Dwight Eschliman’s upcoming book Ingredients is set to be released this September.

The book includes close-up photos of 75 common food additives and is an unprecedented visual exploration of what is really inside our food, setting the record straight on the controversial and fascinating science of chemical and synthetic additives in processed food—from Twinkies and McNuggets to organic protein bars and healthy shakes.

Already featured on Wired and Fast Company, Ingredients promises to be an eye-opener.

From far away, the ingredients listed on nutritional labels look like a pretty homogenous set of mildly-colored powders and liquids, but these up-close photos emphasize their variety, revealing the small tweaks in viscosity and texture that make the difference between a great emulsifier and a shiny coating. In the book, science writer Steve Ettlinger dissects those details, exploring each ingredient’s journey from raw material to highly refined ingredient to your plate. – Wired

You can now pre-order the book on Amazon.

In the meantime, here are some images from Ingredients.


Chlorophyll, extracted with solvents like acetone and petroleum, is used to dye some gum, ice cream, and absinthe. Image: Dwight Eschliman | Source: Fast Company


Red No. 40, aka 6-hydroxy-5-(2-methoxy-5-methyl-4-sufophenylazo)-2-naphthalenesulfonic acid sodium salt, is made from a mix of gray powders that come from petroleum products like benzene. But it ends up red, and turns things like lemonade pink. Yellow No. 5 is made through a similar process. Image: Dwight Eschliman | Source:Fast Company


To make mono- and diglycerides, factories heat vegetable oil (or lard) to get a slurry of glycerin called a “milkshake,” and then dry it into flakes, powders, and beads. Manufacturers use the fats in baked goods, peanut butter, candy, and coffee creamer. Image: Dwight Eschliman | Source: Fast Company


Lycopene, the phytochemical that makes tomatoes red, is chemically extracted from leftover tomato guts after companies make sauce or juice. It’s used as food coloring. Image: Dwight Eschliman | Source: Fast Company