Moses Annenberg
All posts from Moses Annenberg
Moses Annenberg in The Greatest Power is Political Power,

Here's A Closer Look At The 34 Ingredients In A Cool Ranch Dorito

How many foods have an ingredient called “blue”?

final gather / Via Flickr: 23629083@N03

Most processed foods contain a long list of additives — but have you ever wondered what they would really look like if you broke down a food into its component ingredients? How blue is Blue No 1? What form does pure riboflavin take?

A new book, Ingredients: A Visual Exploration of 75 Additives and 25 Food Products, separates each of the ingredients that make up some of our favorite snacks, and explains what these additives really are.

Here, for example, are the 34 ingredients that make up a Cool Ranch Dorito:

01 Corn
Vegetable Oil:
02 Corn oil; 03 Canola oil; 04 and/or Sunflower Oil;
05 Maltodextrin (made from corn); 06 Salt; 07 Tomato powder; 08 Cornstarch; 09 Lactose; 10 Whey; 11 Skim milk; 12 Corn syrup solids; 13 Onion powder; 14 Sugar; 15 Garlic powder; 16 Monosodium glutamate
Cheddar Cheese:
17 Milk; 18 Cheese cultures; 19 Salt; 20 Enzymes; 21 Dextrose; 22 Malic acid; 23 Buttermilk; 24 Natural flavor; 25 Artificial flavor; 26 Sodium acetate
Artificial color including:
27 Red No. 40; 28 Blue No. 1; 29 Yellow No.5;
30 Sodium caseinate; 31 Spices; 32 Citric acid; 33 Disodium inosinate; 34 Disodium guanylate

Dwight Eschliman / Via Ingredients: A Visual Exploration of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products

"The idea that everything with a long chemical name is definitely bad for you is just plain stupid,"

Additives are used "for at least one of four reasons: to make the food product more nutritious, to make it easier to prepare, to make it more appealing, or to make it stay fresh longer." Most of the time, the goal is to makes foods more cost efficient.

For instance, azodicarbonamide (ADA), or the so-called "yoga mat chemical" found in breads, "gives strength to dough and makes baked goods lighter because it helps with gas retention," Ingredients explains. Yet "technically speaking, you are never actually eating ADA; once it hits the moisture in dough, it converts into harmless biurea, an organic water-insoluble chemical compound that passes through your body without effect."

View Entire List ›