To be honest, if you knew precisely how any food is made, you would starve to death because making food for 7.7 billion people living on our planet means getting your hands dirty.
Some foods, though, are not completely honest and hide some nasty little secrets. Either because they’re bad for you or they’re simply nasty. Some foods are better avoided, but you judge that. Here are 10 foods you’ll never buy again after knowing how they are made.
This is the substance of nightmares. We eat 65 billion chickens every year. But we all like the breast, legs, wings and thighs, so what happens to the rest of the chicken? It becomes nuggets.
Shredding machines break down cartilage and bone to create that soft texture in nuggets you love. Then producers add tons of fat, and carbs. To make things worse, you end up frying the one-biters making them even unhealthier.
Vanilla flavored food
Vanilla bean, which is native from Mexico, is the nicest-smelling, purest flavoring flowering plant on earth, but it’s expensive. Most vanilla flavored foods don’t have vanilla bean at all, but a pretty scary substitute — beaver anal secretion. That’s the vanilla-flavored syrup, and it’s called castoreum. You won’t find it in any labels, since it’s listed as a ‘natural flavor,’ which is kinda true.
The genuine stuff, the authentic Parmigiano Reggiano, is without a doubt the king of the realm of cheese, but those green bottles of parmesan you buy every week in the grocery store are not at the same level. Read the ingredients and find cellulose — that’s paper. Trust me, now that you know this, you’ll be able to taste it in your Bolognese.
Bright red meat
We all go for the brightest color meat packet in the supermarket. Are red meat means fresh and healthy, right? Well, think again. Producers add carbon monoxide to the meat to bring back the red color to pale, gray beef. Sometimes the most beautiful looking meat is the oldest. Visit your local hipster butcher instead, he’ll sell you the good stuff.
Here’s the thing with Jell-O, gummy bears, marshmallows, and thousands other products with gelatin, they have gelatin — that’s the problem. The compound is obtained by boiling hoofs, horns, bones and skin from cattle. Meat factories sell the animal carcasses to gelatin factories and from there to the candy makers. Shame on whoever invented the stuff, right?
Food colorants are already controversial, but red number 4, also called carmine, is something to worry about. It’s made with bugs, and these are not nice looking bugs, you might have seen them crawling from beneath plant pots. They’re called cochineals, and although not all become red dye when crushed, some do, and they have an unpleasant fate just for you to enjoy some red skittles.
Swordfish is one of the most popular items in seafood restaurants around the world, yet the graceful fish cannot be farmed and must be line-caught. That’s a lot of work, meaning there are only a few fish to go around. How is it that every restaurant on earth has some in their fridge? It’s because that’s not swordfish but shark, mostly shark wrongfully caught on nets. It can be tuna too, which is equally disappointing.
If you’re one of those people worried that food in your fridge can go bad any instant, then ditch the Worcestershire sauce. Along with dozens of ingredients, including garlic and onions, the sauce is made anchovies fermented for up to 18 months. Not necessarily unhealthy, it might be off-putting for some people.
Figs, the earthy and pleasantly sweet fruit has a dark secret. Only fig wasps can pollinate fig trees, and they use the fruit to lay their eggs. There’s more; this is a one-way trip for the mother wasp, it will lay her eggs and die inside the fruit. All figs are made of wasps. You don’t see them because the fruit mostly ‘eats’ or dissolves the insects, but trust me, they’re still there.
Store-bough bread has a long shelf life for a reason. Producers add a preservative called L-cysteine. Finding preservatives in food is hardly a shocker, but this is no ordinary chemical; more often than not, it comes from human hair harvested from barbershops in China, really. Hair is dissolved in acid to get the amino-acid. Although hair is used less and less, it was substituted for something equally horrific, chicken feathers.
Buy your bread at a local baker and forget about packaged bread, it’s an easy decision.
Sorry, But Not Sorry
No one wants to deliver bad news, but we thought you should know. At the end of the day, you are what you eat, so why put in your body nasty stuff? Avoid the food above and stop putting your faith in processed food; there are many other ugly industry secrets out there.
Go for all-natural food, know where it comes from and who grew it or cooked it. Also, cook more often at home, you might not be a master chef, but at least you know what you’re eating.