A chemical substance added to food usually to simulate a natural flavor. Artificial flavors are used when they are cheaper than natural flavors, or easier to produce. For instance, for artifical fruit flavors like grape, you can synthesize them in a lab and they're the same each time, and not dependent on the harvest or the growing conditions of the grapes.

Usually artificial flavors mimic the one or two most significant compounds of the natural flavor. The result is something which is almost, but not quite, the original flavor of whatever you're trying to imitate. The extreme is some candies or gums which are, say "berry flavored" without getting specific about what berries, exactly, they're supposed to taste like.

Artificial flavors are linked to hyperactivity in children by some--hence the Feingold diet. They just make me nauseous with few exceptions (those are citrus flavors and cinnamon in small amounts.)

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