Have you ever tried maltodextrin? What about trehalose? Any desire to ingest some potassium chloride or sodium phosphates?
If you’ve eaten Taco Bell, chances are you’ve ingested some—if not all—of these ingredients. And the fast food joint is happy for you to know it. So happy, in fact, that it dedicated a Web page
to explaining some of the unpronounceable ingredients and answering some frequently asked questions about “those other ingredients.”
For example, here’s the story behind a couple of the ingredients above, as explained by Taco Bell:
Maltodextrin: It sounds weird, but it's actually a form of mildly sweet sugar we use to balance the flavor. You may have had it the last time you had a natural soda.
Trehalose: It’s a naturally occurring sugar that we use to improve the taste of our seasoned beef.
It’s a perfectly logical explanation for both, right? Popular Science
seems to believe that, in moderation, these unpronounceable ingredients aren’t all bad:
The sentiment against "unpronounceable ingredients" is harmful. It's anti-chemistry. It makes chemical names seem monstrous and impossible to understand. It also lumps together a number of ingredients that have different effects on human health and have been studied to different degrees. It's a well-intentioned health message that relies on fearing science.
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Taco Bell gives us a great reminder that content marketing doesn’t have to be hard—it just has to be valuable to the consumer. That, and a little bit of transparency goes a long way.