It’s incredibly important to be wise and discerning about what you find on food and supplement labels. Advocates of transparency on labels have done well to push manufactures to be more honest with their ingredient lists, but we are far from getting every detail listed, and there are many reasons why. We can be at least thankful that flavors labeled “organic flavors” or “organic natural flavors” are more strictly regulated to contain almost entirely organic ingredients.
Even flavors that seem normal or natural can be a disguise for something you’d rather not put into your body. One such ingredient is castoreum, which is sourced from beaver anal glands. It’s used as a source for some vanilla, strawberry, or raspberry flavors. Technically, a natural source, but far from appealing!
And when it’s so common to find out yet another company or another product has mislead or confused their consumer, it’s normal to want to be very skeptical of anything that isn’t directly outlined on the label.
What are true natural flavors? According to the FDA, natural flavors are created from the substances extracted from plant or animal sources. This includes: herbs and spices, fruit, vegetables, yeast, bark, buds, or other plant material like leaves or roots, dairy, meats, fish, and eggs. Extraction of these flavors can include methods like heating, roasting, and enzymes. But despite the sources, the FDA has not defined the limitations of the term “natural flavors”. Meaning, it leaves loopholes for sourcing, blends and identification should the company choose to do so. For “natural flavor”, the origin must be from nature (plant or animal) but it may include “incidental additives” in combination. These additives could be different chemicals like preservatives, solvents, or other substances. What’s important to remember is that EVERYTHING in the world is composed of chemicals, even an organic, non-GMO apple is composed of chemicals. Water has chemical compound. So chemicals are not inherently bad or evil. What most health-conscious consumers want to be weary of is synthetic ingredients hidden in what they purchase. This is where artificial flavors are found to be problematic for many people.
For manufacturers, artificial flavors are often more cost effective and easier to control. For people who are vegetarian or vegan, some “natural flavors” on labels contain hidden animal sources they they want to avoid. They must go the extra step to verify that what they are purchases fits their ethical and/or dietary standards. And the same may be true for those with food allergies or sensitivities.
So what are the natural flavors in Protea?
We promise to keep our ingredient flavoring choices simple, honest, and delicious. But most importantly, safe and healthy. We believe that natural flavors should be just that, simply from nature. Chocolate flavor should be from the ingredients that make up chocolate, and this is what we use in our VePro. Same with our vanilla flavor VePro, simple and pure vanilla. Our Vegan Amino+ is flavored with true fruits and vegetables. The same is true for our GI Assist. Our products are sweetened with stevia leaf extract and monk fruit extract.
Our natural flavors are ALL vegan, soy-free sources! None of our ingredients contain gluten or wheat, however at this current time, we cannot verify a gluten free manufacturing environment. So we suggest our consumers do be aware of that should that be of concern to them.
But for even the most forthright companies, including Protea, we do have to keep specific blends or “recipes” private so that they aren’t copied by another company. Listing out exact flavor ingredient creates more possibility of that happening. Not all trade secrets are dubious. It is often left for the consumer to be diligent in their research of the company though. The more the consumer is concerned about ingredients, manufacturing practices, and business ethics, the more they must look into where they decide to spend their money. Not only does this promote the health of the consumer, but also push for more transparency and better business practices on the side of the company.
We believe that any company or brand creating health products should be held to the highest standards! As we hold ourselves accountable to safe, healthy ingredients, honest business practices, and maintaining the trust of our customers.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.