You are what you eat, or so they say. If that were true however, you would be some pretty dang weird things.
There’s all kinds of gonzo things you would never guess that food manufacturers put in their products.
But those secret things are all there in their ingredients list. And if you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can read between the lines and find some freaky-deaky things.
You’ll never guess some of the things that you’ve been eating your whole life without even realizing it!
1. Anal secretions from Beavers
If you’ve ever eaten or drank something that is vanilla, strawberry, or raspberry flavored… well let’s just say we’ve got some bad news for you.
Chances are, that wasn’t actually the sweet natural flavor of those berries that you were tasting. We hate to tell you this, but it was totally beaver butt juice. In the wild, beavers use their anal gland juice secretions to appeal to other beavers and attract potential mates. But it’s Something known as “castoreum” in the food industry.
In case the animal lover in you was wondering… yep. The beaver has gotta die to give it up.
We all love bread, and most of us buy it most days. But how do you keep the stuff fresh and give it a longer shelf life. Hair is the answer!
Something called L-cysteine is the amino acid that acts as the base for hair. One day, somebody worked out that the stuff keeps bread fresh for longer.
Don’t pull out your hair over this inconvenient truth though, it isn’t always made from human hair! Yeah, sometimes food processors use hog hair or duck feathers as the basis of the ingredient instead. So… that’s better… right?
There’s no way that this crazy poisonous but cute and colorful defrosting agent does more than keep your car running smoothly and your windows free from ice when the cold weather hits.
But it turns out that one of the main antifreeze ingredients propylene glycol (not to be confused with ethylene glycol, which is way more toxic, kids) is used to keep fat from clumping together in the food industry. You can find the stuff in salad dressings, ready-made cake mix, and dairy desserts. Yummy!
No, not the she loves you yeah, yeah, yeah kind. We’re actually talking about red food coloring here.
That stuff is made by boiling cochineal beetles and then mashing their shells until the color releases. This dye is called “cochineal”, which you can find on all kinds of food labels, but you can find a vegetarian alternative these days. Like with anything, I guess!
Yep, you have been chomping on trees like those poor beavers from earlier!
If you’ve ever look at a food label and seen something called cellulose, guess what? Wrong, that’s wood. It’s also referred to as dietary fiber, and it’s used to prevent clumping in packages of grated cheese.
Cellulose is the stuff that plant cell walls are made of, made up of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon. It’s in fruit and vegetables, too, but for food purposes, manufacturers typically use pulp from wood or cotton. Delicious!
Tert-Butylhydroquinone. Try saying that three times fast after half a bottle of wine!
The stuff is a preservative which used in high-fat treats that’s also commonly found in petrol, diesel fuel, and varnish. Some countries have already banned it in food production, but not all of them. Maybe it’s best to only eat the food that you can pronounce. But then again nobody would ever eat quinoa, and that’s supposed to be good for you.
You might have seen in some motoring products an ingredient called Carnauba wax. The stuff might give your car the perfect sheen, but did you know that it’s also lurking around in some of your favorite foods?
Carnauba wax is harvested from Brazilian palm trees, and it’s also the wax makes sure that things like gummy bears and donut glazes look super shiny and appetizing. But now you know the truth!
8. Brominated vegetable oil
It sounds like vegetable oil that, like, surfs a lot, bro… But really brominated vegetable oil is the stuff that keeps plastic and furniture resistant to fire.
You know what else it does? It also keeps your citrus-flavored sodas from undergoing flavor separation. Drinking too much brominated vegetable oil can cause something called bromism (original name, bro) and can lead to seizures. All things considered, it sounds like real fun stuff to be putting in our food. Thanks, manufacturer guys!
On the plus side, Coca-Cola and Pepsi both announced they would remove the stuff from their soft drinks after a petition gathered a ton of signatures.
9. Artificial caramel coloring
That mouth watering lovely golden brown color found in meats, muffins, and more actually stems from a cocktail of chemicals that could lead to intestinal problems or worse.
Luckily, the artificial caramel, known as E510, has been banned from soft drinks in the United States. E numbers, what good do they do!
10. Coal tar
Over a century ago, food manufacturers relied on coal tar to dye food just about any color. Except for red, because cockroaches.
While the food industry has shifted away from coal tar as a primary source of coloring, it isn’t completely gone just yet. Plus, the alternative is just as bad, as many food colors today are synthesized from oil.
Is all of this stuff news to you? Or did you always know that there were lots of dodgy additives to your foods? Let us know with a COMMENT and don’t forget to SHARE this article to spread the knowledge.