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Kitchen Notes: Additives
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Cooking For Engineers



Joined: 10 May 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:31 am    Post subject: Kitchen Notes: Additives Reply with quote


Article Digest:
Whenever I shop for food, I look at the ingredients listing to see what went into it. It started off as just a simple fascination with what factories use to make foods, but now I'm looking to see if partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (an indicator of the presence of trans fatty acids) are in the food (as well as other "unnatural" substances). I have a tendency to shy away from foods that have ingredients that I cannot recognize - but what are these weird ingredients and what do they do? What are they doing in my food (especially since I don't have them in my pantry and don't use them in my home cooked meals)? Here's a list that I've been slowly compiling of food additives.

There's a submission form at the bottom of this page for new ingredients or additives not on the list that you'd like me to include. Feel free to make use of it!

Also, only common side effects are listed without consideration for personal allergies.

Go to Kitchen Notes: Additives for the full list.
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satsumabug
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a great list. Thank you for sharing it.
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Amy Sherman
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is terrific!

I wonder about vitamins and minerals that get added to baked goods--thiamine, niacin, etc. why do they add them in the first place? Is this just to replace the nutrients that are destoyed during processing?
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Jen
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's important to note that folic acid is extremely important for women planning children. Adequate folic acid before and during pregnancy drasticly reduces the incidence of neural tube defects.
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Jessica
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ugh, I hate additives. I'm so used to making my own food that my once-favorite shelf-stable foods now taste like chemicals. Did you see the NY Times article on Trans Fats? One Nutrigrain bar has 2.5 grams of trans fat, the same amount as three Oreos!

BTW, I tag you for the music meme!
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1620
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: vitamin enriched products

Often vitamins are added to baked goods to replace those lost in ingredient refining or processing. For example, in my article on wheat flours I mention that niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and iron are added into flours that have had the wheat germ removed. This is because the wheat germ contains many of these minerals and vitamins (but also oils that can go rancid pretty fast making the flour unfit for consumption). Also, steel grinding can produce enough heat to destroy some vitamins, so those are added to the flour.

Some baked goods contain additional vitamins, simply to have more added. Usually, these are breakfast foods or nutrient bars.
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an anonymous reader
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phosphoric Acid is Most commonly found ic soda. specificly cola's.

I dont drink the stuff, but I DO use it to strip rust off of morotcycle gas tanks...
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fanatic
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great list!
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jeremy
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fabulous list. I've always avoided packaged food, and lately I'm also making a conscious effort to buy completely unprocessed food such as bleached flour and white rice.

It can be difficult at times but considering what I've read lately about how your body handles these chemicals it's not a bad idea.
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ejm_repost
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing that I really love about carnuba wax is that it is the hardest known wax. This is probably why it is an ingredient in floor and furniture wax. I wonder how long it takes to digest!

http://www.wellnaturally.ca/ingredients/carnuba.html
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Starlight
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, you don't have this list in a document of any kind do you? I would like to use this for reference later... Only if it's not too much trouble...
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an anonymous reader
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MSG - I'm surprised that you didn't list some additional side effects: It causes excessive thirst, and it can give some people headaches. I can attest to those two. My friend says that his tongue tingles when he eats MSG, but that's probably a rarer allergy.

Carnauba wax - I was disturbed to see it listed in my gummy bears ingredients, knowing that I had just waxed my car with the same stuff. =)
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Mark Sicignano
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's with the carreegenan and guar gums in foods to "fake" that creamy texture. Especially Ice Cream.

I'm a complete fan of Breyer's All Natural ice creams.

Turkey Hill makes two kinds. Their regular ice creams tout "All Natural Flavor", but they have additives and aren't "natural". Then they have "Turkey Hill Philadelphia Style" ice cream. "Philadelphia Style" is their "All Natural" brand.

In both cases, they cost more, but they're worth it.

Ice Cream was never meant to have seaweed extracts to make it creamy. They're supposed to have cream to make it creamy! Jeesh!
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1620
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: downloadable list

I prepared two versions for download. Be aware that the list is constantly being updated, so the download will only reflect the latest version. The first link is for the Comma-Seperated Value file while the second is for the Text file.

http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ingredients/additives_body.php?csv

http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ingredients/additives_body.php?txt
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an anonymous reader
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous - MSG is merely a simple salt of an essential and commonplace amino acid. Tests have been run on people who claim to recieve an "MSG headache" and in not one single case has it held up as anything more than psychomatic. Its bad repution probably stems from an association with Chinese people, and an innate racism against them.

When used correctly, the use of MSG greatly cuts down on the amount of table salt used, and overall salt intake is reduced. Still it's true that overly large amounts of MSG aren't good for you, nor as immediatly noticeable as overly large amounts of table salt.

Our brains are hard-wired to believe that a small amount of glutamate will taste good, so I believe it has a legitimate place in any kitchen, and is a good accompaniment to certain lighter dishes.
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