Look at all those Chemicals in a Banana!

All Natural Banana

James Kennedy is a high-school chemistry teacher from Melbourne, Australia. He feels that chemistry and chemicals are viewed upon negatively. So he decided to do something about it:

“Chemistry has suffered in recent years from a negative image. Pesticides, poisons, drugs and explosives seem to dominate the public’s perceptions of Chemistry while the other sciences bask in a much more positive light. Mostly, this is because Chemistry lacks a charismatic, public teacher like David Attenborough or Brian Cox, who inspire students with Biology and Physics. Chemistry only has Walter White from Breaking Bad, whose character has done the subject and the industry a great disservice”.

Kennedy took the most natural foods, and showed that they are actually a collection of chemicals.

“These posters aim to show that Chemistry isn’t artificial and dangerous; but that Chemistry is natural and everywhere. The Chemistry of fun, friendly, everyday objects like bananas is more complicated and more fascinating than that of, say, a bomb.”


  • Tyler Hill

    I think it would help if they explained that “natural flavors” are not natural and “caramel color” has nothing to do with burnt sugar. Less deception = more trust. At least Walter White produced a pure product.

  • The Lone Marmot

    Well, of course a banana is full of chemicals!

    EVERYTHING is “chemicals”.

    This always annoys me when people say I won’t eat x or y because it’s full of chemicals, and not just in a pedantic way.

  • http://ehkitchen.net/ Alyssa B

    I totally agree! I have a degree in microbiology and that involved a looot of chemistry classes, so I can’t stand it when people say they don’t want to fill their bodies with “chemicals.” I like to tell them it’s too late because your body is made of chemicals. Just because you can’t pronounce something doesn’t make it bad or scary.
    A better way of thinking is that you don’t want to be filling your body with the wrong kind of chemicals (or even too many of the right kind), which is why I like this site. I appreciate that you provide information on many food-related topics so people can make educated decisions about their eating.

    • http://www.greeneyedguide.com/ Danielle Robertson

      I also dislike the “if you can’t pronounce it don’t eat it” argument because as a biochemist, I can pronounce the compounds I know I should limit “shu-gar” yet I have trouble pronouncing “keen-wah” and acai (?). Furthermore, “natural” doesn’t mean “healthy”. Great point about “the wrong kinds of chemicals”. Hopefully these types of informed discussions will spread. @GreenEyedGuide

      • http://ehkitchen.net/ Alyssa B

        Haha, I’m the same way, I can pronounce most of the ingredients I come across, but I still call Quinoa “quin-oh-ah”

    • .02

      I think most people who say they don’t want to eat chemicals are simply not chemists and need not state a disclaimer to be understood.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1406355649 Lydia Gaebe Bishop

    Those are amino acids, vitamins and related compounds. Very natural.

  • Dani

    I disagree. I find a bomb way more fascinating than a banana!

  • Laura

    I love this! this is great!

  • Natural Disaster

    I get the point and when people tell me they’re avoiding eating “chemicals” I give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they mean “artificial” chemicals. Let’s not pretend that naturally occurring sugars are the same as added sugars.

    • NobleAudrey

      Amen! That’s the point :)

    • http://www.greeneyedguide.com/ Danielle Robertson

      But too much naturally occurring sugar in the diet is still bad for you so isn’t the bottom line to try to eat whole foods as much as possible, increasing fruits and especially veggies and limiting the excessive fat/sugar intake? Isn’t the point of this banana post to”know your enemy”? In other words, not “chemicals” but an unbalanced diet?

  • JDM

    Aren’t the chemicals to avoid the ones that are not naturally occurring? Those are the ones I am concerned about. Food shouldn’t be created in a lab. Our bodies were intended to run on the chemicals that occur naturally. It is a lack of personal research that leads people use such blanket statements as “avoid any food made of chemicals”

    • Brenna

      I agree with your post. I understand not wanting to put ‘chemicals’ into your body when they’re not natural. Obviously all food is made from chemicals but they’re natural. There is a difference.

  • Granny Goat

    I’ve been trying to explain this “chemical banana” concept to my 8 year old granddaughter. I haven’t made much headway. She can’t quite imagine an element or a molecule, let alone a chemical compound. She wants to know about the medcation I take. I want her to know what a neurotransmitter is …or niacin or nicotine… Thanks for the “chemical banana”!!!

  • amc

    How can man made chemicals be in the banana. The E 300, E 160a …etc are lab created chemicals. There is huge difference between natural and man made chemicals, especially in fruits and vegetables. ( I am not talking about Monsanto chemical experiments on fruits and vegetables)This is pure propaganda.

  • vchuchman

    Of course a banana is full of chemicals. EVERYTHING on this planet is essentially made up of a combination of the 98 naturally occuring elements by ways of chemical bonds. The current problem is with marketing and public perception, not about chemisry. Just another chemistry teacher’s opinion…

  • Ms. Glib

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, all the teachers and learned people who have contributed to this. I am ashamed to admit I have used the “I don’t consume chemicals” line. From now on, I’ll be sure to add the adjective “artificial” before chemicals so as not to appear as the idiot I am… Sincerely, Ms Glib