Once I completely overhauled my diet due to Lyme Disease/SIB, I started reading food labels very closely. You’ve no doubt heard the advice before: if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, you shouldn’t be eating it. Further, if you don’t have a clear listing of the ingredients and they don’t seem to represent real food, you probably shouldn’t be consuming it, either. Sadly, this admonition applies to herbal tea as well.
Have you ever taken a sip of your favorite herbal tea and felt it tasted unusually sweet? Then, you looked at the ingredient list and noticed “natural flavors.” Have you ever wondered what that means? We often assume anything claiming it’s natural is good for us. I know that’s what I assumed. Instead of believing natural is close to organic, this should potentially be a reason for more investigation because the government has given lots of leeway as to what actually comprises natural flavors. Currently, the FDA approves of the use of this term.
Both natural and artificial flavors are synthesized in laboratories, but artificial flavors come from petroleum and other inedible substances, while “natural flavor” can refer to anything that comes from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf—yes, we’re still going—meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or anything fermented from those foods, according to Food and Drug Administration spokesperson Deborah Kotz.
You would think herbal teas would be among the safest beverages to drink. I was pretty surprised to learn most herbal teas in the marketplace today do have natural flavoring. This is just one more area for the consumer to exercise awareness. I am not telling you to ditch your favorite herbal teas but if you are really trying to work on your health, just be aware you may be consuming unwanted additives. You truly want to drink to your health!
Please take a look at the following sources for more information: