Tag Archive: Enlarge this imageFrom remaining: Sodium benzoate

Feb 28

‘Ingredients’: An Eye-Opening Glimpse In the Additives Inside our Meals

Enlarge this imageFrom remaining: Sodium benzoate, azodicarbonamide, shellac. The photographs are from Elements: A visual Exploration of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products.Dwight Eschliman/Regan Artshide captiontoggle captionDwight Eschliman/Regan ArtsFrom left: Sodium benzoate, azodicarbonamide, shellac. The images are from Components: A visible Exploration of seventy five Additives & 25 Food Products.Dwight Eschliman/Regan ArtsWe may eat a lot of meals additives, Tyler Motte Jersey but most consumers know very little about them. These often misunderstood substances go by unwieldy names like “diacetyl” or “azodicarbonamide.” They are in everything from salad dre sings to Twinkies. But how many of us actually know what they glimpse like or, more important, what they’re doing inside our foodstuff? Ingredients A visual Exploration of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products by Dwight Eschliman and Steve Ettlinger Hardcover, 253 pages |purchaseclose overlayBuy Featured BookTitleIngredientsSubtitleA Visible Exploration of 75 Additives & 25 Food items ProductsAuthorDwight Eschliman and Steve EttlingerYour purchase helps support NPR programming. How?Amazon Independent Booksellers Elements, a new book by photographer Dwight Eschliman and writer Steve Ettlinger, seeks to demystify 75 common food additives, from acesulfame pota sium to xanthan gum, by providing an easy-to-read encyclopedia of sorts of various food additives, their uses and their history. Eschliman, who had to source each additive before he could photograph it, says that he was surprised by “just how thoroughly this world is full of white powders and clear liquids.” While we think of these additives as foreign, belonging to the realm of foodstuff scientists, Eschliman says most of them weren’t hard to track down for purchase. (Roughly 60 percent of them, he adds, came from chemical supply companies who got their additives from China.) He did run into one additive that was impo sible to get: high fructose corn syrup. He says multiple manufacturers refused to send a sample either to Eschliman or to a “completely legit” friend of his who works in the meals industry. It was the only moment in the proce s of creating the book that gave him pause.”If they’re running TV spots talking about how great high fructose corn syrup is, why won’t they give me any?” he says. He ended up having to reuse some from an earlier project, sent to him before critics started zeroing in on it as a major culprit in America’s obesity epidemic. Because it’s a cheap sugar, it ends up in lots of proce sed foods, especially beverages. Enlarge this imageHigh fructose corn syrupDwight Eschliman/Regan Artshide captiontoggle captionDwight Eschliman/Regan ArtsHigh fructose corn syrupDwight Eschliman/Regan ArtsWhile both authors say they’re firmly in the “eat more fruits and veggies, cut down on the proce sed foods” camp, this book is not an expose about dangerous additives. “Everybody wanted us to align very much with those on the soapbox talking about how bad the food items was,” Eschliman says. “I wanted to take some measures to prevent that.” His first step was specifically choosing additives that he could organize into three categories neutral, negative and positive to make sure the book didn’t lean too heavily in one direction. “It’s easy to talk about the ‘bad’ ones,” he says, “but no one is talking about chlorophyll or beta carotene.” Eschliman admits that he had initially placed monosodium glutamate — better known as MSG in Jay Beagle Jersey the “negative” pile. For decades the additive, popular in Asian cooking and other cuisines, has had a reputation for causing “Chinese restaurant syndrome” health woes including heart palpitations and other allergic reactions. But today, most scientists agree that this reputation is entirely unfounded. Or, as Eschliman put it, “it doesn’t cause every one of my headaches.” Monosodium glutamateDwight Eschliman/Regan Artshide captiontoggle captionDwight Eschliman/Regan ArtsGlutamate is a naturally occurring amino acid, and the same flavor enhancer that makes Parmesan cheese or tomato sauce so delicious. In the form of MSG, it’s just one of many white powders and clear liquids that have gotten a bad reputation because of a poor understanding of chemistry and public mistrust. Fueling that mistrust are concerns that the Food stuff and Drug Administration exercises too little oversight over the proce s by which companies add additives to meals. Though it’s technically a yellow powder, azodicarbonamide, or ADA, became famous last year after Vani Hari, the blogger and activist better known as Food stuff Babe, petitioned Subway to remove the “yoga mat chemical” from its bread. The production of ADA may cause asthmatic symptoms or skin irritation for the factory workers who make it, but as The Salt has reported, there’s no evidence ADA poses any risk to consumers who eat it. Enlarge this imageAcesulfame pota siumDwight Eschliman/Regan Artshide captiontoggle captionDwight Eschliman/Regan ArtsAcesulfame pota siumDwight Eschliman/Regan ArtsWhile it sounds a bit scary that the same additives that show up in rocket fuel, yoga mats, fertilizers, fire retardants and rust di solver could be in our chips and sandwiches, it doesn’t mean we are eating any of those things. Salt is made from sodium and chlorine and, as Ettlinger writes, “has an estimated 14,000 industrial uses.” Dihydrogen monoxide, also known as the nonthreatening water, has even more industrial applications. Yet no one has called water the “antifreeze chemical.” But not all outcries against food stuff additives are without merit. Sodium benzoate is one of the most commonly used preservatives in history found in everything from foods to pharmaceuticals to “whistling fireworks.” But, Ettlinger writes, “One place you will not find it is in Coke and Pepsi.” It used to be on the list of elements in both sodas until consumers discovered that when sodium benzoate combines with ascorbic acid it creates benzene, a known carcinogen. The FDA has said that the levels of benzene detected in sodas do not pose a safety concern. But, as Ettlinger writes, “the outcry was convincing enough for the manufacturers to switch to alternatives.” Ettlinger and Eschliman’s curiosity about additives comes through Anders Nilsson Jersey on every page. Each photo gives a rich sense of the additive’s color and texture, and the text regularly throws in additive trivia. Did you know that a lot of baking soda ends up in cattle feedlots to act as an antacid for grain-fed stomachs? Or that many fruits and vegetables are covered in a waxy preservative, shellac, that comes from an insect known as the “lac beetle”? It’s easy to be scared of these additives when we know so little about them. “As it happens, it doesn’t take much to understand,” Ettlinger says. The substances found in Campbell’s Chunky Cla sic Chicken Noodle Soup.Dwight Eschliman/Regan Artshide captiontoggle captionDwight Eschliman/Regan Arts

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