THE BLOG
10/20/2010 12:49 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Is a Strawberry Healthier Than a Twinkie?

If you are reading health magazines or watching shows on how to eat better, you might have become accustomed to reading the food labels you find on a can of beans, a box of cookies, or the packaging of a processed meal as an easy way to determine the nutrition content of what you are putting into your body. Your next step might be to read the very often endless list of ingredients.

Typically, we're told that more than 7 or 8 ingredients is a red flag: stay away from that food product.

Processed cookies fall into this category, lining up an impressive list of bizarre ingredients from rock powder to weird flavors. Simple logic will lead you to conclude that this is not good for your health.

To push this logic further, I went ahead and looked for the matter that makes a simple strawberry. You will be impressed by the very long list of compounds found in this healthy fruit: flavors, sulfur compounds, acids, and more.

Ever wonder why a strawberry tastes like a strawberry and not like a banana?

The difference lies in all that Mother Nature put in this fruit. Prepare to be shocked by the long list...frightening, isn't it?!

Acids

* Formic acid
* 3-Hydroxyoctanoic acid
* Acetic acid
* 16 Nonanoic acid
* Propanoic acid
* Non-3-enoic acid
* 2-Methylpropanoic acid
* Decanoic acid
* Butanoic acid
* Dec-2-enoic acid
* 2-Methylbutanoic acid
* Undecanoic acid
* 3-Methylbutanoic acid
* Dodecanoic acid
* 2-Methylbut-2-enoic acid
* Tridecanoic acid
* Pentanoic acid
* Tetradecanoic acid
* 4-Methylpentanoic acid
* Tetradec-2-enoic acid
* 2-Methylpent-2-enoic acid
* Pentadecanoic acid
* 2-Methylpent-3-enoic acid
* Hexadecanoic acid
* Hexanoic acid
* Hexadec-9-enoic acid
* Hex-2-enoic acid
* Heptadecanoic acid
* 5-Methylhexanoic acid
* Octadec-9-enoic acid
* 3-Hydroxyhexanoic acid
* Octadeca-9,12-dienoic acid
* Heptanoic acid
* Octadeca-9,12,15-trienoic acid
* Octanoic acid
* Nonadecanoic acid
* Oct-2-enoic acid
* Eicosanoic acid

Alcohols

* Methanol
* Hex-1-en-3-ol
* Ethanol
* Heptan-1-ol
* Propan-1-ol
* Heptan-2-ol
* Propan-2-ol
* Heptan-3-ol
* 2-Methylpropan-1-ol
* Octan-1-ol
* Butan-1-ol
* Octan-2-ol
* Butan-2-ol
* Octan-3-ol
* 2-Methylbutan-1-ol
* Oct-3-en-1-ol
* 3-Methylbutan-1-ol
* Oct-1-en-3-ol
* 2-Methyl-butan-2-ol
* Nonan-1-ol
* Pentan-1-ol
* Nonan-2-ol
* Pentan-2-ol Non-1-en-3-ol
* Pentan-3-ol
* Decan-1-ol
* Pent-1-en-3-ol
* Decan-2-ol
* Pent-3-en-2-ol
* Undecan-2-ol
* Hexan-1-ol
* Dodecan-1-ol
* Hexan-2-ol
* Dodecan-2-ol
* Hexan-3-ol
* Tridecan-2-ol
* trans-Hex-2-en-1-ol
* Pentadecan-2-ol

Aldehydes

* Acetaldehyde
* cis-Hex-3-enal
* Propanal
* Hexa-2,4-dienal
* Propenal
* Heptanal
* Butanal
* Hept-2-enal
* But-2-enal
* Oct-2-enal
* Pentanal
* Nonanal
* Pent-2-enal
* Decanal
* Hexanal
* Deca-2,4-dienal
* trans-Hex-2-enal

Ketones

* Propanone
* 4-Hydroxy-4-methyl-pentan-2-one
* Butanone
* Hexan-2-one
* Methylbutanone
* Heptan-2-one
* Diacetyl (Butan-2,4-dione)
* Octan-2-one
* Pentan-2-one
* Nonan-2-one
* Pentan-3-one
* Decan-2-one
* Pent-3-en-2-one
* Undecan-2-one

Esters

* Methyl formate
* Ethyl 2-methylbutanoate
* Ethyl formate
* Isopropyl 2-methylbutanoate
* Butyl formate
* Butyl 2-methylbutanoate
* 3-Methylbutyl formate
* 2-Methylpropyl 2-methylbutanoate
* Hexyl formate
* 2-Methylbutyl 2-methylbutanoate
* Methyl acetate
* 3-Methylbutyl 2-methylbutanoate
* Ethyl acetate
* Hexyl 2-methylbutanoate
* Propyl acetate
* Octyl 2-methylbutanoate
* Isopropyl acetate
* Ethyl 3-methylbutanoate
* Butyl acetate
* Butyl 3-methylbutanoate
* 2-Methylpropyl acetate
* Methyl 3-hydroxybutanoate
* 2-Methylbutyl acetate
* Ethyl 3-oxobutanoate
* 3-Methylbut-2-enyl acetate
* Ethyl pentanoate
* Pentyl acetate
* Methyl 4-methylpentanoate
* Isoamyl acetate
* Methyl hexanoate
* 1-Methylbutyl acetate
* Ethyl hexanoate
* 3-Methylbutyl acetate
* Butyl hexanoate
* Pentyl acetate
* Pentyl hexanoate
* Hexyl acetate
* 3-Methylbutyl hexanoate
* 1-Methylpentyl acetate
* 1-Methylbutyl hexanoate
* trans-Hex-2-enyl acetate
* Hexyl hexanoate
* cis-Hex-3-enyl acetate
* Hex-2-enyl hexanoate
* Hex-1-en-3-yl acetate
* trans-Hex-3-enyl hexanoate
* 1-Methylhexyl acetate
* 1-Methylhexyl hexanoate
* Hept-1-en-3-yl acetate
* Octyl hexanoate
* Octyl acetate
* Decyl hexanoate
* Decyl acetate
* Ethyl trans-hex-2-enoate
* Methyl propanoate
* Methyl 3-hydroxyhexanoate
* Ethyl propanoate
* Ethyl 3-hydroxyhexanoate
* cis-Hex-3-enyl propanoate
* Methyl heptanoate
* Methyl 1-methyl propanoate
* Ethyl heptanoate
* Ethylmethyl propanoate
* Methyl octanoate
* Methyl butanoate
* Ethyl octanoate
* Ethyl butanoate
* Isopropyl octanoate
* Propyl butanoate
* Butyl octanoate
* Isopropyl butanoate
* 3-Methylbutyl octanoate
* Butyl butanoate
* Hexyl octanoate
* 2-Methylpropyl butanoate
* cis-Hex-3-enyl octanoate
* Pentyl butanoate
* Methyl nonanoate
* 1-Methylbutyl butanoate
* 2-Methylpropyl nonanoate
* 3-Methylbutyl butanoate
* 3-Methylbutyl nonanoate
* Pent-3-enyl butanoate
* Methyl decanoate
* Hexyl butanoate
* Ethyl decanoate
* trans-Hex-2-enyl butanoate
* Isopropyl decanoate
* cis-Hex-3-enyl butanoate
* Hexyl decanoate
* 1-Methylhexyl butanoate
* Methyl dodecanoate
* Octyl butanoate
* Ethyl dodecanoate
* 1-Methyloctyl butanoate
* Methyl hexadecanoate
* Decyl butanoate
* Methyl octadecanoate
* Ethyl but-2-enoate
* Methyl octadec-9-enoate
* Methyl 2-methylbutanoate
* Methyl octadeca-9,12,15-trienoate

Lactones

* γ-Hexalactone
* δ-Octalactone
* δ-Hexalactone
* γ-Decalactone
* δ-Heptalactone
* δ-Decalactone
* γ-Octalactone
* γ-Dodecalactone

Acetals

* Dimethoxymethane
* 1-Butoxy-1-ethoxyethane
* Diethoxymethane
* 1-Ethoxy-1-pentoxyethane
* 1,1-Dimethoxyethane
* 1-Ethoxy-1-hexoxyethane
* 1-Ethoxy-1-methoxyethane
* 1-Ethoxy-1-hex-3-enoxyethane
* 1-Butoxy-1-methoxyethane
* 1,1-Dihexoxyethane 17, 18
* 1-Methoxy-1-pentoxyethane
* 1,1-Diethoxypentane
* 1,1-Diethoxyethane
* 1,1-Diethoxyoctane
* 1-Ethoxy-1-propoxyethane

Furans

* 2-Furfural
* 2,5-Dimethyl-4-hydroxy-2H-furan-3-one
* 2-Furancarboxylic acid
* 2,5-Dimethyl-4-methoxy-2H-furan-3-one

Aromatic compounds

* Benzyl alcohol
* Benzyl acetate
* 2-Phenylethanol
* 2-Phenethyl acetate
* 2-(4-Hydroxyphenyl)ethanol
* Methyl salicylate
* trans-Cinnamyl alcohol
* Ethyl salicylate
* Benzaldehyde
* Methyl cinnamate
* Acetophenone
* Ethyl cinnamate
* Benzoic acid
* 4-Vinylphenol
* 4-Methylbenzoic acid
* 2-Methoxy-4-vinylphenol
* 2-Hydroxybenzoic acid
* Eugenol
* Phenylacetic acid
* 1-Methylnaphthalene
* 3-Phenylpropanoic acid
* 2-Methylnaphthalene
* trans-Cinnamic acid

Sulfur compounds

* Methanethiol
* Methylthiol acetate
* Ethylthioethane
* Methylthiol butanoate
* Ethyldithioethane
* Dimethyl disulphide

T erpenes

* Limonene
* Borneol
* a-Pinene
* Isofenchyl alcohol
* b-Pinene
* Linalool oxides
* Linalool
* a-Ionone
* Nerolidol
* b-Ionone
* a-Terpineol

b-D-Glucopyranosides

* Benzyl b-D-glucopyranoside
* 2,5-Dimethyl-4-hydroxy-2H-furan-3-one
* b-D-glucopyranoside
* 2-(4-Hydroxyphenyl)-ethyl b-D-glucopyranoside
* 2,5-Dimethyl-4-hydroxy-2H-furan-3-one
* 6@O-malonyl-b-D-glucopyranoside

*From Zabetakis I., Holden M.A.,, (1997), Strawberry Flavour: Analysis and Biosynthesis, J Sci Food Agric Vol.74, pp421-434

There you go, the list of ingredients on your Oreo Cookie box is not even that frightening :).

Of course, this is a satirical article intended to prove just how much nutrition labels really ought to make a difference to our food choices. Indeed, it's not because an ingredient list is long that the food is unhealthy, and by the same token, a short list doesn't deem a food product nutritious.

And of course, keep in mind that a twinkie -- though not the epitome of healthy food -- has never killed anyone.