• Ingredients

  • The Strange Chemistry of What We Put in Us and on Us
  • By: George Zaidan
  • Narrated by: George Zaidan
  • Length: 6 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (191 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.50

Buy for $24.50

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Cheese puffs. Coffee. Sunscreen. Vapes. George Zaidan reveals what will kill you, what won’t, and why - explained with high-octane hilarity, hysterical hijinks, and other things that don’t begin with the letter H.

Ingredients offers the perspective of a chemist on the stuff we eat, drink, inhale, and smear on ourselves. Apart from the burning question of whether you should eat that Cheeto, Zaidan explores a range of topics. Here’s a helpful guide: 

Stuff in this book:

  • How bad is processed food? How sure are we?
  • Is sunscreen safe? Should you use it?
  • Is coffee good or bad for you?
  • What’s your disease horoscope?
  • What is that public pool smell made of?
  • What happens when you overdose on fentanyl in the sun
  • What do cassava plants and Soviet spies have in common?
  • When will you die? 

Stuff in other books:

  • Your carbon footprint
  • Food sustainability
  • GMOs 
  • CEO pay 
  • Science funding 
  • Politics 
  • Football 
  • Baseball 
  • Any kind of ball really 

Zaidan, an MIT-trained chemist who cohosted CNBC’s hit Make Me a Millionaire Inventor and wrote and voiced several TED-Ed viral videos, makes chemistry more fun than Hogwarts as he reveals exactly what science can (and can’t) tell us about the packaged ingredients sold to us every day. Sugar, spinach, formaldehyde, cyanide, the ingredients of life and death, and how we know if something is good or bad for us - as well as the genius of aphids and their butts - are all discussed in exquisite detail at breakneck speed. 

Includes a PDF of the author’s illustrations as well as the appendix about prayer and death.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2020 George Zaidan (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"If you crossed Bill Nye with Stephen Colbert, you’d get George Zaidan. Ingredients is a masterful piece of science writing." (Daniel H. Pink, New York Times best-selling author of When and Drive)

“I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that food is very important, and yet we are terrible at talking about it. Nutrition is a mess of marketing, classism, science, truth, guilt, confusion, and outright hucksterism. Ingredients lifts the film from our eyes with humor and reassurance.” (Hank Green, author of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing)

"At last, a book on nutrition that tries to make you understand how little we know instead of offering blanket prognostications. If instead of a simple solution, you want a guide to how to think about health, this is it." (Zach and Kelly Weinersmith, New York Times best-selling authors of Soonish

What listeners say about Ingredients

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    130
  • 4 Stars
    42
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    137
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    114
  • 4 Stars
    39
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Laugh out loud seriousness

Enlightening science.

Captivating wordplay.

And eleven more words so the algorithm will accept the review.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Meh

decent book but came to a rather underwhelming conclusion. would recommend for anyone who would like to understand how nutritional study bias effects conclusions but don't look for a meaningful conclusion.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Science, Statistics, and Hilarity

I initially borrowed this book from my local library (eloan). I loved it so much that I immediately bought my own copy of the audiobook and started a re-read.

George Zaidan is the PERFECT narrator for his book, and brings a lot of charm and comedy to his narration. The performance alone raised this book to one of my all-time favorite listening experiences.

The content was great too - Zaidan unravels the real science and statistics behind all those research papers about the next super food or the next "it's killing you" food in such an engaging manner. Also, despite coming with a PDF of several diagrams (which I definitely looked at), Zaidan tweaked the audiobook narration a bit from the original text to summarize these figures such that you honestly don't need to look at most of them. It was just so well done.

I've already recommended it to everyone I know.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Disappointed in the nutrition conclusion

This is just pointless + boring statistics. There was some good advice like start exercising etc, which is common. But what was disturbing is he also concludes you should eat polyunsaturated fats which are all the seed oils. What he didn't tell you is most seed oils are very easily oxidizable and in order to produce these oils you have to heat them multiple times at high burning points... It's like we're back in the trans fats days. Clearly, he is a good chemist but not a good nutritionist which I was very disappointed in...

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Good Read!

I borrowed the hard cover book from the library. It intrigued me. I read a few pages and thought, I have found a new good read.
Because my favorite place to read books is in bed and I loved to be read to, I bought this audible book. I know what you are thinking, why did spend the money when I already had a copy for a couple weeks for free. My answer “ simple pleasures”. In this day and age when going out and about can get you sick and since I work in the industry that treats and care for the sit and injured. I find my self splurging on books.
So that said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and all the author had to share. I learned a lot about chemistry in a fun way. He had my attention in his grasp for 2 or 3 chapters at a time. Will I change the way I eat because of what I have read maybe, maybe not. But, if you enjoy chemistry and biology as much a I do this is a definite read for you. Thank you for this great read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Great topic in the hands of an idiot

This was a great premise ruined by a guy who doesn’t know how to write or walk the line between metaphor and reality. I ask Mr. Zaidan to please please please read Bill Bryson before attempting to write anything else for the public.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Informative

this book brought a lot of interesting things to the table. I really liked the fact that the author expressed that completely eliminating things may not always be an option for everyone.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Learned more about research methods than food

This book breaks down scientific research methods and outlines how difficult it is to get to solid conclusions. I like his approach and delivery of the information. The dry humor that is sprinkled in throughout was a nice bonus. Ultimately the takeaways are very helpful.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book About Science... And Ingredients

This book is a fantastic introduction into the world of science, scientific studies, scientific literature, and science news. All of this is explored through the lens of ingredients in food, cigarettes, sunscreen, and related products. If you're interested in science or skeptical about science news, then this is a title to add to your library.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Too many curse words

Why do writers these days think they need to use foul language? It hurts my ears! Content was interesting but will be returning. I wish audible would put a warning but I suppose cursing has now become the norm. Very sad.