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The food industry does not stand still, and now we are already beginning to fear that soon the producers will feed us with oil cutlets. And, by the way, we are not unreasonably afraid, since oil is already used to produce important products that are used both in the food industry and in home cooking.
Proteins from oil
The problem of lack of complete proteins in the diet of people has long been very acute. Back at the end of the 19th century, people understood that food would soon be scarce, as humanity was growing very quickly. They tried to solve the food problem throughout the 20th century, and research continues to this day.
In the early 1960s, Academician Alexander Nesmeyanov, President of the USSR Academy of Sciences and Rector of Moscow State University, proposed a method for producing synthetic proteins from petrochemical waste. With the help of its technology, it is possible to obtain meat and dairy products, artificial caviar. The work of the Soviet chemist was carried out in two directions. On the one hand, amino acids, the basis of proteins, were synthesized from petroleum products.
On the other hand, yeast was grown on oil hydrocarbons, from which food proteins were then obtained. With the help of Nesmeyanov's technology, it was possible to obtain meat and dairy products that were 4-5 times cheaper than ordinary meat and milk. True, the structure of real meat from synthetic protein could not be reproduced, but scientists received sausages and semi-finished meat products, minced meat, cutlets.
These experiments began to fizzle out after the death of Nesmeyanov. The reason was, among other things, the distrust of Soviet citizens to synthetic rather than natural food, and I must say that the effect of artificial products on health has not yet been properly studied, there are opinions that they can have a negative effect. In addition, the mass production of artificial protein would undermine agriculture and deprive many Soviet citizens of jobs. Therefore, protein from oil never appeared in mass production.
Proteins were synthesized, but these products went to livestock feed. And nowadays, animal proteins have begun to be massively replaced by vegetable proteins, to produce pseudo-dairy products from the waste of grain crops, soybeans, legumes, and so on. Both in the food industry and in animal husbandry. So we come across petroleum products not only at a gas station and in a beauty salon (almost all creams and shampoos contain petroleum products), but also at the table several times a day.
Artificial granular caviar appeared as a result of an experiment by the group of Academician Nesmeyanov. At first, it was made from milk proteins and eggs, more precisely from dairy waste with the addition of gelatin. Such caviar got into mass production. It is still being produced, only not from dairy products, but from plant products: algae, fish waste, agar or gelatin.
Petroleum polymers are used to create chewing gum, although the gum itself is made from natural ingredients. But it gets softness and "chewiness" thanks to oil products and substances from them: artificial wax, glycerin, lanolin, stearic acid. Therefore, chewing gum decomposes very slowly, thanks to the oil.
Natural vanilla is expensive. Therefore, in the food industry, its artificial substitute is often used - vanillin. It is also made from oil. Artificial vanillin is much cheaper than natural pods, and much less is consumed - benefits from all sides.Vanillin is added to a huge number of products: baked goods, curd cheeses, mass, and so on.
Food colors and preservatives
Many food additives, colorants, preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, flavor enhancers are made from oil. Sodium benzoate is widely used in the food industry as a preservative for meat and dairy products. Suppresses the development of microorganisms, bacteria, molds, yeasts.
In large doses, it is carcinogenic, impairs the secretion of food enzymes responsible for redox reactions, and enzymes that break down fats and starch. Almost all food colors are made from petroleum or coal tar. And all are not good for your health. The most harmful are red dyes, which are more or less strong carcinogens.