Written by: Wallace Merriman

The Anatomy of a Dorito
Posted on:Jan 28, 2011

By Fooducate

Munching on savory snacks with the “Os” suffix (Tostitos, Doritos, Cheetos) goes hand in hand with playoff Sundays and the Superbowl.

Would you like to know what you’re putting in your body each time you reach for a Doritos Cool Ranch?

What you need to know:

Question: How many Doritos do you eat in a sitting?
If you answered more than 12, you’re eating more than a “legal” serving size. That’s right, only 12 Doritos count as a serving.
The tiny serving is 150 calories, including 1 gram of saturated fat, 180 mg of sodium (8% of the daily max) and practically no vitamins and minerals. The one bright spot – 2 grams of fiber.

Here is the ingredient list for Doritos Cool Ranch, all 34 (!) of them:

Whole Corn, Vegetable Oil (Contains One or More of the Following: Corn, Soybean and/or Sunflower Oil), Corn Maltodextrin, Salt, Tomato Powder, Corn Starch, Lactose, Whey, Nonfat Milk, Corn Syrup Solids, Onion Powder, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Monosodium Glutamate, Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Dextrose, Malic Acid, Buttermilk, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Acetate, Artificial Color (Including Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 5), Sodium Caseinate, Spice, Citric Acid, Disodium Inosinate, and Disodium Guanylate.

Let’s try to make sense of some of the ingredients in this list:

Vegetable oil – there are several options, whichever is cheaper on the day of manufacturing. None of these oils has a good amount of healthy fats like canola or olive oil.

Corn Maltodextrin – Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive. A polysaccharide is a type of carbohydrate. It is produced from starches of corn, wheat, potatoes or rice. It is used as a bulking ingredient.

Corn Syrup Solids – are a type of sugar.

Malic Acid – is naturally found in unripe foods and creates a tart flavor. It is industrially manufactured for use in processed foods.

Natural and Artificial Flavors – Companies add natural and artificial flavorings to make products taste better. They are created in a lab and the formulations are guarded as trade secrets. In many (but not all) cases the added flavorings compensate for a lack of the natural ingredients you would expect (for example fruits in a fruit snack, or spices in a prepared meal). A home prepared dish or snack made with quality ingredients does not need the addition of flavorings, natural or artificial.
Sodium Acetate – a salty flavoring. It is also known as hot ice.

Artificial colors – using these is so wrong. Studies have shown that these colors may have various detrimental effects to our health, especially children. Did you know that in the UK, products with Red #40 need a warning label stating they may cause hyperactivity in kids?

Sodium Caseinate – a tasteless and odorless white powder used to emulsify foods.

Disodium Inosinate – is a flavor enhancer, much like MGS. It’s source is either pigs or fish. On Frito Lay’s website, Doritos is marked as porcine free, leaving us to guess that fish is the source.

Disodium Guanylate – another flavor enhancer, usually found together with Disodium Inosinate. Again, sourced from fish. Not recommended for babies or asthmatics.

Bottom line: too many chemicals create a NOT SO COOL ranch product.

What to do at the supermarket:
If you’re going to have a savory snack, opt for the ones with a tiny number of ingredients, usually the unflavored tortilla chips. Add the flavors you want in the dip. Just watch the portion size. It’s very easy to eat 2 or 3 official servings and discover you’ve munched on 45o calories, all this even before halftime…