This Is What You Just Put in Your Mouth? Is based on Patrick Di Justo’s Wired column “What’s Inside,” taking a close look at the contents of many common products. Di Justo is not writing an exposé—there is nothing here designed to shock—he is curiously, humorously, taking a close look at the often polysyllabic ingredients of different items, explaining what they are and what they do. He also often includes short essays on the research process involved in uncovering the ingredients, including talks with often-dismayed publicists and long internet searches, one of which got him locked out of Google for a time.
The title is somewhat misleading: Di Justo is not just looking at what people eat (A. 1. Steak Sauce, Dorritos) but also what they inject (the flu shot, heroin) and what they use elsewhere (Febreze, gasoline, Just for Men Hair Color). The reader ends up informed on an array of products and, with Di Justo’s help, able to understand what things like “Apocarotenal,” “Crypthecodinium Cohnii Oil,” and “Polymyxin B” are and why they are in perfectly innocent products (and are often perfectly innocent).
Di Justo is funny, thoughtful, and above all, inquisitive, making This is What You Just Put in Your Mouth? enjoyable as well as informative reading. Whether you will walk away deciding never again to use a product really depends on how much you wanted to know in the first place. You will almost certainly find yourself reading some bits aloud to friends and relations as well.
This Is What You Just Put in Your Mouth? is recommended to the curious and those with funny bones.
This Is What You Just Put in Your Mouth? From Egg Nog to Beef Jerky, the Surprising Secrets of What’s Inside Everyday Products comes out February 3, 2015 from Crown Publishing.