“Natural Raspberry Flavor” is made from Raspberries, Right?

Next time you read the label of your favorite ice cream, yogurt, or syrup, take note of the phrase:

Natural raspberry flavor.

We can assume that raspberries were used to flavor our snack, right? It said "natural raspberry flavor". While people try to avoid artificial flavors in their food, they look for the key phrase "natural" because "natural" is not artificial. While the flavor is natural, what you may not realize is "natural raspberry flavor" is most likely derived from corn. Michael Pollan writes in Omnivore’s Dilemma, "So instead of creating foods from synthetic materials, the industry is building them from fortified apple-bits, red-wine extract, flavor fractions derived from oranges, isoflavones from soy, meat substitutes fashioned from mycoprotien, and resistant starches derived from corn."

In other words, natural raspberry flavor doesn't mean the flavor came from a raspberry; it may well have been derived from corn, just not from something synthetic. If you have a sensitivity towards corn you should be suspicious of labels stating, "Natural flavor."

In my article, Why Do We Feed Corn to Cows? I quote Michael Pollan as to why corn is fed to cows,

"Its chief advantage is that corn fed cows, a compact source of caloric energy get to fat quickly." The same is true for humans. When we eat corn, it is a compact source of caloric energy which becomes fat quickly. While many of my clients understand to reduce or eliminate corn from their diet, they are shocked to learn, they need to be cautious with “natural flavors”.

What are you to do?

Understand that "raspberry natural flavor" does not mean the flavor was derived from a raspberry. "Natural flavor" just means it was not something synthetic. It was most likely made from corn. If you are trying to release body fat or if you have a corn sensitivity/intolerance, you will want to be cautious eating any products that advertise "natural flavor."


Steven Zahn

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Pre and Post Partum Certified

Dragondoor Publications: HKC Russian Kettlebell Certified

Email: szahn@lifetimefitness.com