Is “Natural Flavors” an ingredient in your “healthy product”? it could be literally ANYTHING……

…..including “beaver butt”, or crushed bugs 🙁

Sorry about the shock value but it’s true, it could be either of these, or literally anything the product manufacturer can “sneak in” to your product . Let me digress a second.

I don’t drink soda anymore, I was drinking the incredibly great tasting Izze Soda, made from fruit juice, carbonated water, and a few other acceptable miscellaneous ingredients. However, it’s this miscellaneous ingredient called “natural flavor” on the label that has me obsessed.

I’m meticulous about the ingredients in all my food, and researching what this “natural flavor” thingie-gingie is seems to be taking me into a dark abyss…….and I have no idea how deep this rabbit hole goes.

I have been a big fan of Izze Soda (off an on) but it contains this mystery ingredient, called "natural flavors"…..

Ingredients of an Izze Product: Pure juice from apple, grape, pineapple, lemon, pomegranate, cranberry, and acerola juice concentrates, sparkling water, carrot juice (for color), blueberry juice (color), natural flavors

Izze's website (actually Pepsico, which Izze is now owned by) gives this definition: Natural Flavor: A natural flavor is a flavor that is derived from a natural substance such as a fruit or fruit juice, spice, vegetable or herb. The term natural flavor is defined by the FDA, and all of our natural flavors meet this definition.

This is what Title 21, Section 101, part 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations says:

”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.“

…thus, their definition goes beyond "plants and herbs" to seemingly allow for just about anything 🙁

Continuing on to see if someone has cracked this Izze mystery, someone wrote in another blog reply that:

"it could be anything including "castoreum", Castoreum is the dried perineal glands of the beaver contain castoreum — a food additive usually listed as ‘natural flavoring’ in the ingredient list. This food flavoring is extracted from the castor sac scent glands, located between the anus and genitalia, of male and female adult beavers. It has been used for over 80 years in both foods and beverages as a vanilla, raspberry and strawberry flavoring. The FDA says it’s GRAS, meaning it’s “generally recognized as safe.” You won’t see this one on the food label because it’s generally listed as “natural flavoring." ”

…I'm not accusing Izze of using castoreum as its natural flavor, I have been Izze's biggest supporter, one of the few acceptable mainstream drinks I recommend for those trying to break free of the Coke and Pepsi, but still enjoy their soda,  but there is such a red flag here that literally no one seems to know what that natural flavor in Izze actually is. And I'm more afraid of what I don't know than what I know.

I sometimes go by the "exclude" theory, in that, if you can't figure out what something is, then establish what it "isn't". What it "isn't" I'm sure is not a natural miracle plant, known to science for thousands of years for curing cancer, diabetes and so forth. How do I know that?  Cause for sure, if it were that miracle plant, they would be boldly professing that ingredient.

F.Y.I., a blog is a person's mind placed on "cyber canvas", and this is how my mind thinks, be it exaggerated or realistic, but I think a little paranoia is healthy……..

Have also read that crushed bugs are used as an artificial sweetener, don't know if true, maybe don't wanna know.

So for now, I can no longer recommend Izze in my blog, and if there are a few places I forgot to remove it, I did add this disclaimer about the “natural flavors”, and to drink at your own risk and discretion. My family and friends don't research much, which is understandable, they just do what I do.  Personally I’m gonna hold off on drinking Izze (for the fifth time) until I find out what the hell "natural flavor" is. But, the fact that absolutely no one on can give me an answer to me is a big warning flag.

…for the record, Taste Nirvana Coconut Water is now my non-alcoholic, almost everyday, drink of choice. Its really  better choice because I can mix it with other things such as teas to make different drinks, and since I'm drinking it almost everyday, I reap all the benefits of the magnesium and other many, many benefits of the coconut. And it has an "addictively great" taste, naturally sweet, nothing else in it, a true "natural flavor".

I’m pretty squeamish in some things, and if I were to find out that that natural flavor is secretions from the anus of a beaver, then I will probably have a response like Jim Carey in Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, when he realized he kissed a man, you know, bleaching out his mouth, showering with scalding hot shower, and all the rest.

……it makes me wanna “holla”, the way they try to deceive us with our food supply sometimes

~stay healthy~


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13 Responses


Thank you for an informative article.  It’s been over 20 years since I drank soda but your article sheds light on all “naturally favored products.”  My point is that when we know better we do better 🙂


Thanks for your comment. I’m out of cards to play, except making own, similar to the Izze recipe, sparkling water and juice (minus the beaver secretions of course).


It's really simple.  If it "might" be controversial, then it should be on the label by its specific name.  "Might" be controversial means ANY SUBSTANCE, because anyone, for any reason, may not want to ingest it.  To do otherwise is to INVITE suspicion, and there needen't be a conspiracy theory to understand why someone might want to hide something; because you might not like it and they might lose money.  It is really simple.  They don't really care if you drink it, as long as you buy it.  But you bought it because you thought it might be good to drink, right?  So you want to know what's in it?  Gee.


I kinda got lost in what you are trying to say here, I will have to go back and read again. But, if it is in opposition to the point I’m trying to make in my article, that’s cool.


I, too, am constantly stumped at this ingredient know vaguely as 'natural flavors'. Unfortunately for me, though, it has been a life changer. I was diagnosed with IBS and told to stay away from milk. To make a long story short, I went on a clean diet and if I don't ingest any milk products or 'natural flavors', viola! I don't have IBS. This makes me extra curious as to what this ingredient is that has made my life incredibly difficult for a long, long time. Staying away from it is trickier than avoiding clowns at a circus. It is in everything, almost literally, and most people don't give it a second glance. Thanks for blogging about it. 


Hi Edna,

I hope you IBS story is of some help to someone who runs past or Googles this page.

When you dig into the deep research, its actually kinda scary, because it “seems” Natural Flavors can be anything they want, as long as it comes from planet earth.

My problem with so many things I blog about is just what you said, these nemesis ingredients are in anything and everything……sigh 🙁

P.S. Don’t get mad if that “Clowns in a Circus” comment pops up in a future article…LOVE IT!!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

~stay healthy~


Thank you foryour information. This week, I drank a few Izzy's and everytime, I had a weird feeling in my head, like it was buzzing, but not in a good way. I will discontinue drinking Izzy.


IZZE WOULD NOT elaborate on what exactly their "Natural Flavoring" is… Saying only that their ingredients are proprietary and that is the extent of what they could tell me. With that written we stopped drinking IZZE Products today.


Hey Drew,

Right on with that, it is like an absolute mystery what is going on there. My philosophy is, if it were some healthy, healing superfood, they would be boasting on it and plastering their ingredients all over the place. I’m into Taste Nirvana Coconut Water and Suja Drinks, I left Izzy behind 2 years ago.

I simply don’t like (or trust) their attitude about the whole thing………

~stay healthy~

Doug at Gaia Health Blog



I was also curious about the “Natural Flavors” in Izzy’s. I went out on their website and did a little research. Yes, it does state that their flavors are trademark and they follow FDA guidelines. However if you read the question “Is Izzy’s Vegan?” They do state that Izzy’s Natural Flavors are not from any animal product.


Hi Kyla,

The thing about that Izze “Natural Flavors” is that they, nor anyone else, will tell the consumer what it really is. That is just an oblique red flag for me, cause if it were something super healthy or beneficial, it would be mentioned all over the bottle. I just like to know exactly what it is, plain and simple. That’s just how I think, when you always diving into what is in food products.

So far as the FDA, this is my opinion only, but FDA guidelines doesn’t mean a lot to me, there are so many loopholes and so many generalities with those FDA guidelines, that that doesn’t make a product safe. Looking at the point another way, almost all foods sold in the USA have to follow FDA guidelines, but it is also safe to say that most are not healthy.

I’m probably a paranoid person, but I don’t think that is a bad thing.

Thanks for reading and commenting

Doug Wallace at GAIA Health Blog




I am writing because I started researching Izze. I was buying it for my Grandchildren but I noticed I felt terrible after I drank it. I feel the same as others the so called natural flavors is a smoke screen that I will now avoid. Very tired of companies assuming The consumers are stupid. Such a shame could have been a great product.


Hi Peggy Csierny,

My centiments exactly on the “coild have been a great product” comment. It would have been by non alcoholic drink of choice, but with me, I have to know everything on the ingredients list, if I’m gonna be consume it constantly over the years.

I think I mentioned in that article that if the “natural sweeteners” was a very healthy sweetner, like dehydrated sweet cherries or whatever, for sure they would make note of that on the bottle.

In my research, a lot of other people seems to inquire to Izze about what the heck is this “natural seeetener” in specific terms, and it seems absolutely no one can get an answer.

So I’m done with Izze, I’m into Taste Nirvana brand Coconut Water now as my drink of choice.

Thanks for taking time to read and comment

Doug at GAIA Health Blog

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