Natural vanilla flavor is unhealthy

Vanilla and vanillin are not the same

Flavors are used not only in industrial food production, but also in private households, for example vanilla flavors when baking cakes and Christmas cookies.

It is worth taking a closer look at foods that taste like vanilla. The list of ingredients reveals the type of flavor:



  • "Vanilla" is a spice, not a flavor. In ground form, it is used, for example, in baked goods and confectionery. If you want to make sure that the taste comes exclusively from the vanilla, you should check the list of ingredients. In addition to the often heavily advertised “real vanilla”, there are often flavors in the product that make a significant contribution to the flavor.
  • "Vanilla extract"belongs to the natural aromas. It is obtained entirely from the vanilla pod and contains the same spectrum of flavoring substances as the pod.
  • "Natural vanilla flavor" at least 95 percent comes from vanilla.
  • "Natural Aroma" does not come from vanilla, but from various other natural raw materials.
  • "Aroma" is probably artificial, i.e. manufactured chemically and synthetically. If it were to come from natural sources, it can be assumed that manufacturers advertise it as such.

Vanillin usually does not come from vanilla

“Vanilla sugar” is standard on the baking ingredient shelf because it is inexpensive and often available in packs of ten. However, vanilla sugar is not the same as "vanilla sugar". The slight difference in the designation stands for a greater difference in quality and price.

Vanilla sugar consists of sugar and the individual flavoring substance vanillin. Vanillin is the main component of the typical aroma of the vanilla pod. In addition to vanillin, the aroma of vanilla contains a wide range of other aromatic substances.

Vanillin can be man-made or come from natural sources. The natural source does not necessarily have to be a food and certainly not the vanilla pod. For example, vanillin is produced from sugar beet pulp with the help of microorganisms, which is much cheaper than making it from real vanilla. It can then be described as a "natural flavoring agent vanillin". But if the list of ingredients only says "Aroma Vanillin", this speaks more for artificially produced vanillin.

vanilla sugar gets its taste from the vanilla pod, either in the form of the ground "vanilla pod", the capsule fruits of the vanilla, partially supplemented by vanilla extract obtained from the pod or natural vanilla flavor.

Vanilla sugar can also be made entirely with vanilla extract without the vanilla pod. As far as we know, such products are rarely found in stores.

“Black dots” in the vanilla sugar are not always a sign that the taste comes from the ground vanilla pod. In some cases, manufacturers also use "ground extracted vanilla pods", i.e. those after the aroma has been extracted from them. Since these are almost tasteless, the taste here comes from additional vanilla extract or natural vanilla flavor. This must be stated in the list of ingredients.

Vanillaand similar art terms are not defined under food law and say nothing about whether real vanilla was used or not.

By the way: The much touted “Bourbon Vanilla” should come from the so-called vanilla islands. These include Madagascar, the Comoros, La Réunion, the Seychelles and Mauritius.