2

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Which food properties can be measured with amateur equipment?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 19, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Well, maybe this is a silly question:

There are a lot of quantifiable properties we sometimes like to watch in a food, like how many grams of carbs, protein or fat there is, how much omega 3/6, how mg of vitamins, minerals or other micronutrients certain food contains, etc.

Now, I was thinking, if some of those properties can be measured at home with some basic (and cheap) chemistry equipment. Like for example, I could measure how much fructose certain apple sort contains, or how much omega 3 is there in some oil. My knowledge of chemistry is rather limited, so I'd like to ask some chemist here if something like this is even possible - just for fun of it, or to learn a bit.

2bdc990a200584a385650cf68475f095

on September 20, 2011
at 09:50 AM

Got the thingy right next to my NMR ;)

C44bb43563e520dff542e7a39a7eb31e

(105)

on September 19, 2011
at 10:50 PM

I bet there's an untapped market for products that do exactly what you're talking about.

1368bb49d7a1455a3c477aea04363b03

(169)

on September 19, 2011
at 09:19 PM

I lol'ed, but agree with FED. It seems with the exception of quantity, we're very limited. But I've very far from a chemist or biologist.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on September 19, 2011
at 09:08 PM

LOL! I'm leaving that ass it is :)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 19, 2011
at 08:53 PM

I want to see a diet based on these factors instead of macronutrients! Also, re your second bullet point, I've only got one ass, and I'm not sure it knows how to chew anything... ;)

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4 Answers

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Medium avatar

(19479)

on September 19, 2011
at 08:21 PM

With minimal equipment, you can test the following properties...

  • Sproinginess: pinch food with your fingers and see how much it "sproings" back. For example, raw eggs have a sproinginess of "O".

  • Chewability: place a piece of food into your mouth and asses it's ability to be chewed completely. Celery and game meats are both low scoring foods while bone marrow scores very high.

  • The F Factor: How readily you can "F-up" a given food. Fresh fruit generally scores low while high-scoring foods such as meringues and souffles are easy to "F-up".

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 19, 2011
at 08:53 PM

I want to see a diet based on these factors instead of macronutrients! Also, re your second bullet point, I've only got one ass, and I'm not sure it knows how to chew anything... ;)

Medium avatar

(19479)

on September 19, 2011
at 09:08 PM

LOL! I'm leaving that ass it is :)

1368bb49d7a1455a3c477aea04363b03

(169)

on September 19, 2011
at 09:19 PM

I lol'ed, but agree with FED. It seems with the exception of quantity, we're very limited. But I've very far from a chemist or biologist.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on September 19, 2011
at 10:43 PM

Unless you've got a GC/MS sitting around your kitchen, doing things like analyzing oils for omegas is going to be impossible. Even then you're going to need a huge amount of equipment just to prepare samples. In short, no, it's simply not feasible. For what it's worth, I'm a chemist.

2bdc990a200584a385650cf68475f095

on September 20, 2011
at 09:50 AM

Got the thingy right next to my NMR ;)

0
74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on September 19, 2011
at 10:36 PM

There are many websites online that will show you how to make a calorimeter with simple ingredients like a tin or aluminum can, paper clips, and cork.

Here's a couple of examples:

http://www.ehow.com/how_4893595_make-simple-calorimeter.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_7603684_make-precise-calorimeter.html

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/FoodSci_p012.shtml

There's also a ton of them on youtube, if a visual description is more helpful. :)

0
7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on September 19, 2011
at 07:45 PM

Depends, do you consider, say, a centrifuge to be amateur equipment?

Seriously, beyond very basic and elementary school level type experiments (like burning a piece of food over a flask of water and measuring how much the water heats up to provide a ridiculously inaccurate estimate of the energy content of the food) I am having trouble thinking of anything you could easily do at home that would actually be informative. But I'm not a chemist, I'm a lowly agroecology student, so maybe someone else has ideas.

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