

While these substances may not be linked to inducing cancer, they can cause other health problems that are as concerning as cancer. However, FDA noted that approving the petition to ban these substances may not be that easy as the agency receives more than 200 petitions annually and it takes several weeks or more to evaluate and validate each.  But because of the public outcry including those from the institutions such as the Center for Food Safety, Center for Science and Public Interest, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the FDA was forced to act.

The Implications

The implication of banning these substances is to push the manufacturers will likely be looking for natural substitutes and determining how they can change recipes using natural flavoring. But this might take a while, and many food manufacturers are asking for at least two years to be able to have a smoother transition in getting the job done. But on the bright side, switching to natural flavoring can draw in more consumers leading to a competitive boost for a variety of products.

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Artificially Sweetened Soda Can Increase Risk Of Stroke And Dementia

Drinking artificially sweetened soda and drinks have many health risks including stroke and dementia. In a study published in the journal Stroke and Alzheimer’s & Dementia, researchers linked the consumption of sodas to the increased risk of dementia and stroke.

The Validity Of The Study On Artificially Sweetened Soda

The long-term observation study involved 2,888 people who provided data since the survey started in 1971.  The researchers found out that those who drank at least one can of diet soda daily are three times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or suffer from an ischemic stroke.

Although the statistics suggest the possible link, many experts still caution people who interpret the results of the study. They noted that while there is an association between soda drinking and such diseases, it does not mean that drinking can cause these conditions to develop.

Other Factors That Can Increase The Risk For Stroke And Alzheimer’s

Some critics have highlighted several flaws in the study citing that if factors such as weight, genes, and diabetes were taken into account, the association with stroke and dementia would disappear. The thing is that defects in the genes, obesity, and diabetes are more likely causes of stroke and dementia than drinking a can of diet soda.  So why arrive at such a correlation? Critics point out that it is probable that the people involved in the study are already suffering from ill health such as diabetes. These patients are more likely to opt for zero-calorie drinks thus influencing the result of the survey.

Experts still suggest that drinking fizzy drinks should be in moderation as drinking too much is attributed to weight gain–a more plausible cause for stroke and Alzheimer’s.

Is It Safe?

Studies involving the harmful effects of soda on health hurt the beverage industry all over the world. In response to the bad publicity, the American Beverage Association issued a statement regarding the safety status of artificial sweeteners as highlighted by international organizations like the World Health Organization, US Food and Drug Administration, and the European Food Safety Authority. Beverage companies claim that the amount of artificial sweetener or any sweeteners for that matter that they use on their products do not go beyond the established limit set by these agencies.

But whether artificially sweetened drinks has some health risks or not, the sales have still declined as consumers are looking for healthier alternatives such as low-calorie and naturally sweetened drinks as well as bottled water.  Surprisingly, the sales of bottled water overtook the sales of fizzy drinks in the United States last year making bottled water the largest beverage category regarding volume consumed per capita.

Another reason why the sales of the sugary drinks industry have declined is the taxes imposed on them discouraged people from buying them. Last year, sales decreased by 21% due to higher tax rates. So regardless of the result of the study linking soda with stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, the industry is struggling with selling a product does have some adverse effects on your health.

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New Study: Splenda Linked to Cancer

Whether or not sugar can have a substitute has been an often-debated topic. Consumers to reduce chances of sugar related diseases turned towards alternative sweeteners. One such product that was popularized as an alternative is Splenda. Splenda contains sucralose, a sweetener deemed harmless up until now.

The Problem with Sucralose

The Ramazinni Institute in Italy published a new study that revealed the dangers of sucralose. The risks include cancer and leukemia. Findings of the study do not align with the claims made by Splenda and their testing methods. Earlier studies on sucralose intake resulted in the conclusion that it remains “biologically inert”. Splenda products were marketed with a heavy emphasis on rigorous testing.  Consumers perceived the product to be much healthier than sugar, which helped raise Splenda’s sales to $177 million.

Here are the findings put forward by Ramazinni Institute in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health:

The test subjects included 457 male mice and 396 female mice. The subjects were administered with sucralose of varying dosages added to their food from 12 days of growth till they died. Sucralose dosage resulted in a raised level of cancer in the male rodents since the amount of Splenda in their diets was higher as compared to those of the female rodents. Also, researchers found the occurrence of leukemia among the male mice who were given a dosage level of 2,000 to 16,000 ppm.

Splenda is Still a Sweetener 

These revelations demand a further explanation on whether Splenda, even in small quantities can pose health risks. Additionally, the two human trials that got published and approved by the FDA lasted only four days and only tested Splenda regarding tooth decay. However, Splenda’s spokespersons claim that the research and its results are unreliable. The company is focusing on the data produced over a period of two decades which includes 100 research studies and experiments stating that “Extensive research strongly supports that sucralose is safe for everyone and does not cause cancer.”

Sucralose is an artificial ingredient. The major concern is whether the body can completely metabolize the ingredient. The Center for Science in the Public Interest strongly advises against the consumption of other artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and acesulfame potassium. Sucralose is a lot sweeter than aspartame and has found its way into several food and beverages.

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4 “Natural” Foods & Beverages With Artificial Ingredients


Eating healthy requires you to replace a lot of the unhealthy food you’ve been consuming so far with better, healthier alternatives. Organic, healthy and natural food is in vogue among the health conscious. With all the options out there, deciding what’s best for your diet is a matter of a thorough understanding of the food label. In a market entrenched in the race for fulfilling the demands for natural products, many ingredients are passed off and approved under the guise of “natural”, “pure” and “organic”.

In a recent survey by Consumer Reports, they found that over 66% of people believe that “natural” food should contain no artificial ingredients. Below are four examples of natural food and beverages that contain artificial ingredients. To see all of the natural products with artificial ingredients, see the article by Consumer Reports, here.

Natural Fruit Cups

Del Monte claims that their fruit cups are filled with real fruit. However, the products are artificially sweetened. The fruit cups also contain artificial preservatives like potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate.

All Natural Sweet Potato Fries

Con Agra’s Alexia sweet potato fries have large quantities of xantham gum, an ingredient used as thickening agent. The company claimed that their products have been inspected by the FDA and are compliant with the regulations.

Consumers shouldn’t be in a hurry to swap their kitchen cabinet essentials for natural food products just yet. A smarter reading of pack labels will help you make better food choices.

Smithfield’s Cold Cuts

Cold cuts are an essential in most households. Companies like Smithfield, claim that their product Krakus Polish sliced ham contain all-natural juices. But, a reading of the ingredients reveals, at least, five artificial ingredients. Most cold cuts of meat and poultry contain chemicals like sodium nitrate as well.

Smucker’s Bottled Beverages

A majority of the fruit juices available in stores have tiny amounts of real fruit content. Artificial ingredients are used to enhance the color and texture of the juice these include preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and artificial colors. The same goes for other aerated and bottled drinks. J.M Smucker’s Natural Brew Draft Rootbeer contains caramel color. The company claims that the color is derived from burnt sugar and yucca extract.

See the article by Consumer Reports with all of the natural products with artificial ingredients, here.

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