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Chemistry in the kitchen

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    Chemicals of Life

    Currently, there are 92 known natural elements, 25 of which are essential for life, but only four (oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen) make up 96% of all living matter termed “building blocks of life”

    Oxygen (65%) and Hydrogen (10%) are predominantly found in water, which makes up about 60 percent of the body by weight. It’s
    practically impossible to imagine life without water.
    Carbon (18%) is synonymous with life. Its central role is due to the fact that it has four bonding sites that allow for the building of long, complex chains of molecules. Moreover, carbon bonds can be formed and broken with a modest amount of energy, allowing for the dynamic organic chemistry that goes on in our cells.

    Nitrogen (3%) is found in many organic molecules, including the amino acids that make up proteins, and the nucleic acids that make up DNA.

    The remaining elements are defined as trace elements, which are needed in small quantities, and are usually required by specific proteins to function.

    * trace elements-is a chemical element that is needed in minute quantities for the proper growth, development, and physiology of the organism.


    A fertilizer is a substance, be it synthetic or organic, which is added to the soil in order to increase the supply of essential nutrients that boost the growth of plants and vegetation in that soil.

    Chemicals present in fertilizers

    Fertilizers contain ingredients that plants need to grow. The three main elements in fertilizers are:
    1. Nitrogen
    2. Phosporous

    3. Potassium

    The sources of nitrogen used in fertilizers are many, including ammonia (NH3), diammonium phosphate ((NH4)2HPO4), ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3), ammonium sulfate ((NH4)2SO4), calcium cyanamide (CaCN2), calcium nitrate (Ca(NO3)2), sodiumnitrate (NaNO3), and urea (N2H4CO). Phosphorus is generally supplied as a phosphate, such as diammoniumphosphate ((NH4)2HPO4)
    or calcium dihydrogen phosphate (Ca(H2PO4)2). Potassium comes from potassium sulfate (K2SO4) or potassium chloride (KCl), which is also called muriate of potash.

    Fertilizers and their problems

    * Depletes the Quality of the Soil
    Though this may sound ironic to you, the fact is that using too much of fertilizers in the soil can alter the fertility of the soil by increasing the acid levels in the soil. Which is why it is recommended to get a soil test done at least once in every 3 years so that you can keep a track whether or not you are using the right amount of fertilizers

    * Alters the Biology of Water Bodies

    Fertilizers contain substances like nitrates and phosphates that are flooded into lakes and oceans through rains and sewage. These substances prove to become toxic for the aquatic life, thereby, increasing the excessive growth of algae in the water bodies and decreasing the levels of oxygen. This leads to a toxic environment and leads to death of fish and other aquatic fauna and flora..

    * Affects on Human Health

    The nitrogen and other chemicals present in the fertilizers can also affect the ground waters and waters that are used for the purpose of drinking! One of the most common results for this can be the development of blue baby syndrome which occurs in infants whose skin tissues are low in oxygen, which is why their skin appears to be blue or purplish in color.

    * Climate Changes Across the Globe

    Fertilizers consists of substances and chemicals like methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and nitrogen, the emission of which has contributed to a great extent in the quantity of greenhouse gases present in the environment.

    Soil pH

    pH in Soil

    is a measure of the acidity or basicity in soils
    is defined as the negative logarithm (base 10) of the activity of hydronium ions (H+ or, more precisely, H3O+aq) in a solution. It ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. A pH below 7 is acidic and above 7 is basic.

    is considered a master variable in soils as it controls many chemical processes that take place * specifically affects plant nutrient availability by controlling the chemical forms of the nutrient

    Role of pH in Soil:
    * because soil solution carries in nutrients such as Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K), and Phosphorus (P) that plants need in specific amounts to grow, thrive, and fight off diseases. If the pH of the soil solution is increased above 5.5, Nitrogen is made available to plants. Phosphorus, on the other hand, is available to plants when soil pH is between 6.0 and 7.0.

    * pH can affect the availability of nutrients in the soil
    * pH can influence the growth of plant by its effect on activity of
    beneficial microorganisms

    Hunger Problems

    Hunger is

    the uneasy or painful sensation caused by want of food; craving appetite. Also the exhausted condition caused by want of food

    the want or scarcity of food in a country

    a strong desire or craving

    (Oxford English Dictionary 1971)

    Children and hunger

    Children are the most visible victims of undernutrition. Children who are poorly nourished suffer up to 160 days of illness each year. Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year–five million deaths. Undernutrition magnifies the effect of every disease, including measles and malaria.

    Geographically, more than 70 percent of malnourished children live in Asia, 26 percent in Africa and 4 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Causes of Hunger

    Poverty is the principal cause of hunger.
    -the causes of poverty include poor people’s lack of resources, an extremely unequal income distribution in the world and within specific countries, conflict, and hunger itself.

    Harmful economic systems are the principal cause of poverty and hunger.
    – the principal underlying cause of poverty and hunger is the ordinary operation of the economic and political systems in the world. Essentially control over resources and income is based on military, political and economic power that typically ends up in the hands of a minority, who live well, while those at the bottom barely survive,

    Hunger is also a cause of poverty, and thus of hunger.
    – by causing poor health, low levels of energy, and even mental impairment, hunger can lead to even greater poverty by reducing people’s ability to work and learn, thus leading to even greater hunger

    Climate change
    -Climate change is increasingly viewed as a current and future cause of hunger and poverty. Increasing drought, flooding, and changing climatic patterns requiring a shift in crops and farming practices that may not be easily accomplished are three key issues.

    How to alleviate the hunger problem in a community

    Provide food in emergencies

    Support small farmers

    Give children vital nutrition

    Empower women and girls

    Support local food market

    Educate people
    Solving Hunger builds a safer, more secure World!

    2. Cooking

    There is only a change of state.

    The new substance has the same properties as the old one.

    No new substance(s) are produced

    Chopping a carrot

    Ice melting to water

    Paper cut into pieces is still a paper.
    *in all of these changes, you can get the materials back!*

    Chemical Change

    One or more new substances are created.

    The new substance is different from the original.

    It has properties that are different than those of the starting materials. Plus you cannot easily get the original materials back easily.

    Effects of Cooking

    Cooking makes food easy to digest
    -when food is cooked it becomes soft and easy to chew and swallow. The juices that digest food are able to mix well with this softened food and carry out the job of digestion.

    Cooking improves the appearance, texture, colour, flavour, and taste of food

    Cooking of food adds variety to the our meals

    Cooking helps to keep food longer

    Cooking makes food safe


    Cooking is the art or practice of preparing food for consumption with the use of heat.
    Cooking is chemistry
    Cooking is a sense of applying heat to chemicaly transform a food to change flavor, texture, appearance or nutritional feature.

    Methods of Cooking


    -deep frying & shallow frying


    Microwave Cooking


    In baking method of cooking, the food is cooked using convection heating.
    (the food is put into an enclosed area where heat is applied and the movement of heat within the confined space, acts on the food that make it get cooked.)

    Baking is not usually thought of as a chemical industry, but it relies on the interactions of the various chemicals in flour and the other substances used and thus is chemically
    based. Usually the properties of the various
    ingredients are known to the home cook, but
    not why they behave in that way.

    Common Ingredients in Baking

    Flour -this provides most of the bulk of the baked item. For bread baking, the flour should be a wheat flour which is high in gluten (protein) as this is the substance that gives bread its fine texture and supports the ingredients during rising

    Yeast – is a plant that feeds on starch and sugars, releasing CO2, alcohol and sugar. The CO2 bubbles give the dough a light, airy texture.
    Fat -gives a softer texture and helps prevent the CO2 bubbles from escaping from the mixture too soon
    Sugar -provides a direct food source for the yeast, improving its action.
    Vitamin C -also shortens the time needed for dough to “mature”.

    Baking soda -releases CO2 according to the equation
    NaHCO3 → Na2CO3 + CO2 + H2O
    however, as this also produces a strong base, Na2CO3, which
    has to be neutralised, baking powder is usually used instead.

    Baking powder -is baking soda with acid added. This
    neutralises the base and produces more CO2 according to the
    following equation: NaHCO3 + H + → Na + + H2O + CO2
    Egg -beaten egg white, like fat, helps to retain gas bubbles, while egg alone acts as a binder.
    Salt -adds flavour, and strengthens soft fat and sugar mixtures.

    Chocolate chip cookie

    Next comes actually putting the cookies in the oven. So what happens to all the ingredients once they start heating up? Well, the sugar breaks down into two components: glucose and fructose. These pieces form a polymer chain that creates the brown hardening on the outside of the cookie. Another key ingredient is the baking soda (bicarbonate). In simpler terms, the heating of the baking soda causes a chemical reaction. This makes sure that the gas (C02) that’s formed makes “bubbles” in the cookies.


    Chocolate is a food typically associated with pleasure and
    indulgence. It is a sugary food, high in fat and energy, which should be consumed in moderation.

    Current research shows that flavanols in chocolates are effective in:
    -lowering blood pressure
    -lowering cholesterollifting depression
    -provides anti-aging effects
    -gain weight
    -improve digestion and elimination

    -improve bowel function
    -alleviate effects of anemia
    -reduce fever
    -increase breast milk production
    -help pass kidney stones
    -helps to energize
    -increases sexual drive


    Shallow Frying
    -In shallow frying, food is cooked in a frying pan with a little amount of oil or fat. The oil or fat is heated to the correct amount and the food is put into the heated oil. The food is turned over a few minutes or is stirred around a couple of times before it is cooked and dished out.

    Deep Frying
    -This is when a lot of oil or fat is used in cooking the food. The oil or fat is usually put into a deep pan and is heated to boiling point. Food is then put into the hot boiling oil and is cooked in that way.


    French fries, fried chicken, and other traditional fried dishes can be notorious trans-fat and high-cholesterol foods. “Instead of deep frying, try pan frying or sautéing,” says Kim Kircherr, RD, a dietitian for JewelOsco supermarkets in Illinois. You’re at greater risk for high blood cholesterol
    and heart disease if you eat a diet that often includes deep-fried or breaded foods, which are high in fat. Diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol tend to raise total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Foods that are fried or breaded tend to be very high in fat because they are cooked in fat. When you fry foods, such as chicken, that already contain saturated fat, you simply add more fat to them.


    is the use of radiant heat for cooking
    typically this is done in an electric oven, using only the upper heating element, with the door partially open.
    Broiling is used to retain the juices of meat while developing flavor. Broiling does not soften the fibers of tough meat. It is best used for tender meat, including poultry.
    Broiling is not the most economical way of cooking, and the browning of meat can create carcinogenic (albeit tasty) chemicals.


    Red meat contains high biological value protein and important micronutrients that are needed for good health throughout life. It also contains a range of fats, including essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, vitamines, choline, trans fat and minerals.

    the nutritional composition will vary somewhat according to breed, feeding regimen, season and meat cut, in general lean red meat has a low fat content, is moderate in cholesterol and rich in protein and many essential vitamins and minerals.


    A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer.
    Cooking food at high temperatures, for example grilling or
    barbecuing meats, can lead to the formation of minute quantities of many potent carcinogens that are comparable to those found in cigarette smoke (i.e., benzo[a]pyrene).
    Many substances have been identified as carcinogenic. Some
    commonly known carcinogens include asbestos, radon, certain
    pesticides, arsenic, and tobacco smoke.
    One major carcinogen originates from something vital to life. The sun emits ultraviolet rays that are carcinogenic. Ultraviolet radiation is known to lead to a variety of cancers affecting the skin.

    In some cases, substances that are helpful to man are also
    carcinogenic. Chlorine is one such carcinogen. Chlorine is helpful for disinfecting water for bathing, drinking, and swimming. At the same time, its byproducts are capable of causing a range of
    illnesses, including lung cancer.

    Microwave cooking

    is cooking food in a microwave oven. It is often quicker and more convenient than equivalent methods such as boiling or baking. Many vegetables, for example, can be microwaved instead of boiled or steamed.


    the waves that the microwave oven releases usually destroys the vitamins and minerals found in most fresh foods
    it does not cook to perfection any dish but merely warms it up to the degree you desire.
    can at times destroy some taste and flavor in some dishes and if not careful it will burn

    It cannot be used in deep fry.

    Only specially made microwave bowls should be used.

    Some studies had proved that microwaved food is hazardous to your health causing diseases and increasing the risk of causing cancers.


    anyone can cook in a microwave because it does not have a flame and therefore it cannot make a live fire
    Microwave cooking is fast and easy therefore most of us use it on a regular basis when we want to make a quick breakfast, lunch or diner without any mess of wasting any time of cooking the traditional way.

    A multipurpose kitchen appliance

    Heating frozen foods through microwave oven takes less time

    It reduces the consumption of oil, thereby allows prepare low fat food

    Food Preservation and

    What is food spoilage?
    – Food spoilage means the original nutritional value, texture, flavor of the food are damaged, the food become harmful to
    people and unsuitable to eat.

    Harvested foods decompose from the moment they are
    harvested due to attacks from enzymes, oxidation and
    microorganisms. These include bacteria, mold, and yeast.
    There are three types of microorganisms that cause food




    Yeasts growth causes fermentation which is the result of yeast metabolism.

    There are two types of yeasts true yeast and false yeast.
    True yeast metabolizes sugar producing alcohol and carbon
    dioxide gas. This is known as fermentation.
    False yeast grows as a dry film on a food surface, such as on pickle brine. False yeast occurs in foods that have a high sugar or high acid environment.

    Molds grow in filaments forming a tough mass which is visible as

    `mold growth’. Molds form spores which, when dry, float through the air to find suitable conditions where they can start the growth cycle again. ●

    Mold can cause illness, especially if the person is allergic to molds. Usually though, the main symptoms from eating moldy food will be nausea or vomiting from the bad taste and smell of the moldy food. Both yeasts and molds can thrive in high acid foods like fruit, tomatoes, jams, jellies and pickles. Both are easily destroyed by heat. Processing high acid foods at a temperature of 100°C (212°F) in a boiling water canner for the appropriate length of time destroys yeasts and molds.

    Bacteria are round, rod or spiral shaped microorganisms. Bacteria

    may grow under a wide variety of conditions. There are many types of bacteria that cause spoilage.

    They can be divided into: spore-forming and nonspore-forming.

    Bacteria generally prefer low acid foods like vegetables and meat.

    In order to destroy bacteria spores in a relatively short period of time, low acid foods must be processed for the appropriate length of time at 116°C (240°F) in a pressure canner. (Temperatures higher than 100°C [212°F] can be obtained only by pressure canning.) * Eating spoiled food caused by bacteria can cause food poisoning.


    is a rare but serious illness caused by Clostridium botulinum bacteria.

    The bacteria may enter the body through wounds, or they may live in improperly canned or preserved food.

    Clostridium botulinum is found in soil and untreated water throughout the world. It produces spores that survive in improperly preserved or canned food, where they produce toxin.
    when eaten, even tiny amounts of this toxin can lead to severe poisoning.

    The foods most commonly contaminated are home-canned vegetables, cured pork
    and ham, smoked or raw fish, and honey or corn syrup. Botulism may also occur if the bacteria enter open wounds and produce toxins there.

    Infant botulism occurs when a baby eats spores and the bacteria grow in the baby’s gastrointestinal tract. The most common cause of infant botulism is eating honey or corn syrup.
    Clostridium botulinum can be found normally in the stool of some infants.
    About 110 cases of botulism occur in the U.S. per year. Most of the cases are in infants.

    Signs of Botulism
    -Symptoms usually appear 8 – 36 hours after you eat contaminated food. There is NO fever with this infection.
    In adults, symptoms may include:

    Abdominal cramps * Breathing difficulty that may lead to respiratory failure

    Difficulty swallowing and speaking * Double vision



    Weakness with paralysis (equal on both sides of the body)

    Symptoms in infants may include:



    Poor feeding and weak sucking

    Respiratory distress

    Weak cry

    Weakness, loss of muscle tone

    Other Effects of Toxins in Certain Food.

    Natural toxins in food can cause both acute and chronic health effects with a range of clinical symptoms.
    Acute symptoms range from mild gastrointestinal upset, neurological symptoms, respiratory paralysis to fatality.
    Within hours if not shorter, acute symptoms are seen following ingestion of various marine toxins in shellfish and other seafood.
    Acute poisoning is also seen in the consumption of wild mushrooms or inadequately treated plants such as ginkgo seeds and bitter apricot seeds.

    Chronic toxicity is seen more often in poisoning caused by plants toxins such as many alkaloids.
    Pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are present in weeds in crops and in certain plants may cause toxicity to the liver over prolonged consumption. The amount of food that would cause toxic effects depends on the toxin level present as well as individual susceptibility.

    General Methods of Food

    The aim of preserving is to slow down the activity of microorganisms and enzymes or destroy them altogether; they cannot survive in acidic or dry conditions, in high concentrations of salt and sugar, in alcohol, or in high temperatures. A preserve will often employ different techniques, for example jams combine heat with a high concentration of sugar.

    1. Freeze

    The colder a food is, the slower its rate of deterioration. Bacterial action
    reduces with refrigeration, whilefreezing stops it altogether; enzyme activity, however, is only slowed down. Vegetables must be blanched in boiling water first to destroy enzymes and microorganisms, while herbs can be mixed with oil and fruit should be sprinkled with sugar to limit enzyme activity while frozen.

    Freezing herbs

    Herbs in water can be frozen in ice cube trays

    Once frozen food is thawed, the enzyme and microorganism activity accelerates again
    If food is frozen to 0°F (-18°C), microorganisms can’t function

    2. Heat

    Boiling or blanching food at high temperatures destroys all enzyme activity and almost all microorganisms. The more acidic the food, such as fruit, the more easily microorganisms are destroyed by heat. Boiled preserves must be sealed in airless conditions (e.g. airtight jars) to prolong their shelf life.

    Boiling to make fruit preserves

    Most bacteria will be killed at 212°F (100°C), the boiling point of water

    Can preserves while still hot to maintain the benefits of boiling

    Enzymes start to be destroyed above 140°F (60°C)

    3. Use strong concentrations

    Alcohol, acid, and salt and sugar in high concentrations all create environments that prevent the growth of microorganisms or, in the case of alcohol, destroy them completely. Naturally acidic fruit is usually preserved in a concentrated sugar solution or alcohol. Vegetables, which are more alkaline, are preserved in acidic vinegar or a salt solution, or a combination of both.

    Pickling in vinegar
    -The acid in vinegar stops food from spoiling
    Fermenting alcohol
    -Yeasts can ferment and spoil foods but they can also be harnessed to preserve fruit juices by converting them into an alcoholic concentration.

    4. Exclude air
    A seal of fat or oil can prevent any airborne microorganisms from coming into contact with food and spoiling it. It also starves aerobic bacteria present in food of oxygen, which it requires to survive and increase. Heat processing jars and bottles of preserves prolongs shelf life by forcing air to escape as steam to leave a sterile vacuum.

    Heat processing bottled produce

    Air escapes from partially sealed containers as they are boiled in water

    Heating produce also helps destroy harmful organisms

    5. Remove moisture

    Microorganisms need moisture to grow, and die off in dry conditions. Food can be dried using warm air or an oven, or sealed in a
    concentrated solution of salt or sugar that draws out moisture by osmosis.

    Jelly most likely does have preservatives, while jam may or may not have preservatives in it

    -a thick mixture of fruit, sugar (and sometimes PECTIN) that is cooked until the pieces of fruit are very soft and almost formless. It is used as a bread spread, a filling for pastries and cookies and an ingredient for various desserts.

    -a clear, bright mixture made from fruit juice, sugar and sometimes PECTIN. The texture is tender but will be firm enough to hold its shape when turned out of its container. Jelly is used as a bread spread and as a filling for some cakes and cookies. In Britain, jelly is the term used for gelatin dessert.

    Ionizing radiation corresponds to electromagnetic radiation or

    particulate energy associated with a greater than 10 eV (electron Volt). Below this value of energy, radiation is “non-ionizing” and there class including radiation, infrared, ultraviolet, or electromagnetic fields of extremely low frequency (microwave).

    With the energy that is associated with ionizing radiation are capable of moving the electrons of atoms and molecules and converting them into ions, hence the term “ionizing radiation”. The term “ionizing radiation” is also used for this type of treatment.

    Ionizing radiation are applied to foods to improve their keeping quality. Foods treated with ionizing radiation are known as “irradiated”. They are not “radioactive.”

    The effect of ionizing radiation on our bodies differs according to its type and energy.

    Scientists have known for more than 80 years that large doses of ionizing radiation can damage human tissues. As more was learned, experts became increasingly concerned about the potentially damaging effects that exposure to large doses of radiation can cause. As a result of the need to regulate exposure to radiation, a number of bodies were formed such as the International Commission on Radiological

    Protection (ICRP)1 and the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR)2, to consider what should be done.

    Food Packaging

    Packaging is pervasive and essential.

    Enhance and protects the goods we buy, from processing and
    manufacturing, through handling and storage, to the final consumer. Without packaging, materials handling would be a messy, inefficient and costly exercise and modern consumer marketing would be virtually impossible.

    Packaging performs a series of disparate tasks: it protects its contents from contamination and spoilage, make it easier to transport and store goods and provides uniform measuring of contents.
    Four primary functions of packaging have been identified: containment, protection, convenience and communication.

    Regulations of Incidental Additives under the Food and Drugs Act ●

    While not defined under the Food and Drugs Act (FDA), incidental additives may be regarded, for administrative purposes, as those substances which are used in food processing plants and which may potentially become adventitious residues in foods. They can include products that are regulated as drugs or cosmetics under Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) but specifically exclude food additives and food packaging materials.

    With the exception of certain products, which are regulated under specific regulations, such as disinfectants, cosmetics, natural health products, etc., there are no sections of the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations, which specifically require the pre-clearance of incidental additives for use in food processing plants. However, if these substances are misused, resulting
    in contamination of foods thereby creating a potential health risk to consumers, such an action would be considered to be in violation of Section 4(a) of the Act, which states, “No person shall sell an article of food that has in or upon it any poisonous or harmful substance”

    Different Food Additives and Examples: List of food additive types
    Food additives can be divided into several groups, although there is some overlap between them. They are all listed below.

    -Food acids are added to make flavors “sharper”, and also act as preservatives and antioxidants. Common food acids include vinegar, citric acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, fumaric acid, andlactic acid.

    Acidity regulators
    -acidity regulators are used to change or otherwise control the acidity and alkalinity of foods.

    Anticaking agents
    -anticaking agents keep powders such as milk powder from caking or sticking.

    Antifoaming agents -antifoaming agents reduce or prevent foaming in foods.
    Antioxidants -such as vitamin C act as preservatives by inhibiting the effects of oxygen on food, and can be beneficial to health.
    Bulking agents -Bulking agents such as starch are additives that increase the bulk of a food without affecting its nutritional value. Food coloring -Colorings are added to food to replace colors lost during preparation, or to make food look more attractive.

    Color retention agents -In contrast to colorings, color retention agents are used to preserve a food’s existing color.
    Emulsifiers -Emulsifiers allow water and oils to remain mixed together in an emulsion, as in mayonnaise, ice cream, and homogenized milk.

    Flavors -Flavors are additives that give food a particular taste or smell, and may be derived from natural ingredients or created artificially. Flavor enhancers -Flavor enhancers enhance a food’s existing flavors. They may be extracted from natural sources (through distillation, solvent extraction, maceration, among other methods) or created artificially.

    Flour treatment agents -Flour treatment agents are added to flour to improve
    its color or its use in baking.
    Glazing agents -Glazing agents provide a shiny appearance or protective coating to foods.
    Humectants -Humectants prevent foods from drying out.
    Tracer gas -Tracer gas allow for package integrity testing to prevent foods from being exposed to atmosphere, thus guaranteeing shelf life.

    Preservatives -Preservatives prevent or inhibit spoilage of food due to fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms.
    Stabilizers -Stabilizers, thickeners and gelling agents, like agar or pectin (used in jam for example) give foods a firmer texture. While they are not true emulsifiers, they help to stabilize emulsions.

    Sweeteners -Sweeteners are added to foods for flavoring. Sweeteners other than sugar are added to keep the food energy (calories) low, or because they have beneficial effects for diabetes mellitus andtooth decay and diarrhea.

    Thickeners -Thickeners are substances which, when added to the mixture, increase its viscosity without substantially modifying its other properties. Caffeine and other GRAS (generally recognized as safe) additives such as sugar and salt are not required to go through the regulation process.

    Two kinds of food additives exist:
    Intentional and Incidental additives.

    Incidental additives are those accidentally introduced in the production, handling, or processing of food, such as a pesticide residue or chemical contaminant from processing machinery.
    Intentional additives — those purposely put in food for over 45 purposes including flavoring, coloring, preserving, acidifying, alkalinizing, emulsifying, leavening, and occasionally improving nutritional value.

    Because most food additives are not food but just synthetic chemicals, even the “safe” additives are questionable in my view. Though no additives is best and safest, the following are regarded and safe, or at least as having no proven objections:

    1. Alginate, Propylene Glycol Alginate — Derived from kelp; used for texturing in dairy products and thickening acidic foods.

    2. Alpha Tocopherol- — Vitamin E; used for preventing rancidity in oils.

    3. Ascorbic Acid — Vitamin C; stabilizes color.

    4. Beta Carotene — Converted by the body to Vitamin A; used in butter and margarine.
    5. Calcium (or Sodium) Stearoyl Lactylate— Dough conditioner and whipping agent.

    6. Casein, Sodium Caseinate — This is the primary protein in milk. Some people are sensitive to casein, however.
    7. Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate — Acidifies and flavors ice cream, fruit drinks and carbonated beverages.

    8. Ferrous Gluconate — Iron supplement; colors olives black.

    9. Fumaric Acid — Produces tartness and acidity in dry food products.

    10. Gelatin — Made from animal bones and hoofs; used as

    11. Glycerin (glycerol) — Maintains water content in foods.

    12. Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein — Flavor enhancer usually made from soy.

    13. Lactic Acid — Acidifier.

    14 Lactose — Milk sugar. Many people have trouble digesting lactose.

    15. Lecithin — Emulsifier and antioxidant.

    16. Mannitol — Sweetener with half the calories of sugar.


    1. Artificial Flavorings — Though most flavoring chemicals occur in nature, many people are allergically sensitive to them. Hyperactivity in children has been associated with these chemicals.
    2. Aspartame — Artificial sweetener; though made from two amino acids, numerous allergic reactions reported; 80% of all food additive complaints to the FDA concern this product.
    3. Carrageenan — From seaweed; large amounts damaged test
    animals colons; possible link to ulcers and cancer.
    4. Calcium (or Sodium) Propionate — Anti-mold preservative in bread; possible migraine link; no evidence other problems from this additive. 5. Corn Syrup, Dextrose — Sweetener and thickener; all the health problems of any other
    refined sugar.

    6. Gums (Guar, Arabic, Locust Bean, etc.) — Thickening agents; removes thirst mechanism and may stimulate continual stomach acid.

    7. Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil — Artificially saturated fat used to make margarine; used in other processed, junk foods.
    8. Invert Sugar — Mixture of dextrose (corn sugar) and fructose (fruit sugar); same health problems as any other refined sugar.
    9. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) — Flavor enhancer; animal tests indicate nerve cell destruction; many allergically sensitive. 10. Phosphoric Acid, Phosphates — Acidifies, emulsifies, inhibits discoloration; phosphoric acid used in carbonated beverages may pull calcium out of bones to buffer the acid.

    11. Red #40 — Most commonly used coloring with lots of inconclusive research; used in carbonated beverages, candy, gelatin, desserts, pastry, pet food, sausage and other junk food.
    12. Sodium Benzoate — Preservative; used in fruit juice, carbonated beverages, pickles and preserves; can cause intestinal upset, hives, or asthma.

    WORST ADDITIVES (Definitely Avoid)

    1. Artificial Colorings — As a group these are perhaps the worst for your health. Numerous studies have shown cancer or other problems prompting the FDA to ban several. They are almost exclusively used in junk food that you shouldn’t be eating anyway:

    a. Blue #1 — Possible cancer risk; used in beverages, candy, baked goods.
    b. Blue #2 — Possibly causes brain tumors in male mice; used in beverages, candy, pet food.
    c. Citrus Red #2 — Carcinogenic; used on some Florida oranges only; does not penetrate skin into the orange.
    d. Green #3 — Possibly carcinogenic, but rarely used.
    e. Yellow #6 — Animal tests showed it caused adrenal and kidney tumors in animals, as well as allergic reactions; used in beverages, sausage, baked goods, candy, and gelatin.

    2. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) — Antioxidant used in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, oils; prevents rancidity; contradictory tests on carcinogenicity; may affect liver and kidney function; banned in Japan.

    3 Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) — Same concerns as for BHA. 4. Caffeine — Found in coffee, tea, cocoa, and cola drinks; can cause miscarriages, birth defects, insomnia, fibrocystic breast disease 5 Propyl Gallate — Antioxidant used to prevent rancidity of fats in vegetable oils, meat products, potato sticks, chicken soup base and chewing gum. One study suggeits carcinogenicity.

    6. Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Nitrate — Preservative and coloring agent that can form cancer-causing nitrosamines; used in bacon, ham, hot dogs, lunch meats, smoked fish and corned beef.
    7. Sulfur Dioxide, Sodium Bisulfite — Sulfites prevent discoloration and bacterial growth; allergic reactions are legendary, especially in people with asthma; used in dried fruit, processed potatoes and wine.

    Expiration date or Shelf life

    is the length of time that a commodity may be stored without becoming unfit for use or consumption.
    It applies to foods, beverages,pharmaceutical drugs, chemicals, and many other perishable items.
    In some regions, an advisory best before, mandatory use by, or freshness date is required on packaged perishable foods.

    FIRST-AID for eating spoiled food:

    TREATMENT depends, naturally, on the severity. If it looks like the flu, treat it like the flu. But if consciousness is altered or decreased, professional treatment is prudent. A medical doctor can rule out a staph infection (which can be lethal). This course of action is also recommended if the illness does not pass in about 4 days or if it worsens.

    Get the affected person to vomit up anything that’s left in the stomach. Drinking a glass of water with a teaspoon or more of baking soda (Arm & Hammer only) may help with both the throwing up (for some people). The next thing to do is to treat it like a flu (unless the symptoms are severe).

    Regular intake of bland fluids (not all at once, but throughout the day), Garlic tablets, rest, no stress if possible, decongestants if needed, ibuprofen.
    Vitamin water or liquid vitamins should be used to insure nutrient fulfillment and absorption.

    Sources =_


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