Dr. Oz: Artificial Flavoring
Dr. Oz said that the reason you’re over-snacking could be because of artificial flavors. According to him, some taste combinations that aren’t found in nature are altering the brain’s response and your emotions, causing you to eat more and more.
He talked to Mark Schatzker, author of The Dorito Effect, who says that chemists look at real food like grapes, lemons, roast chicken, and so on and analyze the factors that make them taste the way they taste. They produce these as chemicals and add them to whatever they want, like chips and sodas.
According to Mark, this technology started in the early 1960s and the first spike of the obesity epidemic started in the late 1970s. He also said that when you see “natural flavors” on boxes, it doesn’t actually mean natural. Chemically speaking, they’re virtually identical, according to Mark.
Dr. Oz: Are Artifical Flavors Nutritional Lies?
Mark said that the first Doritos were just salted tortilla chips and they didn’t sell that well. It wasn’t until they flavored them as taco and later nacho cheese that they became popular with consumers.
Mark said studies show the reason why we like tomatoes is because the flavors we love are connected to important nutrients. These scientists are taking those flavors away from the nutrients and putting them in something else. This creates what Mark calls a “nutritional lie,” making a food “more delicious than it deserves to be.”
Dr. Oz: Are Artificial Flavorings Causing Obesity?
One of the issues with this, according to Mark, is that these create intense cravings in food addicts that were never meant to happen in nature. And when the food addicts get the food, they’re let down because the food doesn’t actually meet the cravings. This leads to overeating and obesity.
Mark said that people living a healthy lifestyle and eating real food all the time probably get more enjoyment from their food.
Dr. Oz asked his audience to smell two different vanilla extracts, one using real flavoring and the other using artificial flavoring. 54 percent thought that the artificial vanilla was real and 46 percent got it right.
Dr. Oz: Real Flavor Vs. Artificial Flavor
It’s getting harder to tell real flavor from artificial flavor for the consumer. “Natural flavors” on the label can actually mean “artificial flavoring” and even some raw chicken is being sold with artificial flavors added.
Mark advised looking at the food label to avoid the phrases “artificial flavors” and “natural flavors.” At restaurants, it’s even more tricky. He said if a chain restaurant has food that tastes the same everyone, it’s probably using artificial flavoring.
It’s important to point out here that artificial flavoring isn’t dangerous and it has been tested as safe for years. But Mark argues that these flavors cause us to eat too much. And obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death and the first leading cause of preventable disease. Eating too much is our biggest problem here.
Dr. Oz: Do Organic Foods Use Artificial Flavoring?
Organic foods aren’t immune from this problem. According to Mark, organic snacks still feature these synthetic flavorings. He also said that a real organic tomato “tastes like cardboard.”
Dr. Oz: Causes of Obesity
Dr. Oz reached out to the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association and it said, in part, “Many scientific studies have shown that the causes of obesity are complex and include food access as well as multiple genetic, biological, and social factors.”
Mark said that it is a complex issue, but everyone should know about this so they can make informed decisions about maintaining or losing weight.