Saturday Morning Workshop: How To Build Floating Bookshelves
Saturday Morning Workshop: How To Build Floating Bookshelves | The Family Handyman #woodworkingideas
I drive home from work early one morning. I'm tired and I have to be awake. Then I put the radio on my favorite radio in Chicago. It's about 4:30 in the morning and the station plays an infomercial.
There, the doctor read a new and improved vitamin that he created. All I needed was some noise to help me stay awake. So I listened to his infomercial. What really said my attention was towards the end of the program.
He compared his vitamin product with other name brand vitamin products. To do this, he read the ingredients on the package. He began to make fun with all the sugar that was in the name of brand vitamins. But then they got the following ingredients that I really mentioned my attention.
The first was "microcrystalline cellulose", which he called "ground up newspaper". The next ingredient was "silica", which he called "sand". Wait a minute. Time out here. Did he just say that there is sand and primed magazine in the name of vitamins? How can this be?
Several days later I decided to do some research on the ingredients in vitamins. It didn't take long for me to find out that the doctor told the truth. One of the first websites I visited was the US Food and Drug Administration. They have an on-line database of food ingredients called "GRAS" which stands for "Generally recognized as safe". Here's what I found out.
Cellulose comes from the walls of the cell. It is found in the plants we eat. But there are also in plants that we would not normally eat, such as wood pulp from trees. All forms of cellulose contain the same biological properties. So, if it is safe to eat a form, it should be safe to eat another form such as microcrystalline cellulose.
When we eat cellulose, the human body does not absorb it, but goes out of the body as part of a bowel movement. In small amounts there are no signs of harmful effects from cellulose. At greater depth, it acts as a laxative. In the end I learned that cellulose has a GRAS score, while microcrystalline cellulose does not. But based on the evidence, the FDA has not banned the use of it.
So why do some vitamin tablets contain cellulose (wood pulp) and silicon (sand)? The actual amount of vitamins contained in a tablet is a small amount. Without any type of filler, it would be too small to handle. Then you need a strong substance that helps to keep the tablet shape. And strength to keep the tablet from crumbling. That is why they use cellulose (wood), because wood is strong. Sand acts as a filler and a "time release" agent in how the tablet dissolves.
Wood and sand are used as active ingredients in other food products. Here is how wood is used as an anti-caking agent. Microcrystalline cellulose (cellulose powder) is used in Parmesan cheese so that it does not lump (mold) into the jar. Silica (sand) is a foaming agent. So it is used in beer, to keep beer from skimming a head.
Also there are zero calories in sand and wood. It also fills. So, sand and wood have become much poplar in diet products. Sand is also promoted as good for hair, nails and strong legs. And the companies that market these products were ahead, if sand is an ingredient in their products.
But is it safe to eat wood pulp and sand? The GRAS reports from the US Food and Drug Administration are quite long. Here are a few lines from each report. Microcrystalline cellulose: "... There is no evidence of available information on pure and regenerated cellulose, including microcrystalline cellulose, which shows or suggests reasonable grounds for suspecting, a danger to the public when current, or is likely to be expected in the future . "
Silica: "... The question of whether silicon is an essential human nutrient remains undissolved. Silicon compounds consumed as added food ingredients only contribute to a smaller proportion of the total costly silicon intake."