Chemistry Life Hacks: Food Edition

Saturday, January 20, 2018


0:15 – Make low calorie rice
1:22 – Keep your fruit from oxidizing and turning brown
2:32 – Tenderize your meat quickly

Reactions is back with another round of chemistry life hacks. Our latest episode brings chemistry to the kitchen, and features science-backed tips to cook rice with fewer calories, get extra juicy chicken (when you don’t have time to marinate) and keep sliced fruit from browning too quickly. Watch the video and find out how to use chemistry to give your food a flavor boost.

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Producer/Writer: Kirk Zamieroski
Executive Producer: Adam Dylewski
Scientific consultants:
Dan Souza
Darcy Gentleman, Ph.D.
Kyle Nackers

Low-cal rice:

Fruit for later:
Hack –
Browning –

Timely tenderizer:
Tenderizer hack –
Meats and Proteins –

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What Does Starvation Do To The Body?

We all know what hunger feels like, but what happens to our bodies if we stop eating? What exactly is the science behind starvation?

Is The North Korean Government To Blame For Starving Citizens? ►►►►
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How Long Can a Person Survive Without Food?
“The duration of survival without food is greatly influenced by factors such as body weight, genetic variation, other health considerations and, most importantly, the presence or absence of dehydration. For total starvation in healthy individuals receiving adequate hydration, reliable data on survival are hard to obtain.”

The Psychology of Hunger
“In November 1944, 36 young men took up residence in the corridors and rooms of the University of Minnesota football stadium. They were not members of the football team. Rather, they were volunteers preparing for a nearly yearlong experiment on the psychological and physiological effects of starvation. Known as the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, the study was a project of the newly established Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene at the University of Minnesota, an interdisciplinary research institution with an emphasis on nutrition and human biology.”

Brain Foods: The Effects of Nutrients on Brain Function
“It has long been suspected that the relative abundance of specific nutrients can affect cognitive processes and emotions. Newly described influences of dietary factors on neuronal function and synaptic plasticity have revealed some of the vital mechanisms that are responsible for the action of diet on brain health and mental function. Several gut hormones that can enter the brain, or that are produced in the brain itself, influence cognitive ability.”

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  1. Eric V says:

    one problem with the baking soda on meat : meat bacteriae loves higher ph . so if you raise the ph and leave it on the countertop, bacteriae will have a party .

  2. Alicia T says:

    Can this be done with brown rice as well?

  3. Jose Rueda says:

    Can you share some literature about the amylose-lipid complex? Specifically where the reduced calories benefits is explained further? I love your videos! Thank you for sharing chemistry in such an entertaining way.

  4. Sazy Plew says:

    Re RICE: Reducing the calorie content of the rice was only proven true with one SPECIFIC VARIETY of rice & more precise measurements were used. If you put too much coconut oil in relation to rice you end up consuming more calories via excess fat; not enough oil & some sugars don't react. Take home: don't count your calories with this method. If you use this method, I'd factor in all rice and oil calories "as is" just in case the variety of rice you're consuming doesn't show a calorie reduction or your measured rice to oil errs towards higher calories and take any reduction in calories as a bonus. Another thing the vid doesn't mention is once you've chilled your rice you can re-heat it to eat w/out disrupting the chem reaction that took place btwn the sugar & fat. I do wonder if there'd be any anal leakage if someone ingests a large amount of rice made this way (Like Olestra)?!? I'd think so, but what's the magic amount? I'm making a guess, but does ANYONE KNOW?

  5. Fun Party says:

    Great video!
    What's the chemistry reason for using coconut oil considering the study methods didn't mention coconut oil anywhere in it?

    This is especially confusing because according to google 1 teaspoon of coconut oil contains 117 calories and 1/2 cup of white rice contains 121 calories. Potentially inaccurate since my source is just a google search but still unless it had less than half the supposed calories the 50% decrease in calories of rice wouldn't be useful for weight loss at all.

    EDIT: Okay upon further looking I managed to answer my own question

    At least this source tells me that if you use the correct amount of cooking oil it won't add calories. A follow up video on the mechanism of the coconut oil effecting starch would be really cool.

  6. RegardThis says:

    LIFEHACK 1: Make your food less life-giving!

  7. Sarah Jane says:

    If you can't remember my name, just say "chocolate". I will turn around.
    Would anyone suggest me how this funny teespring tshirt will be?

  8. Stefan Nikola says:

    Orange juice works just as well as lemon juice, and it tastes a lot better.

  9. Pat O says:

    It looks like the "cooked and cooled" method for step one works for other starchy foods too, like potatoes.

  10. sooooooooDark says:

    first hack to me sounds like
    "how to have a fatty stool"

    does it necessarily have to be coconut oil – or can u blended up nuts/seeds too? and does it work with brown rice too?

  11. MessnMan says:


  12. GiggitySam Entz says:

    "Baking soda as a pH of around 9"… Uh…. It's a solid compound. It doesn't have a pH.

  13. Reismitfisch says:

    thank you!

  14. ornotermes says:

    Here's a life hack for you; bring the WHOLE apple with you. It won't get brown and you won't have to cut it or use lemon.

  15. Chemistreeu SCIENCE!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    I love the life hacks and joke ones, keep up the good work!

  16. Christopher Gamble says:

    you should do an episode on the science of ceviche. A dish that uses acids to cook meat instead of heat.

  17. Robert Spotterson says:

    I was somewhat skeptical of the low-cal rice idea so I looked into the sources provided. It turns out this idea is pretty misleading. First the research hasn't been published or peer reviewed meaning it shouldn't even be included as a credible source IMO. Secondly the source itself only claims a 10-15 percent calorie reduction with the 50% figure being a completely hypothetical guess. Also it's claimed the oil content is very important, and the recommended a 1 tsp gives you about 1.5g of excess oil above the 3g recommended from the sources you provide. Adding about 10-15 excess calories which completely negating any calorie saving effect. If someone were to think this method actually decreased calories while dieting they could be systematically overestimating their calorie consumption and compromising their diet.

    Honestly finding out this idea is so misleading is shocking. I'm incredibly disappointed with this channel and PBS digital studios. Unfortunately I don't have the time to check all of your claims and can't consider you anything close to a reliable source so I'll have to unsubscribe. Also while I'm sure you just wanted to explain the reaction with starch there's absolutely no need to mislead people about their diets and health. There's no excuse for this and I hope you all realize how irresponsible it is to be so negligent of the claims your making while giving the impression of due diligence.

  18. forabug594 says:

    Would the rice hack work for other grains prepared the same way, like quinoa, barley, or millet?

  19. Pat O says:

    Does the tender meat hack work for other meats? Turkey? Beef?

  20. DrinkThis says:

    I have a life hack!
    Become educated from Reactions, life hacked! 😀 <3

  21. TheColdHard Truth says:

    I dislike the video because of the ad

  22. OsamaDid 711 says:

    Im hungry almost all the time legit.

  23. Anhad Singha says:

    How come the kids in North Korea are malnourished instead of playing video games and getting obese ?

  24. ♠Ripley♠ says:

    You're not starving if you have fat reserves.

  25. Sir Widdit says:

    I just killed my black slave

  26. Kowalski 420 says:

    Lol why u say "probably hungry" all of us have been hungry

  27. gnan mohamed says:

    I starved for two weeks but I ate simple things like a chips or a fruit and I lost 6 lbs and I felt like shit so I stoped I don't recommend anyone to do that especially for someone who hate his life?

  28. moe gene says:

    i don't know how those hungry north Koreans have sex so much? seems like fake to me

  29. Spatch says:

    damn you blink too much

  30. Rebekah Branham says:

    I chew and spit, I'm getting some food though cause I know it sounds nasty but I suck the juice out of the food unless it's chocolate or anything that melts I spit but still get to taste

  31. Poke King says:

    Didnt know J-LO was into Science

  32. Michael Duke says:

    They forgot to mention debt as well

  33. Mr. Shades says:

    How long does it take for a person to become malnourished?

  34. Zoey Love says:

    The host of this show hadn't a clue what she's talking about. Starvation sets in when you no longer have energy reserves left. Aka fat. Your body barely touches your muscles when it's in a fasted stated because of the hormones it releases. Get the heck off YouTube and stop spreading lies.

  35. Kristin Mckinley says:


  36. Dave Robinson says:

    Shit id rather go to the front lines than starve for 24weeks. At first i was like they made a good deal but naaah.

  37. RpgPlay21 says:

    easy to chit chat about it but in reality its very brutal thing

  38. NATURAL GAMER says:

    Scientific way of GOD. why we have gods why we believe in them. Where does these super natural thing came

  39. Karla Ortiz says:

    Okay I was about to do the water fasting for 7 days but I don’t want to die ?

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