What would an ingredient list for a natural food look like? James Kennedy, a chemistry teacher from Australia, has looked into this. Above is a list of the ingredients in an all-natural egg, including all the main chemical compounds.
Kennedy’s point is that “chemicals” are everywhere, nature is built with chemical substances. Therefore, our fear of food additives etc. isn’t necessarily reasonable. He has a point, except that the ingredient list for junk food would make up a whole book, if you were to list all the components of each ingredient.
However, the risk with industrially processed foods is not only that they consist of “chemical substances”. The problem with processed foods is that their compositions are new and contain…
- substances that previously barely existed in nature (like the artificial sweetener aspartame)
- excessive amounts of added substances that were previously rare (pure sugar, for example)
- too little of important substances that previously were more common (for example fiber)
- a clever combination of properties/substances that makes it extremely difficult to stop eating (addictive).
The problem is that while we humans are well adapted genetically to most of the foods we’ve eaten for millions of years, our bodies are not adapted to new industrial junk food. It’s an ongoing and increasingly risky experiment. Not only because the food contains “chemicals”, but because of its new chemical composition to which we’re not adapted.
Here are some more examples of natural products from Kennedy:
Three More Natural Products
Don’t fear everything with chemical-sounding names, or all additives. They exist everywhere in nature. Do, however, fear new industrial concoctions of chemicals.
In three words: Eat real food.