Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What is real?

If you were in the Matrix and you you were listening to Morpheus explain, he would say something like "senses and tastes are nothing more than electrical impulses sent by nerves and translated by our brain as such", which is true.  Things on your tongue hit a specific region that then sends a type of electrical pulse to certain nodes of your brain that reads it as being salty, for example.  So, does this mean that flavors are real?  Furthermore, is there anything that use real ingredients anymore?

I was sitting down for lunch today, having a dish I prepared from scratch and brought to work, when I grabbed a small soda, a 7up, and opened it.  I don't drink sodas that often and tend to use them as treats.  I started to think of some of the original soda beverages, as stated in my earlier post, about how they were originally health tonics and then became soft drinks for regular beverage consumption.  I started to think that 7up, which was one of the original health tonics, may likely still be one of the last ones.  I was wrong.

A Look at the bottle will see that it has "100% natural flavors" and is a "naturally flavored soda".  So, people, friends and smarty-pants, what is the flavoring behind 7up?  The bottle shows a slice of lemon and lime.  So, one would think that if it has 100% natural flavors and it has a lemon and a lime on the bottle, then it must have lemon and lime flavoring inside, right?  How do you get lemon and lime flavoring?  Well, you can get it from the zest of the peel, the fruit or the juice, right? Well, most sodas use the juice, since it is already a liquid or a syrup, it is easy to just add those few drops of juice.  Unless you are 7up.
The back of the label says "contains no juice".  So, where does the 100% natural flavors come from?  Citric acid.  Citric acid occurs naturally and is considered 100% natural.  It fools us because for most people, if you break it down to its simplest form, that could exist in nature, it is alright.  But it tricks us, because when we get a 7up and it says 100% natural flavors, we think that the flavors are in there.  The ingredients read: carbonated water (which does occur naturally in some areas), High Fructose Corn Syrup (which is actually extracted from corn and does not occur in nature anywhere), less than 2% of natural flavors (which could be those juices but they don't say, which makes me think they are not really used or they are in such a small amount that the real flavoring is the High Fructose Corn Syrup and the...), Citric Acid (Basically the tartness taken from lemons or limes) and Potassium Citrate ( a salt that helps acid, along with citric acid it occurs naturally).

So, we figured out that while it has 100% natural flavoring of some sort, it is only less than 2% of the total product so there must be another flavoring agent.  But those other ingredients are natural in varying degrees. 

I think if you are looking for good food, besides avoiding those with High Fructose Corn Syrup, I suggest looking to see how much of the ingredients are recognizable or even pronounceable.

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