If you’re like me, the question: “What are you drinking right now?” can often be answered with: Tea.
But, do you know what is in your tea (or other beverage) of choice? I was shocked when I learned the information in this video by Dr. Katherine Reid.
As I dive deeper into the truths, myths and fallacies of ‘health foods’ I’m regularly disgusted by the ways that the food industry hides ingredients and tricks us to think we’re making good choices for our bodies.
Did you know that ‘natural flavors’ can be pretty much anything in a group of 80,000 different chemicals?
The exact definition of natural flavors from the Code of Federal Regulations is as follows:
“The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”
At what point in all that processing of the thing to be an extract of the thing is it no longer ‘natural’? Does it even contain any of the benefits or properties of that original ingredient?
In this video, Dr. Reid talks about ‘Free glutamates’, but what exactly is a FREE glutamate?
Glutamate itself is actually needed in the human body. It is a normal part of what makes up a protein and is vital to brain and nervous system functionality. However, our bodies know how to break down the proteins that we eat during digestion, and use glutamate in a slow-release kind of way that carefully manages how much we get in our system at once.
Free Glutamate is the molecule that comes from proteins in our food when they’ve already been broken down — pre-ingestion. It can be elevated when proteins are processed, over cooked, or otherwise broken down before entering your body.
Why is that a problem? And why should I care?
Glutamate is a chemical signal for our nervous system. If consumed in excess, the signals could be completely over activated and desynchronized leading to experiences such as: mood swings, inflammation, digestive challenges, and even things as serious as the traits of Austism and degenerative brain dis-ease.
Now, do you see how ‘natural flavors’ can be so harmful?
Knowing this, you might start to understand why I get so riled up about food, proteins and how we cook & eat. There are so many hidden places that free glutamates and other crap are hidden in seemingly healthy food as ‘natural flavors’.
I mean, really… why should tea be anything other than… tea?
The one that really always gets me is the ‘natural flavor’ added to butter. Once again, why should butter be anything but cream (or cream + salt?)
So, I invite you to ask yourself this question:
“Self, how well do I actually know what it is I’m eating?”