In Defense Of "Big Words"


Do you remember the commercial where a kid is unsuccessfully trying to read the ingredients on a label of some food item, as the words are nearly unpronounceable?  We are then presented with an alternative product that contains just a few ingredients, which are both easy to pronounce and understand.  What a relief!  The complex and unknown is juxtaposed with simple and familiar, and simple and familiar wins. 

But why?  I think the answer is because many of us tend to be intellectually lazy and have been taught to fear the “big words,” that surely signify something inherently toxic and bad for us.  Before starting Artisanal Science Labs, I, too, was more likely to stay away from the ingredients I didn’t recognize. But what I realized is that while “getting back to basics” can be great for many things, it is not great for progress.  I am so thankful to all the scientists, who are not afraid of the unknown and who have enriched and simplified my life, increased my lifespan and diminished my wrinkles (thanks, grandma!).

So the next time you read a product label, don’t be intimidated by the terminology.  Take an extra minute to look up the ingredients and you may be surprised to learn that the Alpha-tocopherol is Vitamin E and stearic acid, which helps water and oil mix, is found in the fats and oils of plants and animals.  You should remain prudent about what you put in and on your body, but not on account of word complexity.