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Artificial vs Natural. What difference does it make?

Emily Hurd | Aug 8 2021 | Tags: Health & Wellness

There is a lot of debate in the food industry about whether artificial ingredients are safe. Some people believe that natural ingredients are always better than artificial ones and that they always taste better too. Other people think that there's no difference at all. But what does science say? And how can you tell the difference between the two? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both types?

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What are natural ingredients?

Natural ingredients are ones that come from a plant or an animal. They might be processed (to remove water, for example), but the original product is still made up of things found in nature - which means that it can't contain anything not found in nature.

Ingredients like salt and sugar, as well as substances you might think of as artificial (like hydrogenated vegetable oil), are naturally occurring.

Natural ingredients may also include extracts from plants and animals, such as vanilla extract or honey. These will usually only have a small amount of the substance in them, but they're all-natural nonetheless! Anything that isn't made by man is classed as natural.

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So what's harmful about artificial ingredients?

Some people say that there is no difference between natural and artificial flavors, But that's just not true.  While some artificial flavors may be harmless, artificial sweeteners like aspartame and acesulfame potassium have been known to cause adverse side effects in people. They can sometimes lead to headaches or migraines.

They may also be linked with more serious conditions including nausea, dizziness, mood swings, and even seizures! You might hear that these are safe because they're 'considered GRAS' (Generally Recognized As Safe). But this doesn't mean that it is necessarily safe. It just means that the FDA has not found any evidence of safety issues yet.

Bottom Line

As this article has shown, there is a lot of debate on whether artificial ingredients are better than natural ones. However, when it comes to food, there are many reasons why the use of natural ingredients is more desirable.

Artificial ingredients can contain substances that may cause adverse side effects. Even if such substances are not directly harmful or dangerous, they may lead to other conditions that then need to be addressed. Natural ingredients do not contain any such harmful components and have been proven to be just as effective in terms of taste and flavor.

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Emily is the Director of Member Experience at SmoothieBox and loves creating new recipes to share with our smoothie community. She gets help and ideas from her two toddlers, especially if it involves our Green Super Smoothie. In her spare time she can be found outside with family.

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