Artificial flavors are chemicals that are added to grocery store foods and candies to enhance the taste. There are some artificial flavors that do have health effects on some sensitive individuals, but most of them have been shown to be safe.
The real issue with artificial flavors, for many people, is that they make decidedly unhealthy food taste as if it had nutritional value.
Artificial flavors are prevalent in most of the food you get at a grocery store. As an example of this, consider how many grape-flavored items in any given grocery store have actual grape flavor in them and how many have artificial flavors. The artificial flavors tend to be more intense and, to give them a harder punch, products that include them are oftentimes further altered with sweeteners, particularly corn syrup.
Artificial flavors don’t cause immediate health effects for most people. Some people, however, have reactions to particular flavors. Aspartame, a substitute for sugar, is particularly well-known as an artificial flavor that causes problems for many people. Among the artificial flavors with a lot of detractors is MSG. MSG is a flavor enhancer, not an artificial flavor proper, but it is associated with migraine headaches in some individuals. E120, the color red, can also cause severe hyperactivity in some children.
Avoiding artificial flavors can be very beneficial and can even help you find foods that are healthier. Many organic foods and foods that use only natural flavorings and ingredients often offer better taste, as well as more health benefits than artificial flavors.