Chemistry Life Hacks: Food Edition


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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22 thoughts on “Chemistry Life Hacks: Food Edition

  1. Eric V September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    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 September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Can this be done with brown rice as well?

  3. Jose Rueda September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    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 September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    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 September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    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 September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    LIFEHACK 1: Make your food less life-giving!

  7. Sarah Jane September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    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 September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

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

  9. Pat O September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

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

  10. sooooooooDark September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    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 September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm


  12. GiggitySam Entz September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

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

  13. Reismitfisch September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    thank you!

  14. ornotermes September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    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!!!!!!!!!!! September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

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

  16. Christopher Gamble September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

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

  17. Robert Spotterson September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    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 September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

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

  19. Pat O September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

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

  20. DrinkThis September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

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

  21. DrinkThis September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Love this!!

  22. DrinkThis September 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Love it!

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