natural, flavors, chemical, taste, water, drinking

The Myth of 'Natural' Flavors

Why the labels have a misleading health halo

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, style, and health stories.


THE GIST
Many foods and beverages such as popular sparkling waters have labels that tout natural flavors. But such designations can be misleading marketing.
EXPERT INSIGHT
Natural flavors are oils and essences that have been derived directly from plants, herbs, spices, or other foods. While the labeling might lead consumers to believe these are healthier ingredients, "they aren’t any better or worse for your diet than artificial flavors since both are calorie-free and don't contain macros," says Kristi King, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and senior dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Sparkling water with natural or artificial flavoring won't adversely affect your health, says King. Still, she recommends loading your shopping cart with whole foods and squeezing fruit into plain bubbly water.