The saying” ignorance is bliss” originated from a 1742 poem by Thomas Gray. When he wrote his poem, chances are Gray wasn’t thinking about the ingredients used in marshmallows. Sometimes it’s just better not knowing what goes into the process of making your favorite foods – and that saying applies perfectly to marshmallows, as well as so many other food products. You’ve been warned. Now, come with us as we break you from your happy, ignorant bliss with these 10 Products You’ll Never Consume After Seeing This Video.
Marshmallows are a staple of campfires everywhere, and of course, who doesn’t love a good old S’more? Oh, and don’t forget the fluffer-nutter (a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich)! Marshmallows have had an important role in many childhood memories, so I guess we can all be thankful we didn’t know what was really in them when we were growing up: Gelatin! Yup, the main ingredient in everyone’s favorite puffy white treat is also the one thing that you really don’t want to know how it’s made. There’s a common misperception that gelatin is made from animal hooves. And while the good news is that that isn’t true, the bad news is that the truth really isn’t any more appetizing. To make gelatin, you need to take the hides and bones of cows and pigs, boil them and dry them out. Then you need to combine this dried product with some sort of base (often acidic), which is filtered to get rid of all the connective tissue and collagen. Yes, collagen, that stuff that some people inject into their lips to make them look fuller. However, in this case, it’s dried then ground up, and voila! Graham crackers and chocolate are pretty yummy all on their own, so maybe you don’t need the added dried up bones to make your campfires memorable! Who are we kidding – pass us another S’more!
9. Jelly Beans
Nooooo! Not Jelly Beans. Sure, we knew there was tons of sugar in them and they weren’t exactly the picture of health, but come on! What could be in these little nuggets of deliciousness that would make us walk away from a bowl without grabbing a handful or two? To make this answer simple, one word: shellac. They get that sweet, glossy, clear finish coating on most jelly beans the same way they get it on hardwood floors and wooden tables. Shellac! And if that wasn’t enough to keep you from ever eating another jelly bean, let us give you a quick lesson on how shellac is produced. It all starts with the lac bug. This bug eats tree sap, produces a resin, and secretes it back on to the trees. It’s that same resin that’s harvested to make shellac (after some processing which involves being dissolved in ethanol). And that’s what gets sprayed on your floors… and your jelly beans. We aren’t sure if the biggest gag factor is the bug secretion or the fact that the exact same product is used in woodworking. Famous for his love of jelly beans, I wonder if Ronald Reagan knew this little tid-bit?
8. Orange Juice
This might be the most disappointing one on this entire list. Orange juice! This one should be easy to make, right? Just pick some oranges, squeeze them, and that’s it! It says it right in the name – orange – juice. The juice of an orange. Well, unless you are picking and squeezing the oranges yourself, you are probably getting a little more than you thought – and not in a good way. You see, part of the process in making orange juice in large quantities involves squeezing the juice from the oranges and then removing the oxygen from the juice in order to preserve it for longer before it’s bottled. The problem with this is that by removing the oxygen, they also remove much of the smell and taste. So why does the orange juice you buy at the store still taste and smell so wonderfully of oranges? Well, it’s just like in The Big Bang Theory when Penny discovered the incredible value of the “flavor pack” when making Ramen noodles. These orange juice flavor packs are made up of oils and essence of oranges and to quote an expert on the subject, Alissa Hamilton (author of the book, Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice), “Flavor fragrance houses break down orange essence and oils into the constituent chemicals and then reassemble the individual chemicals in configurations that resemble nothing found in nature.” If anything we consume should be exactly as it’s found in nature, shouldn’t it be orange juice?
7. Packaged Meat
When you pick up some packaged meat at the grocery store, what is one of the most important things you should look for? Most people would probably answer a nice red color. That color that tells us the meat is fresh and still safe to consume. Well, unfortunately, we can no longer count on that color test to tell us whether or not our meat is fresh. And that’s all thanks to Carbon Monoxide! The most commonly known fact about carbon monoxide is that it’s a dangerous colorless and odorless gas – and that we’re told to put a carbon monoxide detector in our homes. Yet, this is what is used to treat packaged meat. Nonsense is an understatement, to say the least. Now, before you ask why your CO detector doesn’t go off every time you make hamburgers, it’s because there’s not that much CO present in the meat. It is so minute that it doesn’t get picked up by your “supposed super duper detector” and is apparently, no danger to your health. But that isn’t the end of it. Because companies use the CO to keep the red color of the meat after it’s been exposed to oxygen, that also means that it can cover up the color of meat that has gone bad. A word of advice? Be wary of that seemingly perfect red meat you see at your local grocery store. You may never know its true expiration date anymore.
6. Potato Chips
Potato chips are easily one of the greatest snacks ever created, and, out of all the items on this list, they’re probably going to be the hardest ones to quit. It’s safe to say that even if we know what’s in potato chips, we’re still going to be very tempted to grab a bag, or two, or three on our next grocery store run. Yea, that’s not something we’re very proud to admit, but, hey, that doesn’t mean we won’t think twice about it! And the reason for that is sodium bisulfite. Sodium bisulfite is a compound that releases sulfur dioxide gas and, in so doing, inhibits bacterial growth and prevents discoloration – two things no one wants from their potato chips. However, while the sodium bisulfite is doing good work, it is also the answer to the question, “what do potato chips and toilet cleaner have in common?” Yup, sodium bisulfite is also used in toilet cleaner products. Now, it should be pointed out that the amount used in potato chips is very small and is an amount that is considered “safe” by the FDA. But it should also be pointed out that, while the FDA is cool with its use in potato chips, they have banned its use in meats, raw fruits, and vegetables. They say it’s because of how the compound reacts with those items, which still doesn’t make us feel great about it being in our potato chips. How about you? Oh and pass the dip!
5. Bright Red Foods
Bulls aren’t the only ones attracted to red. We humans also have a fascination with this color. If something is said to include strawberries or another “red” flavor, then we don’t want the product to just be red; we want it to be really red! But have you ever asked yourself how they get spreads and syrups and other “red” food items so wonderfully bright red? Well, on a positive note, the way they do it isn’t harmful or bad for you. But on the other hand, it does mean you are eating bugs. Check the ingredient list on your favorite bright red food item. Do you see cochineal extract on the list? Then you are eating bugs! The cochineal bug, to be more precise. This bug was discovered to have another purpose by the Aztecs, who used it to dye fabrics over 500 years ago. The bugs are harvested in Peru and the Canary Islands, and they are then dried and crushed up. Then they are made into a dye by treating the dried and crushed up bugs with alcohol. Some people are allergic to it, but if you aren’t, then there are no real issues with consuming it – except for the fact that you now know you are eating bugs. Oh, and if you don’t see cochineal in the ingredients, you aren’t out of the woods just yet. Note that it can also be listed as Natural Red 4 or Carmine. Something to think about next time you’re browsing the back of your red candy package!
Do you know what helps keep sheep’s wool waterproof? You don’t? Well, you might not know what it is, but if you’ve ever chewed gum before, then there’s a high chance you’ve consumed it. The substance is called Lanolin, and sheeps secrete it in order to condition their wool (and it also has the added benefit of keeping it waterproof). Well, after their wool is sheared, it is put through a centrifuge, which removes the lanolin, which is then used to make gum base, which is what makes gum amazingly chewy and rubbery (maybe they should think about renaming your favorite gum to Hubba BaBa or BaBaLicious). Now, while this might not sound all that bad, what if we told you that lanolin was also used in lotions and moisturizers. Now, it should be said that lanolin is pretty safe, but it’s not recommended that you swallow lots of it – which can lead to lanolin oil poisoning (in case you needed another reason not to swallow your gum). Also, if you are allergic to wool, you could have an allergic reaction to lanolin – which isn’t what you want when you throw a stick of gum in your mouth. You want to blow a bubble, not become one!
3. “Enhanced” Meat
While we have all gotten a lot better at selecting quality meats and purchasing beef and poultry raised properly and naturally – without the use of antibiotics and hormones – we now need to look beyond the raising of the animal and start paying more attention to the way it’s processed and packaged. This means looking for a few keywords on the package, such as “enhanced,” “brined,” and/or added “natural flavors.” While they don’t sound too scary, what they indicate kind of is. It happens a lot in the meatpacking industry that the meat or chicken is injected with a solution (saltwater with a bunch of other ingredients) in order to plump it up and keep it fresh longer. The problems with this are two-fold. The first is that the price of these items at your grocery store are determined by weight. So, by plumping it up, you are getting charged for a “heavier” piece of meat without actually getting more meat. So, that sucks. But it also sucks in that you are getting a whole lot of added sodium without even knowing it. One study estimated that a 100-gram piece of beef treated with a salt solution could contain up to 1800 mg of salt. To put that in context: You should only be consuming around 2000 mg of salt per day! So, you could be taking in most, or all, of your sodium without even knowing it, with only one steak dinner. Not cool meatpackers… Not cool!
2. Packaged Bread
If you eat out at a restaurant and find a strand of hair on your plate, would you immediately call the waiter over and send it back? If so, you might want to stop buying packaged bread. What does one have to do with the other, you ask? Well, a whole lot more than you know – until now, of course. You’ve probably noticed that when you buy freshly made bread at your local bakery, even if it’s delicious, it doesn’t stay fresh for more than a day or so. However, the packaged bread at the grocery store sits on the shelf for days and is still good for quite a bit longer after that. What’s the difference? Human hair. Yup, most large-scale produced packaged bread contains something called L-cysteine. And although L-cysteine is indeed “all-natural,” it’s also most commonly found in human hair. And in fact, much of the L-cysteine used by large-scale bakeries making packaged bread comes directly from the floor of Chinese hair salons. The clippings are swept up, dissolved in acid to remove the L-cysteine, and is then shipped to commercial bakeries. So, eating hair? It’s up to you to decide how important a longer shelf life is for you when it comes to your bread.
1. Cheez Whiz
When it comes to Cheez Whiz, the biggest problem isn’t so much what they put in it, as opposed to what they don’t… Cheese! Sure, if you’ve ever worked up the nerve to ingest this creamy concoction, you probably already guessed by the color that there was no actual cheese in Cheez Whiz – without even having to turn the jar around and read the list of ingredients. However, you might be surprised to know that when Cheez Whiz was first invented, it contained – according to one of the scientists on the original team – a reasonable amount of actual cheese. So, when did that change? When did they decide to remove any actual cheese from Cheez Whiz? We don’t know for sure (and the company claims there is still some real cheese in there – but they won’t say how much). What we do know is that these days, Cheez Whiz is filled with a bunch of additives and preservatives, including trisodium phosphate – which is a compound that fights oil and is one of the reasons why you can use Cheez Whiz to remove grease and oil stains from your clothes. Given the product’s fake and sometimes questionable taste – maybe removing stains is a better use for that jar of Cheez Whiz you have in your fridge anyway.