I saw an article in Wired a month or so ago. It de-constructed Cool Whip. Cool Whip was introduced in 1967. I have not ever been a fan of Cool Whip as it's taste is not that of whipped cream. There are others, obviously or it wouldn't still be on sale, who like it and what it does. Myself, I'd rather go with the real thing and add a bit of stabilizer (gelatin) to it for certain applications like that green pistachio salad at Thanksgiving.
De-constructing: The ingredient panel lists the cool whip ingredients as: WATER, CORN SYRUP, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (COCONUT AND PALM KERNEL OILS), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, LESS THAN 2% OF SODIUM CASEINATE (FROM MILK), NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, XANTHAN AND GUAR GUMS, POLYSORBATE 60, SORBITAN MONOSTEARATE, BETA CAROTENE (COLOR).
Makes you want to go hmmmmmmm. Ingredients are listed in quantity levels, meaning that the largest ingredient is listed first and then down from there.
1. Water. Well we all know what water is so I'll leave that alone.
2. Corn Syrup. Sugar, but not just sugar, genetically altered sugar.
3. Hydrogenated Vegetable oil (coconut and palm kernel). Hydrogenated means that the oil has been converted with hydrogen at a rapid rate to assist in solidification. It also gives the oil a creamy mouth feel. The biggest advantage for large corporations who hydrogenate oils is that is allows the oil to be shelf stable for a very long time. Oils won't go rancid quickly after being hydrogenated. If done incorrectly the result is a trans-fat. Cool whip is not a trans fat. However, the process of hydrogenation turns an oil in to a type of cellulose which in other terms is called plastic. Do you really want to eat plastic?
4. High Fructose Corn syrup. This syrup is adulterated by combining enzymes such as amylase with the glucose. This allows it to be converted to fructose. Fructose is quickly turned to fat in your system.
5. Sodium Caseinate less than 2% (from Milk). Sodium Caseinate is a protein found in cows milk that assists the oil and water to mix together. (kind of like when you used the excuse "he's really a nice guy" when explaining to your parents why your dating what seemed to them to be the spawn of satan.) It is also an animal product for those of you avoiding them.
6. Natural and artificial flavorings. Pretty self explanatory on the natural flavorings front. Artificial flavorings are simply chemical mixtures to replace a natural flavor.
7. Xanthan and Guar gums. These babies are natural thickeners that work together really well. The guar gum helps avoid the creation of ice crystals which helps keep the cool whip creamy when frozen.
8.Polysorbate 60. Wow you should see the other 59! Just kidding. Polysorbate is basically an oil. That's what Kraft will tell you. What they don't tell you is that it is flammable. heh. This product is a mixture of stearate and palmitate esters of Sorbitol and its anhydrides copolymerized with approximately 20 moles of Ethylene Oxide for each mole of Sorbitol and Sorbitol anhydrides. Wow easy for you to say. Just know the Ethylene Oxide is a common ingredient in detergents and anti-freeze. Sorbitol is a sweetener.
9. Sorbitan Monostearate. Its nickname is span 60. It is wax like and has a white creamy texture. It is an ester of Sorbital and Stearic acid. It is sometimes known as a synthetic wax.
10. Beta Carotene. Most people are familiar with Carotenes as the part of the carrot that makes it orange. Beta Carotene is converted to vitamin A in your system.
I am loathe to eat this stuff. There isn't a bit of anything that says food there. I know so many people that have never had fresh whipped cream. Do yourselves a favor: go buy a pint or even a half pint of heavy whipping cream. Pour it into a bowl, whip it to stiff peaks with your mixer. Add a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla whip it some more and then serve with fresh berries a pie or mix it with some pudding. You'll be amazed at the flavor and won't ever want to go back to the freezer case ever again for the other stuff.