It is a problem that the word “chemical,” in this context, is completely misused. Every chemical is common table salt, for example (sodium chloride), and even water (dihydrogen oxide).
Chemicals in our food are usually divided into four categories: carbohydrates and proteins, fats and oils, and everything else. This last group does not have any defining characteristics, but it includes vitamins, minerals, and pharmaceuticals, as well as the hundreds of trace chemical substances that we consume every day.
Many chemicals are safe for consumption by humans. Here’s a guide on the health effects of chemicals found in your kitchen.
Macronutrients are chemicals
Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. They provide the majority of our daily energy requirements.
One hundred eighteen elements are known in the Periodic Table. However, the three main categories contain only four elements: carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with trace amounts of the other elements.
Amino acids are chemical compounds that link together to form proteins. Meat and eggs are the richest sources, but beans, lentils, and wheat flour also contain significant amounts.
Carbohydrates are made up of only carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. They are all linked in very specific ways. Carbohydrates include starch, sugar, and cellulose. They are all digested in different ways.
Artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame, saccharin, and Aspartame are not carbohydrates.
The health spotlight is now on natural sweeteners, such as sugars. The consumption of white sugar (sucrose), high-fructose syrup (a mix of glucose and fructose), and other sweeteners has been associated with a number of health problems.
Like carbs, only carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen are found in fats. However, gram for gram, they release twice as much dietary energy as either carbs or protein. This has likely been vilified for a longer time than sugars. Some fats are essential to a healthy diet.
Acids and bases
Acid sounds bad. Acid is not always harmful.
Think about food and drinks that are acidic. Coca-Cola is a classic example. It has a pH of 3.2. Lower means more acidic, and seven is neutral. This is strong enough to remove metal rust. It’s true. Thanks to the phosphoric acids in Coke.
Watch Coke eating away at surface rust.
The human stomach contains both hydrochloric and phosphoric acids, which have a pH even more acidic. Apples and oranges are similar in pH to Coke. Lemon juice is ten times more acidic.
Acidic food and drinks combine with other chemicals for flavor. Many foods would be bland if they lacked acidity.
Alkali is the chemical opposite of acid. Basic foods are higher in pH than acidic substances. Basic foods in the kitchen include eggs, baked goods like biscuits and cakes, and bicarb.
Chemicals toxic in the kitchen
There are toxic chemicals in our cupboards. These are often kept under the sink and have pH values that are at the extremes of the spectrum.
Ammonia (i.e., Drano is a very basic product. Basic detergents and soaps are also available.
You can also use concentrated sulfuric acids to unblock drains.
Chemistry is involved in cooking.
The science of cooking is really nothing more than chemistry. In the lab and the kitchen, heating, freezing, mixing, and blending are all common processes.
In the process of cooking food, many different chemical and physical processes are simultaneously taking place. chemicals) involved.
The case of carbohydrates is an interesting one. Maillard reactions combine simple sugars with proteins to brown food. A little heat will cause caramelization, but too much heat can lead to burnt flavors.
It takes a lot of deft chemistry in order to create a seasoned, smoked brisket. Jeffrey/Flickr, CC BY
Another carbohydrate that is well-known for its ability to create gels, such as those found in pannacotta, is starch. When heated, starch powder combines with the water to create a different texture.
Next time someone says, “I’m not a fan of putting chemicals in my body,” you can chuckle. All products are made from chemicals. Without chemicals, we’d be in some trouble.