The chemistry behind foods

Growing up, Chemistry was one of my favorite subjects, believe it or not. I think the magic of it is synonymous to that of Math. You either get it, or you don’t. I was one of the fortunate ones to have an amazing high school Chemistry teacher who changed my perspective on Chemistry altogether — she made it fun & she made it understandable…

20-something years later, working in the Chemicals industry, I realize I should have paid more attention to my Chemistry teacher in high school. Because literally everything around us is made of Chemicals including all foods. And the different kinds of chemicals they contain give the stuff we eat their flavors, colors, and smells.

On the blog Compound Interest, Andy Brunning, a chemist and teacher in UK has illustrated the chemistry behind everyday foods through a series of colorful infographics. Wish the Internet was a few finger strokes away when I was growing up. Having access to such visual candy would have made learning a ball game!

I hope this helps all my Science teachers out there. At least I enjoyed perusing through his blog.

Studies in rodents have suggested that raspberry ketone may have an anti-obesity effect, but there is currently no reliable scientific evidence for this effect being observed in humans.

The Chemistry of Raspberries

Honey has such low water content, it can dehydrate bacteria thus preventing spoilage. In fact, the oldest known sample of honey, found in an Ancient Egyptian tomb and dated to approximately 3000 years ago, was still perfectly edible.

The Chemistry of Honey

Polyester absorbs only 0.4% of its weight of water which is why most sweat evaporates.

The Chemistry of a Football Shirt

Too much of any chemical into the body can cause toxic effects, and even death – the only variant from chemical to chemical is how much is ‘too much’.

Lethal Doses of Water, Caffeine and Alcohol

Theobromine, a stimulant that produces a similar effect to caffeine, is what makes chocolate toxic to dogs.

The Chemistry of Chocolate

The Eugenol in cloves can act as an antifungal and antibacterial agent (in preventing toothaches) and maybe of use to treat premature ejaculation 😉

The Chemistry of Cloves

The breakdown of asparagusic acid, a chemical found only asparagus, might be what causes some people’s pee to smell after eating the vegetable.

The Chemistry of Asparagus

Why Why haven’t I made your Chemistry experience a lot more fun! See? It’s not all doom!

Let’s support Andy on his journey in making our day-to-day interactions with chemicals more visually appealing!