Guess The “Food” #1

I had a lot of fun a few weeks ago writing the post where I actually worked through the nutritional label on the back of some granola bars. I decided to do another one and maybe start doing this on a semi-regular basis. Maybe once a month or something. I think it’s really interesting to actually figure out what’s in the food that’s on shelves these days. Of course, I put food in quotations because it’s questionable if most of the things I’ll be checking out in these posts is actually what I’d consider food.

Also, it’s kind of fun to see if people can actually guess what the food is just by looking at the ingredients. The granola bars were too easy though so I picked something that’s maybe a bit more difficult.

The Facts. Let’s check out some of the highlights from the facts of this product. I blurred out the serving size as it would somewhat give away what the product is. We’ll call them widgets. For two widgets it’s only 280 calories which isn’t terrible, but almost half of it is from fat. So that’s not great. None of it is the dreaded Trans Fat though. It does have 11 grams of Saturated Fat which is over half of the recommended daily intake. So if you have these you may want to switch to broccoli for the rest the day.

Other than that it doesn’t have too much going on here. Besides fat, it’s got a good amount of Carbs, mostly sugar. SO it’s basically a big carby, sugary, fatty thing. It doesn’t have a lot of sodium which will rule out certain foods from the mix (Doritos!).

Let’s turn to the ingredients which should give us some more clues.

The Ingredients. Here’s a rundown of the ingredients in this product.

Milk Chocolate – I think everyone generally knows what milk chocolate is, but it’s interesting to see what actually goes into their version which is listed in parenthesis. Most of the ingredients were familiar to me: Sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, and skim milk, but there were a few that are worth mentioning.

LactoseLactose is a sugar mainly found in milk. I’m sure you know someone who is lactose intolerant which means they have a hard time breaking down this sugar.

Soy Lecithin – I’ve noticed that this is in basically everything that’s processed. In these widgets, it works as an emulsifier and keeps the milk chocolate together. Otherwise it’s possible that the cocoa butter and chocolate could separate.

PGPR – This was a new one for me. I had no idea what this is. It’s a different kind of emulsifier – Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate. I’m not a chemistry student so I don’t really know what that means. It seems like it’s used to keep chocolate in a liquid form. So maybe it would help if, say for example, you are coating something in chocolate!

Ok. So besides the milk chocolate, there are a few other ingredients.

Sugar – Listed as the second ingredient, you can assume that this is probably some kind of candy if you didn’t already guess that.

Enriched Wheat Flour – It makes sense that there is some flour in this product but what’s with the enriched wheat part? Wheat flour sounds somewhat healthy, but turns out not so much. When I look at my bag of whole wheat flour it has one ingredient: 100% hard red whole wheat flour.

But the “enriched” flour listed in this product has some very non-food ingredients including: Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine, Mononitrate, Riboflavin, and Folic Acid! Why the heck would you do that to perfectly good flour?!

Turns out that the “enriching” process actually strips all of the nutritional value out of the flour and then they add back in some synthetics that don’t come anywhere close to real whole wheat flour. For more on the subject, I encourage you to check out The Hoax of Enriched Wheat Flour. It looks like it’s one of those terms that’s there to intentionally confuse people. But now you can consider yourself in the know!

Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil and/or Palm Oil – Hydrogenation is the process food manufacturers use that turns a liquid into a stable solid. So margarine, for example, is hydrogenated oil. Apparently it’s common for this to be in products containing chocolate. I’m gonna guess that maybe it helps it stay solid at room temperature after the product is packaged? That’s seriously a complete guess.

Corn Syrup – Not the High Fructose variety, just plain old corn syrup. This is tricky because once you know the product you’ll know right away where this comes into play (or at least where I think it comes into play).

Skim Milk – Woohoo! Something easy. Everybody knows what skim milk is! I count it as real food.

Dextrose – Dextrose is a simple sugar, glucose. Specifically, it’s the Dextrose Monohydrate version of Glucose, hence the abbreviated Dextrose. As far as I can tell it’s just a sweetener.

After that, the ingredients list less than 2% of: salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, soy lecithin, and artificial flavors. All of those have either been already addressed or are pretty straightforward.

So, now that you know all of the parts, it’s up to you. Can you guess this food?

17 comments on “Guess The “Food” #1

  1. Hmm, I will guess that it's a Twix bar. Then again, it's early and I haven't really thought this through… but I'm guessing the corn syrup/skim milk makes up the caramel, the flour is for the cookie, and the chocolate is, well, duh.

  2. I will guess it is a Butterfinger bar. At first I thought Whoppers malted milk balls, but now I don't think so.

  3. I was going to guess something wrong, then came here and read the first comment and looked at the shiny gold wrapper again and figure it's Twix. :)

    However, here's a fun fact about the "enriched flour" thing! When refining the bran etc. out of regular (whole) wheat flour to gain the fancy-lookin' white stuff became possible on a large scale thanks to the industrial revolution, it took off like gangbusters. Yeah, in the olden days, it was possible to mill white flours stripped of their good stuff, but very expensive.

    So anyway, late 19th/early 20th century and now we have a flour that's:

    1. Attractive

    2. Easy to work with

    3. Doesn't go rancid

    4. Cheap

    White flour was incredibly popular and quickly took over the whole grain flours most poor and regular folks were used to using. Though, given the time period, you were basically either poor or rich; there wasn't much of a middle class.

    People quickly developed nutritional deficiencies and by 1941 science had advanced to the point that it had identified several of the nutrients that were stripped in the process of refining white flour, and the FDA ordered mills to put back in, or "enrich" the white flours with um, I forget, but 3 or 4 vitamins like niacin etc.

    I think the current trend to call it "enriched wheat flour" is to try to fool people into thinking it's whole grain. "It has wheat in it, not just plain flour!"

    /me notes to just turn this into a post sometime :p

  4. I’m gonna go with Twix too, not because I’m a copycat, but because I can be a candy bar junkie from time to time and that just screams Twix-ity Goodness. Yes, I capitalized Goodness.

  5. Just to be different and give away my generation…..(whoa, a long time ago)…..I’m going to guess……something in nearly every little “Monkeees” lunchbox, with thermos of course!

    ‘Ding Dongs’

    They need lots of emulsifying to keep that marshymalloyness together, and keep the waxy chocolate coating from sliding off.

  6. I didn't even have to look at the ingredients to know it was a Twix. I'm am the ultimate "fat kid" and could probably tell the difference between different candy bars by smell alone! lol I really like these posts and I'm glad to see you did another one! :D

  7. I love these posts. I can shed a little more light on the dextrose. Its usually made from glucose from corn. Its used in a lot of hard candy (sweettarts, smarties) and I think in beer making. I’m fructose malabsorbent so I use it to bake. It makes most baked items crumblier and moister. I tend to use half dextrose and half sugar in most sweet goods – and my cakes/cookies come out a little puffy.

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