This page is dedicated to archiving the unusual ingredients that you see in every day products like foods, cosmetics, and drugs, and explaining what they actually are in laymen's terms.

Carbonated Water

Description: - Carbonated water is simply water that has had pressurized carbon dioxide forced into it. The liquid is usually kept pressurized in its container to prevent the carbon dioxide from escaping the liquid, but once the pressure is gone (i.e. the containter is opened) the carbon dioxide escapes causing the liquid to bubble.
Used In: - Soft drinks, club soda, seltzer water
Safety: - Carbonated water can cause excess burping and flatulence. There are also disputable claims that it robs the body of calcium.

Citric Acid

Description: - Citric acid is a weak organic acid that occurs naturally in most living organisms which use it in their metabolism; it is especially abundant in citrus fruits. The acid is primarily added to foods to give them a sour taste, but it also works as a natural preservative and an antioxidant. Many cleaning agents utilized citric acid for it's special environmentally friendly cleaning properties.
Used In: - Soft drinks, cleaning agents
Safety: - Because citric acid is a weak acid, ingesting large amounts isn't harmful and your body can quickly metabolize excessive amounts.

Folic Acid

Description: - Folic Acid is the synthetic form of folate, also called vitamin B-9, that is added to many fortified foods. Your body uses folate to help produce blood and DNA. It helps prevent anemia and may also help prevent cancer. Folate naturally occurs in green leafy vegetables, beans, and peas and several other plants.
Used In: - Fortified foods such as cereal, bread, and pastas.
Safety: - Not enough folic acid can cause diarrhea, weight loss, weakness, heart palpitations, and pregnancy difficulties. Too much folic acid may mask the problems with B-12 deficiency.


Description: - Fructose is a simple sugar found in several foods and naturally in human blood. The sugar naturally comes from honey, tree fruits, berries, melons, and some root vegetables. Fructose is used as a food sweetener.
Used In: - Candy, gum.
Safety: - Excess fructose is carried into the lower intestine which may cause gas, water retention, bloating, and diarrhea.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Description: - Regular corn syrup is the glucose derived from corn. High fructose corn syrup is modified corn syrup where some of the glucose in the corn syrup is converted into fructose which is sweeter. It is used as a cheap sweetener, especially in areas of high corn production like the USA.
Used In: - Soft drinks, juice.
Safety: - Too much high fructose corn syrup over a prolonged period may cause Type II Diabetes in some people.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) (Flavour Enhancer 621)

Description: - Monosodium glutamate is a salt with glutamic acid and is used to enhance flavor by giving it a umami flavor (umami is Japanese, Westerner's refer to the flavor as "savory"), one of the five basic tastes. For cheaper quality foods, more MSGs are added to give more flavor without having to add more expensive spices. MSG's used to be derived from yeast extracts, seaweed, and fermented soy products, but they are now derived from fermented starch, sugar beets, sugar cane, and molasses. Glutamic acid is one of the twenty amino acids that make up human proteins and is very important for cell function. The human body can manufacturer it from simpler compounds making it unnecessary to eat glutamic acid in foods.
Used In: - Many Asian foods, snack foods
Safety: - Although you'll often see "No MSGs" in Western Asian restaurants, the FDA lists monosodium glutamate as "generally recognized as safe". There has been a great deal of controversy about possible harmful effects of MSGs including headaches, nausea, upset stomachs, and other more serious symptoms, but none of these have been properly tested for. In many Asian countries MSGs are even put into vitamin supplements and don't seem to have any obviously detrimental effects.

Phosphoric Acid

Description: - Phosphoric acid comes from a mix of sulfuric acid and calcium phosphate. It is used widely by modern industry for detergents, rust removal, fuel cells, dental etching, and anesthesia. It is also put into several consumables such as soft drinks to provide a tangy taste.
Used In: - Soft drinks, cleaning agents, rust removers.
Safety: - Too much phosphoric acid during times of growth may cause a loss of calcium and weaker bones.

Sodium Carbonate (Soda Ash)

Description: - Sodium carbonate is a type of salt that gives has a cooling alkaline taste. It can be naturally found in the ashes of several plants, but it produced artificially from common salt. Sodium carbonate is used in several different industries including food, glass, wood pulp, detergents, water treatment, and many others.
Used In: - Instant noodles, detergents
Safety: - In large quantities sodium carbonate can cause skin irritation.