It’s amazing what is really in our food these days with all the regulations and improved manufacturing techniques. You’d think by now our food supply would be clean, transparent, and safe. Here though are ten foods with some disturbing secrets their manufactures would wish remained hidden.
1. Canned Mushrooms
This is seemingly a relatively unprocessed food. It should only contain mushrooms and some preservatives. However, as with all canned products, there are downsides to consider the next time you reach for canned vegetables, and that’s what it may be contaminated with. The FDA set limits on the number of rodent feces, hairs, insect carcasses, and even how many maggots can be in the food sold to you. Canned mushrooms have one of the highest thresholds for magots, with 20 being allowed to marinade in every can of mushrooms. Best take a look at the mushrooms before tossing them in your casserole.
2. Chicken Nuggets
In recent years advertising for chicken nuggets have included the tagline, “Now made with 100% chicken breast,” which always begs the question of, “what were they made from before?” The truth is that if you buy chicken nuggets that don’t stipulate that, then you’re buying a blend of chicken parts and additives to hold it all together. Around 50% of your nugget is chicken breast, with the rest comprising of chicken skin, bone, blood vessels, connective tissue, and fat. To maximize the texture and taste, salt, starch, binders, and fillers are added to create a concoction that has little resemblance to the meat you started with.
3. Coffee Creamer
Liquid non-dairy creamers may have the color and consistency of cream but are they are primarily made from sugar and oil. It’s why the flavor is artificial and its texture is derived through a blend of thickening agents and emulsifiers. One such emulsifier is carrageenan, which has been linked to causing inflammation in the digestive tract. Another texturizer often used is cellulose gum or gel, which are taken from wood pulp or cotton. Alas, powered creamers aren’t much better. If you disperse it in the air, it will explode with just one spark. It might be time to drink your coffee black.
4. Mountain Dew
When you consume this high caffeine beverage, you’re also drinking flame retardant. Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is what gives this vibrant drink its distinctive citrus flavor. It’s also why the beverage is banned in Europe and Japan. Ingesting large quantities of BVO has led to memory loss, fatigue, headaches, and loss of muscle coordination. It’s not just mountain Dew that contains this harmful substance; you’ll find it in Sun Drop and AMP energy drinks too. Next time you reach for these sodas, consider if the flavor is worth it at the expense of your health.
You’d be forgiven for thinking cheese was a vegetarian product. After all, it’s mostly milk from a cow, goat, sheep, or a water buffalo, mixed with an acidifying agent. However, rennet is then added to coagulate the milk into cheese. You might be wondering, “What is rennet?” It’s a blend of enzymes produced in the stomach of animals and is extracted during butchering. If the rennet is artificially produced, you can expect your coagulator to have been derived from fungi or microbial sources. What seemed like a natural product most likely contains ingredients grown in the lab. Know too, if you reach for a pack of shredded cheese, you’re adding wood pulp to your meal. It’s there to stop the cheese clumping in the packet, but maybe it’s time to grate your own cheese at home.
6. Salad Dressing
Eating plain leaves isn’t especially appetizing, but neither is the dressing once you learn what’s in it. Commercial salad dressings often contain titanium dioxide (TiO2), which is used as a whitener and it’s also the prime active ingredient in sunscreen. As you would expect, TiO2 can have some serious implications for your health. Suffers of irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer have higher levels of TiO2 in their system. An easy way to protect yourself is to make your salad dressing at home. That way you know exactly what you are consuming.
The fermentation process to produce beer isn’t exactly appealing, but can be forgiven for letting it slide due to the taste and enjoyment a cold frosty beer can bring. However, that might change when you learn the secret behind the ales with a distinctive see-through amber appearance. To give this shine, isinglass has added as a clarifying agent. Isinglass is a form of gelatin produced from the dry bladders of fish. So, think about that next time you try to enjoy a cold one.
8. Ice Cream
If you look up a recipe to make your own ice cream and you’ll find the simple ingredients of milk, sugar, cream, eggs, and flavoring. However, packaged ice cream needs a stabilizer and sometimes manufacturers use castoreum. This is a yellowish exudate from the castor sac (anal glands) of beavers who use this, along with urine to mark their territory. Fortunately, castoreum isn’t readily harvested and, therefore, a somewhat rare additive. It’s best though to check the ingredients next time you buy a delicious pint of ice cream.
9. Frozen Meals
Ready-made meals are excellent when time is short or you’re just feeding one person. There is always a downside to convenience and in this instance, it is your likely eating food that was likely frozen years ago and has been pumped full of preservatives and salt. The sodium content in most frozen dinners can meet 50-100% of your RDA set by the FDA, which is bad for your heart and blood pressure. Additionally, to keep costs low, many packaged meals use low-quality ingredients and this can affect your nutrition if you eat them often. Try and make these meals a once-in-a-while solution rather than a staple of your diet.
10. Jell-O and Marshmallows
While you may be aware that you are consuming a lot of sugar as you enjoy these delicious treats, you may not be aware that you are eating gelatin. Derived from collagen, gelatin is an animal product made from boiling animal skin, bones, or cartilage. Essentially, any part of the animal that hasn’t be used for other purposes. The process makes a yellowish, odorless, practically tasteless substance that is needed to bind the sugar of your dessert together. So, remember next time you watch your Jell-O wobble, you seeing boiled animal leftovers oscillate before you.
Now that you know what is really in your food and it’s up to you if you continue to consume them! You are now aware though, that you might be eating beaver anal juice from a cone, a few maggots in your omelet, or some boiled animal carcasses. The good news is, that the more dry fish bladders you drink, the less you’ll care.