Have you eaten Doritos Locos Tacos more than once? Do you find yourself with the dreaded Cheeto fingers on a daily basis? Ever fantasized about eating that Kraft macaroni cheese powder right out of the little silvery packet? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you, my friend, might be a cheese powder enthusiast.

But what do you actually know about the stuff? Does cheese powder have anything to do with cheese? The good people over at The New Yorker took a closer look and found some surprising facts. Don’t worry, we don’t think it’ll deter you from your beloved Doritos Locos. Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about cheese powder:

  • In it’s purest form, cheese powder is made only from cheese that has been dehydrated. Though it looks a little space age, cheese powder can be made at home with a dehydrator.
  • The average American consumer eats about 23 pounds of cheese per year. Much of this comes from cheese powder. We think most of ours comes from pizza.
  • In factories, cheese is melted down and sprayed through a nozzle or atomizer into droplets, which are then blasted with hot air and vaporized. Okay, sometimes making cheese powder does get a little space age.
  • In 1872, the first commercial spray dryer was patented, but the process didn’t become popular until World War II when the army became interested in using dehydrated cheese for soldier’s rations.
  • Nowadays, cheese powder doesn’t contain much cheese, and is often overshadowed by whey, vegetable oil, and chemicals like sodium and dye. Whey is listed before cheese on nutritional labels for Cheetos.

[via New Yorker]