In terms of cooking difficulty, pudding is one of the simplest desserts you can make -- though you would never know it from its silky, satisfying taste. But for one reason or another, we tend to opt for just a little more convenience by buying the store-bought kind (where all we have to do is mix the powder packet with milk, or better yet, just peel pack the foil seal).
Have you ever stopped to look at what's in your convenient pudding treat? We all know that it isn't just the simple combination of eggs, milk, sugar and cornstarch like when we make it from scratch. But you might be surprised by some of the ingredients that have made their way into your dessert. A typical ingredient list can include: non-fat milk, sugar, dextrose, partially hydrogenated palm oil, modified cornstarch, natural and artificial flavor, salt disodium phosphate, yellow 5, yellow 6, artificial color and BHA.
While most of those ingredients are fairly standard, there are a few on the list that aren't exactly harmless:
BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
BHA is a preservative that's used primarily in food, food packaging, animal feed, cosmetics, rubber and petroleum. (Yum, instant pudding shares a similar material to the gloves you may use for cleaning your home.) There's quite a bit of controversy surrounding BHA. Some studies have linked this preservative with an increased risk of cancer. It hasn't yet been confirmed in humans, but the state of California felt there was enough evidence to list it as an official carcinogen. Not exactly what you want to be ingesting with your dessert.
Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils
Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils -- which contain trans fats -- have been called out for some time now as an unacceptable ingredient in our processed foods. Many companies have removed it from their food products, but some store-bought puddings are behind the times -- meaning this undesirable ingredient can still be found in a number of our instant puddings. Trans fats have been linked to increased risks of coronary heart disease. Some studies have also suggested that it can elevate the risk of diabetes, obestiy and Alzheimer's -- just a couple of maladies off the long list of health issues resulting from trans fat consumption.
Another worrisome ingredient that sneaks its way into this dessert is yellow 5 and yellow 6 food coloring. As we recently discussed on Kitchen Daily, these food dyes are suspected of being responsible for ADHD in children; the U.K. Food Standards Agency has issued an official warning of this side effect. Other possible side effects include increase risk of cancer and severe allergic reactions.
That's quite a lot to take in with a simple pudding treat. With that in mind, wouldn't you rather skip those skeptical ingredients and make your own pudding -- with only the best ingredients involved? Lucky for us, pudding is such an easy dessert to put together that we really don't need to rely on the store-bought variety -- it requires just a couple of minutes of prep time and a short list of ingredients. Click through the slideshow below for mouth-watering pudding recipes.
How do you feel about instant pudding? Leave a comment below!
Arborio rice is a great variety to use for rice pudding since the grains stay perfectly firm and chewy. Topping this simple pudding recipe with large shavings of toasted coconut really takes it up a notch. Get the Coconut Arborio Rice Pudding recipe
You know the beloved sweet potato casserole that we all fight over on the Thanksgiving table? Well, this sweet potato pudding contains all those flavors, and more. You'll be wondering why you didn't think of this before. Get the Baked Sweet Potato Pudding recipe
The flavors of the tropics -- mango and lime -- take over this sweet pudding and make a great dessert to brighten your day. The recipe only calls for a handful of ingredients, making it that much easier to taste this tropical bliss. Get the Mango Pudding recipe
This is no ordinary rice pudding -- though really, rice pudding is pretty amazing as it is. This version is topped with a medley of dried fruit -- figs, apricots and sour cherries -- cooked down in vanilla, white wine and sugar. Get the Rice Pudding with Dried Fruit Compote recipe
When you can't decide between chocolate pudding or mousse, you should try this chocolatey recipe. You'll be surprised to find what ingredients are used to make this dish so silky smooth. Get the Chocolate Mousse Pudding recipe
Goat cheese isn't just for crackers, it transitions smoothly into a dessert. Not only does it contribute to the rich creaminess, but it also provides a great tangy flavor, which adds a complexity to simple sweet puddings. Get the Goat Cheese Puddings recipe
Tapioca pudding is an old favorite that gets forgotten about all too often. This recipe tweaks the tried-and-true recipe by adding a hint of maple syrup and topping it with a spiced maple-nut topping. Get the Maple-Walnut Tapioca Pudding recipe
You don't have to wait for summertime to enjoy this red berry pudding -- you can easily use frozen strawberries or raspberries in place of fresh ones. The whipped cream served atop is mixed with greek yogurt, sneaking in some great nutrition and a nice tangy flavor. Get the Berry Pudding with Cream recipe
This feed contains the video's "How to Make White Chocolate Pudding" info API
Bananas are not necessarily a popular flavor for puddings, but they should be. These yellow fruits add a natural sweetness and contribute to the creamy texture of this pudding recipe. The vanilla wafers, served as a crumble atop, add a nice texture. Get the Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafer Crumble recipe