Who says your diet is chemical-free?

Does an apple contain fewer chemicals than an artificial sweet?

The charity Sense about Science wanted to highlight the misuse of the word ‘chemicals’. Companies often market products free of certain scary-sounding chemicals or use the word to discourage the use of another product. But every compound – good or bad – has a chemical name.

Working with the charity, I came up with this graphic to show the chemical composition of two foods: an apple and a Love Hearts sweet. The natural fruit contains far more chemicals than the artificially-produced sweets – but this doesn’t make apples harmful in any way. Just because an ingredients list has names that sound unfamiliar, it doesn’t mean that it’s bad for us.

The graphic was used on social media to promote the charity’s Making Sense of Chemical Stories and Ask for Evidence campaigns. They were also printed for schools, and I made this GIF for sharing on Facebook and Twitter.