Healthy loaf with 30 ingredients and truth about what's in your food

PUBLISHED:Nov 04, 2015 | UPDATED:07:58 AM, Nov 07, 2015

If you don't want to know exactly what goes into your food, look away now.

A new book has broken down the ingredients of 25 foods and laid them out next to each other in series of striking pictures.

Photographer Dwight Eschliman and food writer Steve Ettlinger deconstructed foods like Twinkies, wholemeal bread and ketchup to show what they are really made up of.

Others they have broken down include Dr Pepper, Campbell's chicken soup, Naked Green Machine smoothie and PowerBar energy bars.

In each case small piles of each ingredient are laid next to each other in rows and photographed from above - and the results can be quite surprising.



01 Whole wheat flour
02 Water
03 Sugar
04 Wheat gluten 
05 Brown rice
06 Cornmeal
07 Oats
08 Wheat bran
09 Yeast
10 Cellulose fiber 
11 Soy bean oil
12 Black sesame seeds
13 White sesame seeds
14 Salt

15 Molasses
16 Datem
17 Calcium propionate (preservative)
18 Monoglycerides
19 Calcium sulfate
20 Poppyseeds
21 Grain vinegar
22 Soy lecithin
23 Citric acid
24 Calcium carbonate 
25 Walnuts
26 Hazelnuts (filberts)
27 and/or Almonds
28 Whey
29 Soy flour
30 Nonfat milk





01 White boneless chicken
02 Water
03 Food starch-modified
04 Salt

05 Autolyzed yeast
06 Salt
07 Wheat starch
08 Natural flavor (botanical source)
09 Safflower oil
10 Dextrose
11 Citric acid
12 Sodium phosphates
13 Natural flavor (botanical source)
Battered and breaded with:
14 Water

Enriched flour:
15 Bleached wheat flour   
16 Niacin
17 Reduced iron
18 Thiamine mononitrate
19 Riboflavin
20 Folic acid
21 Yellow corn flour
22 Bleached wheat flour
23 Food starch-modified
24 Salt
25 Baking soda 

26 Sodium acid pyrophosphate
27 Sodium aluminum phosphate
28 Monocalcium phosphate
29 Calcium lactate
30 Spices
31 Wheat starch
32 Dextrose
33 Corn starch
Prepared in Vegetable Oil:
34 Canola oil
35 Corn oil
36 Soybean oil
37 Hydrogenated soybean oil
38 with TBHQ
39 and Citric Acid to preserve freshness of the oil
40 and Dimethylpolysiloxane to reduce oil splatter when cooking 


By studying the publicly available nutritional information Eschliman and Ettlinger found that McDonald's Chicken McNuggets have a total of 40 ingredients.

They included dextrose, a sugar also used by shoe makers to make leather more pliable.

Another ingredient was corn starch which is used for thickening in food but is also used to make paper and cardboard or as a substitute for gasoline.

Red Bull's best known ingredient is taurine, an acid which many believe came from bull sperm but in fact is synthesized in laboratories.

It is naturally occurring in the bile glands of humans and animals.

Another ingredient is sugar which is used as a preservative for food and has some surprising industrial uses.

They include fortifying cement by retaining moisture and slowing the setting process.

In total Red Bull has 17 ingredients including three colorings, it says in 'Ingredients: A Visual Exploration Of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products'.

Oroweat Healthy Multi-Grain Bread appears to be healthy but has far more additives than you might expect and a total of 30 ingredients.

Among them are salt, molasses, hazelnuts, oats, cornmeal, brown rice and nonfat milk.

Another ingredient is soy lecithin, a versatile emulsifier that is a byproduct of soybean processing that keeps chocolate smooth and emulsifies paint pigments, works as a softener in cosmetics and is even added to explosives.

It also includes datem, which stands for diacetyl ester of mono- and diglycerides, and which is an emulsifier used to give bread its chewy texture.

Unsurprisingly, Klondike Bars and Twinkies are full of additives.



01 Apple juice
02 Mango puree
03 Pineapple juice
04 Banana puree
05 Kiwi puree

06 Spirulina
07 Natural flavors
08 Alfalfa
09 Broccoli
10 Spinach
11 Barley grass
12 Wheat grass
13 Parsley
14 Ginger root
15 Kale
16 Odorless garlic 




Enriched Bleached Flour:
01 Flour
02 Reduced iron

B Vitamins:
03 Niacin
04 Thiamine mononitrate (B1)
05 Riboflavin (B2)
06 Folic Acid
07 Water
08 Sugar
09 Corn syrup
10 High-fructose corn syrup

Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable and/or Animal Shortening:
11 Soybean oil
12 Cottonseed oil
13 and/or Canola oil
14 Beef fat
15 Whole eggs
16 Dextrose

Contains 2% or less of:
17 Soy lecithin 

18 Sodium acid pyrophosphate
19 Baking soda
20 Cornstarch
21 Monocalcium phosphate
22 Modified cornstarch
23 Glucose
24 Whey   
25 Glycerin
26 Soybean oil
27 Salt
28 Monoglycerides
29 Diglycerides
30 Polysorbate 60
31 Cornstarch
32 Sodium stearoyl lactylate
33 Natural flavor
34 Artificial flavor
35 Sorbic acid (to retain freshness)
36 Potassium sorbate
37 Xanthan gum
38 Cellulose gum
39 Enzyme
40 Wheat flour
41 Yellow No. 5
42 Red No. 40 


A Klondike Reese's Ice Cream Bar has a total of 42 ingredients while a Twinkie has the same number.

According to the book -  which is on sale now - the Klondike bar includes cellulose gel which is the basis of rayon and cellophane as well as being used in foods to bulk things up.

It also contains propylene glycol monoesters, which originally come from crude oil which is blasted with a high heat and reacted with chlorine or lye.

Propylene glycol is used to make color pigments disperse evenly and keeps the flavor smooth and thick.

A Hostess Twinkie has added glucose, whey, glycerin, soybean oil, salt, monoglycerides, diglycerides, polysorbate 60, cornstarch and sodium stearoyl lactylate among the many ingredients.

A bottle of Naked Green Machine 100% Juice Smoothie appears to be one of the healthiest items in the book with just 16 ingredients.

But alongside the apple juice, banana puree, broccoli and spinach there is also odorless garlic, ginger root and kale, which many may not expect.

Vegetarians may also be surprised to learn that a Morningstar Farms soy sausage has 42 ingredients, some of which are also used in junk foods.

In another section of the book Eschliman and Ettlinger explained the origin and purpose of 75 of the most commonly used additives.

This includes ethyl vanillin which is used for butterscotch and rum but starts life as what they describe as 'toxic, explosive benzene'.

Another additive featured is shellac, which is used to coat apples to make them appear shiny and comes from insect larvae.




01 Nonfat milk
02 Sugar
Reese’s Peanut Butter:
03 Peanuts
04 Sugar
05 Peanut oil
06 Dextrose
07 Salt
08 TBHQ (preserves freshness)
09 Corn syrup
10 Milkfat
11 Whey
12 Maltodextrin
13 Propylene glycol monoesters
14 Cellulose gum
15 Monoglycerides
16 Diglycerides
17 Cellulose gel
18 Locust bean gum
19 Guar gum
20 Polysorbate 80  
21 Carrageenan
22 Caramel color
23 Vitamin A palmitate
24 Annatto (for color)
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Pieces:
Milk Chocolate:
25 Sugar
26 Cocoa butter
27 Chocolate
28 Nonfat milk
29 Milkfat
30 Corn syrup
31 Soy lecithin
32 PGPR (polyglycerol polyricinoleate)
33 Peanuts
34 Sugar
35 Dextrose
36 Salt
Milk Chocolate Flavored Coating:
37 Coconut oil
38 Sugar
39 Chocolate liquor (processed with alkali)
40 Soy lecithin
41 Artificial flavor
42 Salt  




01 Carbonated water
02 Sucrose
03 Glucose
04 Citric acid
05 Taurine
06 Sodium bicarbonate
07 Magnesium carbonate
08 Caffeine
09 Niacinamide

10 Calcium pantothenate
11 Pyridoxine HCl
12 Vitamin B12
13 Natural flavor
14 Artificial flavor
Colors including:
15 Red No. 40
16 Blue No. 1
17 Yellow No. 5 

Alginate stabilizes the head of beer and binds things like dog food together but originally comes from seaweed.

Sorbitol was originally extracted from mountain ash berry and is now used to sweeten products like mouthwash, toothpaste and sugar free gum because it does not cause cavities.

The authors say that they do not want to judge people who eat processed foods and say that approved additives have been tested by the Food and Drug Administration and deemed safe for human consumption.

They say that food additives have a 'a lot of baggage' but says it is 'plain stupid' to assume that everything that has chemical in it is bad for you.

The book says: 'Some readers might expect a firm indictment of artificial food ingredients, but they will not find that in this book. This is a visual exploration...not a polemic.

'We are not here to tell you that artificial ingredients are bad for you, or what to eat.

'We are simply curious about these ingredients and assume that many of you are too. We ask, "What does it look like?" and "Why do they put this in my food?"'

On sale now: the cover of the book

The authors add that the 'real debate' is whether a diet filled with processed foods is good for you and sustainable for the planet.

They write: 'We don't get into that because, simply put, we're dealing here with art and science, not policy.'



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