Filed under: Food + Health | Tags: Ammonium bicarbonate, Dulse, mystery ingredients, TBHQ
If you are what you eat, then this morning I was a mixture of 38 different ingredients. Between a cup of Odwalla Original Superfood and a Fiber One brown sugar cinnamon toaster pastry I can identify 32 ingredients – a pretty good number, but what are those other 6 mystery ingredients? Inspired by Twinkie, Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger, I decided find out about some of the ingredients I couldn’t identify.
So what is Nova Scotia Dulse? Dulse is a protein rich red alga that contains lots of vitamins and minerals. Ammonium bicarbonate? I’d seen it listed in lots of nutritional information, but until I actually looked it up I had no clue what it was used for (a raising agent in baking, similar to baking soda, in case you were wondering).
How about TBHQ ‘added to preserve freshness’? TBHQ (tert-butylhydroquinone to be exact) is the type of thing my organic chemistry teacher would have put on a final to throw everyone off. This aromatic organic compound is used as a preservative because it stabilizes fats without causing discoloration or changing flavors. The verdict is still out on positive and negative effects of the compound, but at lest I understand why it’s in my toaster pastry.
Just because you can’t pronounce it or don’t quite know what it is, doesn’t make it bad for you. That complex chemical could be a great source of important vitamins and minerals. So next time you’re at the market, take note of some of those ‘mystery ingredients’ and look them up when you get home. You may be surprised with what you learn, especially if you are what you eat.
Image from http://pppea.s16.xrea.com
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