Take a look at some of the "best" wholesome ingredients found in our everyday foods. Your food is nutritious in ways you’ve never fathomed!
Did You Know?
The secret to McDonald’s delicious french fries is beef extract and a fine layer of sugar coating. The beef extract gives it that cultured American taste, while the sugar brings the beautiful golden finish.
We are what we eat — if this statement is really true, most of us are well on our way to go six-feet under.
With the food industry booming globally, production and figures are soaring high, while quality unfortunately is somewhere down in the ruts. Be it the high-on-drama McDonald’s lawsuit based on their beefy denial, or the hygienic peanut manufacturing facility that spread Salmonella widely across the US, the international food industry today is not much other than an unethical money-mongering unit.
From insects, chemicals, wood pulp to feces, there’s little they haven’t fed us under the pretext of profits and expansion. Even the packaged cheese we devour is mostly ‘cheese product’, so it’s either less than 51% cheese, or anywhere between 51% to 90% of it.
Most of us place blind faith on food and drug authorities, but the question is, are they worthy of it? Take a look at the latest hidden consumables found in the most unimaginable packaging.
Big Lies the Food Industry has been Feeding
How About Some ‘Berry’-yummy Chemicals?
Antioxidants, vitamins, and oodles of natural flavor — this is what you really expect when you pick a bag of blueberry-flavored cereal, or muffins. What most of us don’t know is that real blueberries are nothing more than an old wives’ tale in the food industry today.
The blue chewy substance that we munch onto quite delectably is nothing more than cornstarch, oil, heaps of sugar, and a likable color of dye. But why are we fed this weird concoction and not actual blueberries? In Amy Kuras’ words (The Stir),
“Real blueberries are expensive; faking them is cheap.”
Examples of this whipped-up slime: Betty Crocker Blueberry Muffin Mix, Welch’s Blueberry Fruit ‘n Yogurt Snacks, Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Blueberry Muffin, Total Blueberry Pomegranate cereal and Target blueberry bagels
And it doesn’t end at blueberry only … if only we were that lucky. It’s really any and every fruit flavoring featured in mass production foods. So, the next time you see a box cover showcasing two sheeny-shiny blueberries along with some other crispy ‘fresh’ ingredients, you might want to beware. Of course, it’s not like I’m going to stop buying blueberry-flavored stuff, it’s just that I won’t be silly enough to shell out more for it, considering it’s not blueberry at all to begin with.
The Secret Ingredient to Loafy Goodness – Wood Pulp
Ice creams, breads, cakes, and an array of other food items all contain wood pulp. No, it’s not one of those words that sounds like one thing but means another — it is quite literally “virgin wood pulp” that undergoes processing to become fit for consumption. Wood pulp is a form of cellulose; thus food industry giants mark it as cellulose gum, powdered cellulose, or microcrystalline cellulose instead of wood pulp; and poof, that’s billions of dollars right there — for the companies, that is.
Salamis or Meat Shreds?
While most of us indulge in salamis, sausages, and hot dogs regularly, only a handful are actually aware of the meat it contains. The bones from carcasses of animals in a slaughterhouse are used to mechanically reclaim meat. Yup, it is exactly how it sounds; leftover carcasses are assembled and subjected to high-pressure conditions. Every tiny little shred of meat then squeezes out through a fine sieve underneath, and this slimy leftover meat squash is used to shape out salamis — Bon Appetit!
Though the technique is hair-raising and borderline disgusting, I and a fair lot many like me, might still find it acceptable ’cause at least it’s still meat; knowing our “food giants”, it could have been much worse.
Refreshing Insects – Oops, Juice!
Well, all of us were wise enough to have guessed that obviously the 100% natural grape juice had some extra ingredients. I mean otherwise, it’s not quite possible for it to last around in the supermarket for months together and yet be tasty — or wait a second — fit for consumption (that’s definitely more appropriate). So, you think that’s a few preservatives here and there, some sugar, coloring stuff, and that’s it. It actually is so, the only problem is what serves as the coloring agent.
Cochineal extract is a seemingly innocent, common food coloring agent. Dactylopius Coccus Costa is an insect that feasts onto red cactus berries and imparts cochineal its beautiful color. So, the coloring agent in several beverages and food items is nothing but dried-up, powdered insects.
Earlier it was listed as an average ‘coloring agent’ on your packaged juice! After a decade’s wait, at the end of 2009, the FDA officially revised their requirements and made it mandatory for manufacturers to ‘declare the component, by name, on the label’. While that’s definitely great, how many of us would really know what ‘cochineal’ or ‘carmine’ is when we read it on a label?
As of that delicious orange juice that most of us lap up for breakfast, ever wondered why most of them taste so medicinal and preservative-y? In any massive juice manufacturing plant, once the juice is extracted and vacuum-sealed, it pretty much loses its charm for any person’s taste buds. The quick fix is a convenient flavor pack — so much for one hundred percent fruit juice.
‘Cow’ Bones to be Precise
This one is definitely a shocker for those in the dark about sugar-refining processes. While manufacturing sugar from sugarcane, some sugar companies use a bone char filter so as to decolorize sugar, helping it achieve the desired white finish. Of course there are alternative methods adopted by other companies. However, when has anyone ever read “made with the help of cow bones” on a sugar packet?
Care for a Crunchy Loaf?
Silicon dioxide, better known as sand, is a good anti-caking agent. Basically, it prevents things like salt from forming lumps. Many fast food joints, including Wendy’s are known to accept that their burgers contain sand for the same purpose. It is said to be completely safe for human consumption. Somehow I’m not really too sold on that, considering it is also used as an insecticide. But hey, to each his own!
Another great ingredient your buns or bakes may contain is L-cysteine. It is a multipurpose amino acid used in a variety of baked products as a dough softener and flavor enhancer. This wonder ingredient used to be derived from human hair, but over the recent few years, maximum L-cysteine comes from duck feathers.
Simply Too Good to Mention?
While our commendable processing food giants leave no stone unturned in feeding us bones, insects and what not, popular food chains ensure that obesity isn’t way too down on our list of concerns. A famous fast food joint in the US commented a while ago that it wasn’t practically possible for them to be providing nutritional information, as they had a tad too many delights to offer.
Most agree that our ideal calorie intake per day varies between 1800 to 2600 calories. Sounds like a sufficient number, right? But then you have several, unfortunately very regular fast food options, like Wendy’s and McDonald’s, who gleefully plate up 1000 to 1300 calories in a single burger! Ya, calorie chart or no calorie chart, who cares.
And That’s How the Fries Tasted So Good!
It’s a universal fact that everything tastes better with beef — at least for most of us. Coming to the vegetarians and vegans — well, that’s their problem. McDonald’s had a very similar ideology and motto for several decades on end.
Their fries have a minuscule amount of beef extract to appeal to the general American palette. With the ring of money rolling in, they sort of choose to tune out those who don’t eat beef at all. Basically, if it’s not a country like India where millions are vegetarian, they simply don’t care.
For brevity, after the 2002 McDonald’s lawsuit, they claim that the french fries served in their Indian outlets are completely vegetarian. Thus their global chain, by and large, still retains the beef flavoring.
If you’re like me and most others out there, you know that tag lines like ‘100% fruit’ and ‘all natural’ are like the worst gimmicks ever. Common sense indicates that if it’s only fruit — like one hundred percent fruit — then how does it last 4 months in the box? Regulating authorities, like the FDA don’t have specific guidelines to define such terms; so I can really manufacture anything and print whatever on it as long as the said term isn’t predefined somewhere. So yes, let’s make breakfast complete, or then again, maybe not.
Rodent Hair and Insect Legs are Cool – If They’re Within Given Proportions
The FDA states that it is acceptable for your food to contain a certain amount of insect parts, rodent hair, and mammalian excreta. As long as it is not physically harmful when consumed in small quantities, they have no problem okaying it right away. Since the rightful authority itself is approving it, there’s very little one can do to avoid it.
Most people end up giving in assuming that the FDA has obviously checked whether it’s fit for consumption. But do they really have enough manpower and are they really efficient enough to ensure that the said benchmarks are maintained? Now that’s food for thought.
Maggots! Not to Worry, Won’t Exceed Over 20 in a 100-g Mushroom Can
Like rodent hair and insect parts, the FDA approves a limited number of maggots in your packaged food. Manufacturing facilities obviously cannot be a perfect 10 in terms of hygiene, and the FDA understands that; so, few animal, or insect feces and couple of insects here and there are permitted. If it doesn’t exceed the prescribed number, you can relish your maggoty mushrooms for dinner!
‘Horse’ Burger or ‘Ham’ Burger?
By and large, it’s a general tendency to assume that fast food chains and mass production giants are mostly lying; be it about the ingredients, their nutritional value, or the hygiene maintained in their facilities. But if you’re buying beef, it at least needs to be beef only and not another meat altogether! A recent British food scandal unveiled that under the label of beef products, pork and horse meat were being distributed. With big names, like Burger King and Tesco, and a whole load of mud-slinging later, what we really realize is that we’re so easily fooled.
Few Extra Pounds?
Obesity has become a way of life for some of us over the past years. Well, junk food no doubt attributes to most of it, but there could be other hidden factors as well. HFCS – High Fructose Corn Syrup is an alternative substitute for sugar in some countries, especially in the US. While it’s cheaper than sugar and a steal for the producers, it may not be such a boon for the consumers.
Studies have shown that HFCS is linked to obesity, cardiovascular, and fatty liver diseases. HFCS is found excessively in sweetened beverages, cereals, meats, and yogurts. Its consumption leads to abnormal food habits and patterns, which has shown to result in obesity.
Flavored yogurt is definitely the most compact form of lies that we consume on a daily basis. Especially, low-fat yogurt that is used vastly by people to lose weight. Flavored yogurt primarily has a coloring agent, which as mentioned before is small colorful beetles that are dried, powdered, and added to the yogurt.
Another fantastic ingredient in yogurt and most foods, like ice creams, gelatin and puddings is Castoreum. It is a flavoring agent and is used extensively in smaller quantities to add that zing of fragrance and flavor. Castoreum is extracted from North American beavers. To be more precise, it is extracted from a gland located between their anus and external genitals. Castoreum (along with urine) is a smelly secretion the beaver uses to demarcate its territory, like most other animals.
Avoiding Sugar to go Lean?
With a good chunk of people becoming weight-conscious over the past decade, the food industry has caught up with this consumer trend. Yogurt, shakes, juices, and desserts — an array of freshly made, or packaged foods now claim to be ‘sugar-free’.
Before you delve into your scrumptious “healthy” meal, you might want to glance at the calorie count as well. Certain fast food products these days claim to be healthy, and for weight watchers, they may have no sugar but their calorie content is rocketing through the charts. That’s precisely how sure they are that you’ll innocently cling onto the words ‘low-fat’ or ‘sugar-free’.