Crunchy Snacking

Parents are looking for snacks which are tasty and healthy. Well most of the time. Sometimes they go for the crunch and flavor, before nutrition. (Hey, I even did once upon a time.) Even though people are more often reading the Nutrition Label, many times they just gloss over the ingredient list. What’s surprising is what the Nutrition Label doesn’t tell you.

Cheetos is a popular snack. If you take the time to read the Nutrition Label, you’ll see somewhat recognizable “healthy” ingredients mixed in with the chemicals (see the ingredient list below).

Corn meal, whey, cheddar cheese, sour cream and citric acid (vitamin C) are listed. So what could be so wrong with that?

Cheetos Ingredients:
Enriched Corn Meal (Corn Meal, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Thiamin Monoitrate, Riboflavin, and Frolic Acid), Vegetable Oil (Contains one or more of the following: corn, soybean, or sunflower oil), Whey, Salt, Cheddar Cheese, (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes). Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Maltodextrin, Disodium Phosphate, Sour Cream (Cultured Cream, Nonfat Milk), Artificial Flavor, Monosodium Glutmate (MSG), Lactic Acid, Artificial Colors (Including Yellow 6) and Citric Acid. Contains Milk Ingredients.

Read on–there’s artificial flavor, artificial color (including yellow #6), trans fat (partially hydrogenated soybean oil). Okay, so there are some dubious ingredients, but you decide it’s really not all bad once in a while and purchase a bag for your family.

But the label doesn’t tell the entire story. This is how Cheetos are made:

Cornmeal Extrusion
Cornmeal is pumped 100 yards from storage through a tube into a hopper at the factory. The meal enters an extruding machine, which rubs, melts and heats the cornmeal, which boils and pops into a cylindrical shape.
(IF there was any nutrition in Cheetos, it’s destroyed in the extruding machine.) The extruder expels the Cheetos, which fall onto a conveyor belt.

The Cheetos are fried as they travel through a pan of hot vegetable oil. They are fried until crunchy, when their moisture level falls to less than 2 percent. (This is where the trans fat is added.) When done, they move to another conveyor belt.

Adding Cheese
This is where a surprise hides. Nozzles spray a mix, consisting of oil and powdered cheese, onto the Cheetos, coating them thoroughly. (Did you notice the cheese in Cheetos comes from powdered cheese?) The coated pieces fall onto another conveyer belt, where they cool before they are packaged and shipped from the factory.

The Cheetos ingredients list only sates “Cheddar Cheese”–yet powdered cheese is used. See the ingredient list above.

Below is an ingredient list for powdered cheese I found online. Note the cheese content is up to 15 percent. Not a lot of cheese in Cheetos! There are more chemicals and more MSG, plus more MSG as autolyzed yeast extract is MSG, than cheese. Read more about MSG: Click Here.

A typical cheese powder may be a combination of up to 15 percent cheese, whey, vegetable oil, maltodextrin, and calcium caseinate. Often times, artificial flavors, natural flavors and flavor potentiators like disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, MSG, autolyzed yeast extract and enzyme modified cheeses are added to cheese powder as flavor enhancers.

Cheetos in reality is a chemical snack. (MSG is the predominant chemical that gives this snack it’s flavor punch.)  I don’t want to eat chemicals even once in a while. If you want a crunchy snack purchase baked potato chips or Sun Chips.

How about making your own chips? Homemade baked tortilla chips are easy to make. Cut fresh tortillas into triangles, coat with olive oil and any seasoning you like. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake fro about 5 minutes at 400 degrees. They are done when the edges are crisp. Cool and enjoy!


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  1. Pingback: – Transforming a picky eater into a healthy eater … | Fresh Green World

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