Chemical Cuisine - Polysorbate to Vanillin

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Polysorbate 60

Work similarly to mono- and diglycerides, but smaller amounts are needed. They keep baked goods from going stale, keep dill oil dissolved in bottled dill pickles, help coffee whiteners dissolve in coffee, and prevent oil from separating out of artificial whipped cream

Propyl Gallate

Retards the spoilage of fats and oils. it is often used with BHA and BHT because of the synergistic effect these additives have in retarding rancidity. Hasn't bee adequately tested, is frequently unnecessary, and should be avoided

Quinine

This drug can cure malaria and is used as a bitter flavoring in a few soft drinks. There is a slight chance that quinine may cause birth defects, so pregnant women should avoid quinine-containing beverages and drugs. Poorly tested

Saccharin

350 times sweeter than sugar and 10 times sweeter than cyclamate. Studies have not shown that it helps people lose weight. Since 1951 tests have indicated that it causes cancer. In 1977 the FDA proposed that saccharin be banned. Stay away!

Salt

Used liberally in many processed foods. Other additives contribute additional sodium. A diet high in sodium may cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Everyone should use it less.

Sodium Benzoate

Manufacturers have used it for over 70 years to prevent the growth of microorganisms in acidic foods.

Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose

made by reacting cellulose with a derivative of acetic acid. Studies indicate that it is safe.

Sodium Nitrite

Can lead to the formation of small amounts of potent canser-causing chemicals (nitrosamines), particularly in fried bacon. Tolerated in foods because it can prevent the growth of bacteria that cause botulism poisoning. Also stabilizes the red color in cured meat and gives a characteristic flavor. Companies should find better ways to prevent botulism

Sodium Nitrate

Used in dry cured meat, because it slowly breaks down into nitrite.

Sorbic Acid

occurs naturally in the berries of the mountain ash. Used to prevent growth of mold and bacteria.

Potassium Sorbate

May be a safe replacement for sodium nitrite in bacon.

Sorbitan Monostearate

Like mono- and diglycerides and polysorbates, this additive keeps oil and water mixed together. In chocolate candy, it prevents the discoloration that normally occurs when candy is warmed up and then cooled down.

Sorbitol

Occurs naturally in fruits and berries and is a close relative of the sugars. Half as sweet as sugar. Used in non-cariogenic chewing gum because oral bacteria do not metabolize it well. Large amounts of sorbitol (2 oz. for adults) have a laxative effect, but otherwise it is safe. Diabetics use sorbitol, because it is absorbed slowly and does not cause blood sugar to increase rapidly.

Starch

The major component of flour, potatoes, and corn, is used as a thickening agent. However, it does not dissolve in cold water. Chemist have solved this problem by reacting it with various chemicals. These modifications are added to some foods to improve their consistency and keep the solids suspended. Makes food look thicker and richer than it is.

Sugar

Occurs naturally in fruit, sugar cane, and sugar beets. Americans consume 100 pounds of it refined per year. Makes up about one-sixth of the average diet, but contains no vitamins, minerals, or protein. Tastes good and supplies energy, but most people eat too much of it.

Sulfur Dioxide

A gas that prevents discoloration of dried apricots, apples, and similar foods. Prevents bacterial growth in wine and other foods. This additive destroys vitamin B-1 but is otherwise safe

Sodium Bisulfite

A powder that prevents discoloration of dried apricots, apples, and similar foods. Prevents bacterial growth in wine and other foods. This additive destroys vitamin B-1 but is otherwise safe

Vanillin

Vanilla flavoring derived from a bean, but cheaper to produce synthetically. Safe

Ethyl Vanillin

Comes closer to matching the real taste of vanilla, but is poorly tested.

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