Banana/Blueberry/Egg Ingredients Poster PDFs

Here are high-resolution PDFs of all three posters. Free to use. Feedback welcome.

Click each image to download the PDF poster.

Ingredients of an All-Natural Egg Ingredients of an All-Natural Banana Ingredients of All-Natural Blueberries

About these posters: As a Chemistry teacher, I want to erode the fear that many people have of “chemicals”, and demonstrate that nature evolves compounds, mechanisms and structures far more complicated and unpredictable than anything we can produce in the lab.

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90 thoughts on “Banana/Blueberry/Egg Ingredients Poster PDFs

  1. These are so good. I’m so fed up with ignorant people demonising science. And all these foods full of evil chemicals like… Water.

      1. What’s the real point? Yes, they are composed of chemicals so is everything on earth. You stated “that nature evolves compounds, mechanisms and structures far more complicated and unpredictable than anything we can produce in the lab.” So are you saying sucralose should not be feared even tho chloride exists within the product. Not including certain pesticides, arsenic, among others. Our bodies are tailored for chemicals composed in nature but not chemicals produced in a lab. I am trying to see the point.

      2. @Duke Togo: For arsenic, look no further than your tap water. For pesticides (e.g. nicotine) look no further than potatoes and egg plants.

  2. As a food scientist working in the industry in the US, I am always saddened by the ‘scary chemicals’ argument against foods. It’s playing people’s lack of understanding against them. Thank you SO MUCH for doing these. I hope they become beyond viral.

  3. Firts sorry about my english.
    It would be great if you could give me from where you obtained the information in order to use your poster with more selfidence :)
    Thanks.

    1. Great question. I used reputable sources from Google Books (mostly very old botany books) and research articles from NCBI for the aromatic volatile compounds at the bottom of each poster. I used http://nutritiondata.self.com/ for the percentages of amino acids, fats, water, ash, and vitamin composition, etc.

      I didn’t write sources or my name on this poster because it would have distracted from the message.

    2. The sources come from a few different places.

      Top half of each ingredients list from nutrition websites such as Nutritiondata.self.com.

      Colours and preservatives (mostly photosynthetic pigments and by-products of photosynthesis) are from old botany books on Google Books.

      And the flavours are from peer-reviewed journal articles on NCBI: I looked for papers that describe gas spectroscopy analysis of the volatile fraction in each fruit.

      I hope this answers your question! :) James

  4. Its about time someone took a stand for the slandered artificial flavor and preservative industry that is having such hard times lately with this nonsense about whole foods and GMO-phobia.

    Does this have anything to do with the Foodstuff export business you own? Or did you get a check from Yum! Foods for all this?

    You clearly know a lot about food ingredients , one question… what’s the E-number for bullocks?

    1. Bullocks? Are you suggesting anything in these posters is untrue? If so, cite your sources (prejudices and suspicions don’t make for convincing citations, FYI).

      I notice also that you mention artificial flavors, preservatives, and GMOs. Maybe you could point to something in these posters that has anything to do with any of the above.

    2. Paul, you made my day. You’ve taken a chemistry teacher and turned him into a spokesperson for the evil corporates who are trying to suck the very life out of you every minute of the day in some kind of orwellian plot because he is made some simple posters trying to improve the knowledge of the world.

  5. Color me skeptical. Yes, people have a lot of silly fears, and I’ll state up front that I am very pro-science, but science requires time for outcomes to be known. Many times, what we think is harmless turns out to have an achilles heal… medicine approved by the FDA after many trials turns out to be harmful, or when combined with another “harmless” drug or compound, these things no longer are. Eating fruit is associated with a lot of good physiological results, drinking fruit juice is associated with higher incidence of diabetes and other negative results. Form matters, combinations of compounds matter, and we’ve evolved to eat things as they grow in nature, not the distilled compound by itself, in extreme quantity. This isn’t pro-science and anti-science, this is acknowledging that complexity exists and we often don’t fully understand what we have accomplished for years after implementation, be it a drug, food, etc. I don’t fear GMO foods, I know most changes are likely harmless, but I’m not happy about not having the choice to reject them. Changes used to happen over many long years, and our bodies had time to adjust. Now we have the opportunity to add many small changes in a short period of time, and any scientist has to acknowledge that will make it very difficult to identify and fix any mildly harmful impacts. When the rate of change increases, our ability to recover from errors decreases.

    1. I don’t think the message here is that all chemicals are harmless. But the opposite position—that all chemicals are poison—is as meaningless as it is popular.

      Internet culture has cultivated a fear of anything that sounds unnatural, or “scientific.”. This is a huge distraction, because many of the things that sound unnatural are completely natural. Add to this easily-proven postulate that many naturally occuring things are harmful (mercury, radon, poison ivy, methane, botulism) while many processed things are quite benign (chocolate, wine, any modern hydrocolloids). Then add to this that distinction between natural and artificial is an often murky one.

      The real answer, which too many people find distasteful, is that it’s complicated. Our bodies and all the food we’ve ever swallowed are 100% chemicals. So it doesn’t make much sense to demonize chemistry as a category.

      We need to look at individual ingredients on their actual merits, not on the basis of scary-sounding names or vague ideas about naturalness. Eventually we might even be sophisticated enough to know that most ingredients can be good or bad, depending on quantity and their context in a diet.

      Salt, for example. We need it to live. But too much in a diet causes health problems. And at a high enough dose (3000mg/kg body weight) it’s considered lethal.

      Some things really aught to be avoided. Unlike most people in the culinary world, I was behind the artificial trans-fat ban, because the evidence of associated health problems is too strong to deny, and because there are perfectly good substitutes. Nabisko and McDonalds might not like the substitutes as much, but screw them. They don’t make good food to begin with.

      1. Great! As a layman of chemistry, I do believed that all is dosage related. Without this in mind, all the discussions will be distorted. As water,salt and many other MUST- HAVEs are indispensable to live, they do have a limit ( dosage/quantity) to keep one live and healthy. The only question remains in the acute or chronicle
        impact of the things we swallow in !

      2. Absolutely right. Some ingredients are natural, and some are artificial, but there’s a very blurred line between the two. Some ingredients are also deadly while others are safe—but there’s very little correlation with how ‘natural’ they are.

        Great comment. Thank you!

  6. I really like these, but I wish you would use the chemical name for water to make an even stronger point – dihydrogen monoxide.

  7. These are a great idea – could you add the percentages for Amino Acids in Banana and Blueberry as well? Also, why do you alternate usage of Aqua and Water?

    Thanks!

  8. Actual question, hopefully it is not too ignorant. Are the food products you sampled organic or non-organic? GMO or non-GMO? I ask because I am curious of what chemical compounds would be found in organic versus pesticide/fertilized foods. I would be very interested to see an actual comparison side-by-side; just curious to see what the final product’s chemical make up would be, if it varied, how so, etc. — Thank you.

    1. These were all organic non-GMO foods. It would definitely be interesting to compare GMO with non-GMO, and organic crops versus sprayed crops. I’ll put that on my (long) to-do list.

  9. Huh? I’m confused. What’s sucrose doing there? Isn’t sucrose a disaccharide composed of the monosaccharides glucose (50%) and fructose (50%)? How can this list of chemical components of fruit list fructose, broken down into its chemical components, to also contain itself as a chemical component???

    All the sugar chemists I have spoken to all confirm that sucrose is composed of glucose and fructose.

    Please explain.

    Thanks

    Source:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sucrose

    1. Sucrose is fructose and glucose bonded together chemically. Glucose and fructose can also exist on their own (i.e. not bonded together). It’s a bit like how suits are made up of jackets and trousers: just like how suits, jackets and trousers are three different products in a store, sucrose, glucose and fructose are three different compounds in a banana. I hope this helps!

  10. I know nothing about chemistry but there are nutritional blogs all over the net that talk about something called arachidonic acid in eggs? Is this not applicable to your particular breakdown?

    1. Good question!

      Since arachidonic acid is 20:4 fatty acid, its name on the egg poster would be “Eicosatetraenoic acid”. Eicos means 20 and tetra means 4. It’s there :)

      There are many, many different names for most compounds. I’ve stuck to IUPAC, which is the international standard. However, many old names and colloquial names are still in use (like arachidonic acid).

      James :)

  11. Is there NO DNA and RNA in any of these? Fruit/endosperm has a triploid (not diploid) chromosomal content. In a college biology lab, DNA is extracted from a strawberry.

    This is a critical point for all the ‘frankenfood’ fanatics – that we eat DNA on a regular basis and that in ALL life forms on earth it’s the exact same DNA, genetic code, etc.

    There may be economic or environmental arguments about GMOs, but it simultaneously cracks me up and frustrates me when I hear people gasp “They put FOREIGN DNA into that corn…!” They are invariably genuinely shocked to hear that we eat ‘foreign’ DNA ALL THE TIME! That’s right before they ask me if I work for Monsanto or make some other disparaging remark about scientists – and these are “liberals” and “progressives”. No wonder it’s so easy for right-wingers to deny climate change and evolution!

    1. Really good point. It might be about time to add “DNA” to these posters.

      I left it out initially because these posters were for an Organic Chem class, and we don’t focus on DNA in Chemistry (only in Biology). Another reason was nomenclature: if all the amino acids are written individually with percentages, then shouldn’t DNA and RNA be written as four (or five) nucleotides? Do I label methylated nucleotides? Or just write “RNA, DNA” in all the ingredients lists?

      These questions made me leave it out for now. Now you’ve mentioned it, though, I’m considering adding them to future posters. (Like “fresh air was added to the Blueberry).

      Thanks for the idea!

      1. Good question indeed. I think it’s most informative to say: “Nucleic acids, RNA and DNA, which are sugar (ribose or deoxyribose), phosphate, and [the nucleobases] adenine, guanine , cytosine, thymine (DNA) or uracil (RNA).”

        Giving nucleotide names – adenosine mono-phosphate – leaves you still having to explain that that means d/ribose, phosphate + adenine.

        I’d think don’t get into modifications, unless you also start getting into the various phosphorylated/glycosylated/acetylated forms of the proteins/aa’s you give.

        What you’re doing is a great and thought/discussion provoking idea.!

        Btw, in my comment I wasn’t trying to group all people who have legitimate concerns about their food under the ‘frankenfood fanatics’ umbrella, because of course there’s a learning component to these discussions. The fear-mongering aspect of anti-GMO rhetoric is tapping into our natural fears of anything unknown. However, once more is known, it can become apparent that the level of “unknown-ness” – and indeed the actual differences between a gmo or non-gmo food – are incredibly minor, yet are incorrectly and hugely overblown in anti-gmo literature and speech.

        It’s not that there shouldn’t be a discussion about gmo’s, but that discussion needs to be based on knowledge and correct information.

        Keep up the good work!

        Leo K

  12. I’m confused. I am not a chemist but I do like to eat fresh food, not necessarily organic. Are you, and other folks, saying that there is no difference between eating food that has not been processed in some way vs foods that have been processed? An example could be fresh peaches I pick up at a farm stand vs canned peaches. Or, canned chicken soup vs fresh, home made chicken soup? Interesting discussion.

  13. A reader (not me) at:

    http://www.dietdoctor.com/natural-foods-came-ingredient-list

    has observed that … “By looking at the ingredients, you can tell it’s an industrial egg. Look at the ratio of omegas – indicates a soy diet, not a pasture-raised diet. Look at the e-numbers – it’s low in vitamins & beta carotene compared to pasture-raised. Also note the e-number that is the code for paprika derivative. This is an industrial chicken that was fed paprika as coloring to make the yolk look pretty. Also look what’s missing – where’s the choline in this “egg”? etc.”

    I’m wondering if the testing looked for medications also.

    1. You didn’t have to ask for permission. Under Brazilian copyright law (which governs your actions), factual information can’t be copyrighted and nor can the order the ingredients of an egg (for example) are listed in.

  14. James, thank you for your blog.
    My question is , I noticed that blueberry, has palmitic acid. This is saturated fat, same fat as beef or butter, which is supposed to cause heart disease. What is the explanation for its presence in blueberries? Is palmitic acid an essential component, of the cellular wall.
    Any Chemistry explanation?
    Thanks,
    Winlove

  15. You should change the ingredient “water” to “dihydrogen oxide” to make it seem more sinister. And best not mention the radiation one is exposed to when eating a banana. I think it’s called the “banana dose equivalent”

  16. James, as a budding perfumer and complete layperson to organic chemistry, I want to thank you immensely for demystifying this subject, making it much more relevant and you say and embraceable. Also of tremendous benefit is all the learning available from everyone’s comments, whether I share them or not. I will be following and please continue to be bold in your simplistic style.
    Maxine Hyndman
    hertwoscents.com

  17. Were these fruits fed with any supplements during their growth? Don’t many fleshy fruits and vegetables readily absorb VOC’s and pollutants? Many of the latest articles hint towards the use of plant growth regulators in most fertilizers also, little is known about these substances.

    1. The spraying of plant growth regulators is commonplace in the cultivation of grapes, potatoes and many other crops. And while they do absorb pollutants, I’m analysing “all-natural” fruits here, and didn’t include any of the possible contaminants. I hope that answers your question!

      1. I believe your list would do more justice to your cause if you examined organic substances instead of some that are man-made or environmentally altered. Greenwashing can create blindness toward the real issue.
        Bananas as we eat them are man-made and not naturally occurring. Blueberries are a hybridized species created by many smaller species and selectively bred for today’s standards. Most chickens were exposed to arsenic in their feed since the 1940’s until Oct. 1, 2013. The long-term low level exposure has not been studied. Most eggs are also driven through many pieces of machinery. Also the conditions they are forced to endure put unknown stress on a pregnant mother and her egg. Finally they are forced to produce so many eggs thanks to hormones which are also used to enlarge the animals.
        Please look into organic posters and avoid inorganic.

      2. While agricultural practices alter our food in sometimes undesirable ways, the same agricultural practices have also increased food yields hugely and liberated hundreds of millions (or billions, perhaps) of people from spending their whole lives manually working on their land. There’s a good and bad side to every story.

        Interesting point!

  18. Hello James.

    GMO-products, pesticides, and other damaging agricutltural practies, are often defended through the arguments, that 1. they save the world’s poor from starvation, and that 2. they prevent them from “spending their whole lives manually working on their land.”

    My objections to those two arguments are these:

    1. The world’s poor are already facing serious health issues from the GMO and pesticide industries. Everything from obesity, to autoimmune diseases from toxic waste.

    2. We as modern people have been estranged from nature and the essentials of life, such as food productions, and it would do us well to return to a life that involves more manual labour on the land.

    Also these chemicals and practies we use in agriculture have even more dire consequences on nature itself, than our health. Europe alone has seen a sharp decrease of wildlife habitats, natural biotopes, and clean water sources, since the advent of modern agricultural technology. The multicultural fauna is disappearing before our very eyes!

    To blindly fear anything is as irrational as anything else. But we should keep in mind that with great power comes great responsibility. And we have yet to learn how to use our ingenuity within bichemicestry in a fully responsible manner.

    Other that I am always fascinated by scientific research, and I find your posters pretty awesome!

    1. Lasse, it seems you got several thing mixed up. GMO has nothing to do with chemicals and pesticides, nor even toxic waste. In many cases it’s through GMO products that people in poor countries can live longer and healthier.

      http://acsh.org/2013/11/tarnishing-golden-rice/

      The biggest producer of GMO products is mother nature. The evolution of flora, fauna and the human species is the result of genetic modification.

      1. To Bernd – I was not saying GMO was the same as chemicals, yet drawing a comparison, as GMO products, as well as pesticides, etc., are artificial.

        The GMO and chemicals we produce are damaging to nature. In that way they do indeed have plenty in common. Nature as well as the human race suffers under the consequences of human industries; that is apparent everywhere, one only needs to look at the way the country-side is devolving, and how heart diseaes, and stomach cancer are becoming the norm, even in poorer countries.

        The peoples of countries outside the Western modern socities are dying too of the poorly nutritious ingredients that we artifically produce. Artifically made chemicals and plants can never compete with that made naturally by the earth in nutritional value.

        Thus ‘saving’ the industrialising countries with GMO and pesticides, is a disservices that we are granting them, not a sustainable solution.

        Sure, if everyone just bought their food from McDonalds, none of us would starve. But we would all die at 45 from life-style related diseases.

      2. Lasse, I’m surprised by your arguments.
        “The GMO and chemicals we produce are damaging to nature.” You are yourself a genetically modified product of nature. It makes you an individual human being that is unique. No other human being among the 8 billion living and this planet are identical to you.
        But more often that you think, nature makes errors in its genetic processes that lead to ill health, disabilities and death.
        Your body is a complex chemical factory, it consists of and contains millions of different (chemical) molecules. Some of them may be harmful to your body, so the body tries to eliminate them, others are absolutely necessary. That’s how organic life functions.

        “and how heart diseaes, and stomach cancer are becoming the norm, even in poorer countries.” Nobody is immortal. Life has to end at some time and in some way. How would you like yours ends? Both heart diseases and cancer are symptoms of high age. Never in human history has the expectancy (Google is your friend) been higher than today. Pharmaceutical advances (chemistry!) are playing an important role in this.

        “The peoples of countries outside the Western modern socities are dying too of the poorly nutritious ingredients that we artifically produce.” What are those ingredients? Anyway they still have a higher life expectancy than their previous generations.

        “Thus ‘saving’ the industrialising countries with GMO and pesticides, is a disservices” Thanks to modern agriculture, there is enough food for 8 billion hungry human beings. Without it, they would simply starve. Is that your vision of a better world?

  19. I just stumbled over an interview with professor Norman Borlaug, Nobel prize winner and founder of the Green Revolution: “Without fertilizers, the agriculture on this planet could provide nutrition only for 2.5 to 3 billion humans.” Some of us would have to leave this planet, now!

  20. When companies use genetic mutants like the gro michel, blueberries. corn, and industrial trees, they in turn use weak genetics. They clone the same plant and never let natural selection occur.
    This is why the citrus are dying, this is why the bananas are dying, this is why the trees are rotting from fungus gnats.
    Scientists who believe that people are ill-informed should teach people instead of focusing on the misnomers. People may not be as “stupid” as you have incorrectly labeled them. They may be uninformed. Your job as a scientist is to inform them of the truth based on facts not conjecture.

    1. You say: “This is why the citrus are dying, this is why the bananas are dying, this is why the trees are rotting from fungus gnats.”
      You also say: “Your job as a scientist is to inform them of the truth based on facts not conjecture.”
      How about your facts?

      1. Citrus fungus is here http://www.azcentral.com/news/arizona/articles/20140309arizona-citrus-insects-destroy.html
        Banana fungus is here http://qz.com/164029/tropical-race-4-global-banana-industry-is-killing-the-worlds-favorite-fruit/
        I was mistaken in saying that it was fungus gnats. It’s douglas fir disease http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/04/douglas-fir_disease_spreading.html
        Also stumbled on another deadly fungus SPREADING DUE TO IGNORANCE http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/deadly-fungal-disease-detected-outside-pacific-northwest-f8C11126084.
        What do you have to gain by arguing with me?
        I want this poster to be accurate so that people get the real information. Do you want people to be uninformed?
        I can do research but I did not think I had to post references for everything I said to help this poster go international and educate. Never silence your critics with scarscasm or your words may end up hurting you.~Me

      2. “When companies use genetic mutants …. This is why the citrus are dying, this is why …”
        I don’t see the causal link, do you?

      3. All of the plants I’ve listed are genetically manipulated by man and no longer resemble their natural state. The plants are also industrialized and over propagated. How can the best genetics win when they all have the same genes? I will never know the taste of a real banana due to a fungus years ago. Fungus is the causal link and none of the manipulated plants have defenses.from new fungi.

  21. How did you get these percentages? e.g. sum of all the percentages of constituent components, for each fruit should be equal to 100%.

  22. One important thing that’s missing in your ingredients list is the % by weight of each ingredient.
    ~ You just breathed in a few molecules of Arsenic, etc., etc.

    (Also, as I clicked my cursor into this text box, your website instantly knew 3 pieces of personal information about me, without my having typed anything! – That’s scary!)

  23. You’ve left out all the ions! And this is not by any stretch original. In a magazine ad in the early 1980s, Monsanto did exactly the same thing for an orange. But unlike you, they were not out to educate the public but to mislead them into thinking that their use of compounds was entirely responsible.

  24. One main big issue is how these foods are produced: you see, mono-culture is destroying the vitality found in most fresh foods: e.g. what makes an egg fresh is the presence of mini volt(electricity voltage) measurable only in fresh eggs from farms. On this other hand the rest of eggs produces by caged chicken, is literally dead egg, with no vitality. This same argument is valid for every fruits, vegetables and oils that are now cheaply sold in many groceries.

  25. James. Brilliant work mate. My biggest concern and it has been proven is that organisations such as Isagenix, has used it to allay people’s fears about chemicals and how they use them in their products. I am going to write a little post on my page that this banana is a product of nature not a chemical reaction done in a lab. Would that be correct to state?

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