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Physics and Chemistry show many ways to measure things.
The energy content of food could be measured by burning the food. A single peanut, for example, is enough to boil ten grams of tap water.
To determine the amount of salt, you can measure how well the solution conducts electricity.
To find sugar content of a drink, measure its density with a hydrometer (it would float to the number 30 if you have 30 g of sugar in 100 g of solution).
Of course, you could also check the labels or use a digital calorie counter.
Ripening of fruits or cooking will change chemical content of foods.
When fruit and sugar are cooked together they achieve texture that neither can achieve on its own. Even ancient people knew it, immersing fruit pieces in honey for preparing melimelone aka marmalade. It takes several days for sugar to diffuse evenly in the soaked fruit. And sugar concentration gradually increases from 15-20% to 70-75%.
Starch in flour can be broken down in sugars by malt enzymes. Some of it will be eaten by yeast that will produce gas bubbles that will make your bread tender and soft.
Oil roasting decreases amino acids (up to 80%) and sugars (~10%) in peanuts, while changing flavors.
Roasting of cocoa beans leads to destruction of sugar, de-amination of amino acids and development of flavor.
Heated sugar produces water and carbon dioxide in a series of oxidation reactions.
This process is called “carmelization” - yet another way to bring out special flavor created by newly formed compounds on the account of reduced concentrations of sugar.