As the next wave of candy-filled holidays approach I want to send off a warning about vanillin. Do not be fooled by this imitation impostor!
One would think that an expensive chocolate would use only the best
ingredients - especially when they say so themselves. Don't, however, be
taken in by price. One of our members wrote to the prestigious Godiva
Chocolatiers to ask about their Easter Eggs. The company answered that
among other ingredients, their Easter Egg chocolates contain vanillin - an
extremely cheap artificial vanilla flavoring.
While real vanilla extract is made from the vanilla bean, Vanillin is a mixture of
several hundred different compounds in addition to vanillin, the artificial
flavoring is methyl vanillin or ethyl vanillin. It is made from Guaiacol,
which is an aromatic chemical made from wood creosote (present in smoke from
burning wood), from petroleum, or from lignin-containing waste products of
the paper pulp industry. Thus, the artificial flavoring has a much higher
percentage of a single chemical compound, as well as unknown contaminants
resulting from its source.
Whether the reactions seen by our members to the artificial vanillin is due
to the concentration of a single chemical in the flavoring, to the
contaminants, or to something else entirely, is unknown. Artificial
vanillin has also been shown in research to suppress certain liver enzymes
(Bamforth 1993), and according to Aoshima, 1997, it inhibits the GABA
receptor response, suggesting that it could modulate the neural transmission
in the brain.
The bottom line? When it comes to chocolate, don't confuse price with
* I am a member of the Feingold Organization and this is a small section of my latest newsletter.
Always look for real vanilla in anything you buy! And if you are dealing with a corn allergy, I hate to break it to you, but even real vanilla can be a problem. We use it in our baked goods w/o a problem, but many corn allergy sufferers cannot. The alcohol in commercial vanilla is derived from corn. Real vanilla beans is just fine though, if you want to add that to your drinks and ice creams, etc..... (we do that ourselves).