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Five Shocking Ingredients Hidden in Your Foods

Anti-freeze, also known as propylene glycol, is used in pharmaceutical drugs, cosmetics, and many ice cream products. (Image:  wikimedia  /  CC0 1.0)
Anti-freeze, also known as propylene glycol, is used in pharmaceutical drugs, cosmetics, and many ice cream products. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

“So what is your diet like?” The most common response is: “Oh, my diet’s pretty good, actually.” It’s not until we delve deeper into what people are consuming on a daily basis that we start to realize that our diet isn’t pretty good after all.

Just because a food product is sitting on a supermarket shelf doesn’t mean that it’s okay to eat. Think about it. Children can eat crayons, but we don’t call crayons food. So, why are we putting so many nutrient-devoid foods and toxins into our bodies these days?

The food companies certainly don’t make it easy. Most food labels don’t make much sense due to unfamiliar coding and unpronounceable ingredients. But did you know that there are legal loopholes that allow manufacturers to add certain ingredients and chemicals without stating it on the label?

As you read on, you’ll come to realize why more and more people are eating fresh and unprocessed whole foods. Below are five ingredients that you may be shocked to learn lay hidden in your food.

Anti-freeze

Anti-freeze is a chemical used in the radiator of a car so that the engine won't overheat or freeze. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Anti-freeze is a chemical used in the radiator of a car so that the engine won’t overheat or freeze. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Yes, you read correctly, anti-freeze is a chemical used in the radiator of a car so that the engine won’t overheat or freeze. It’s called propylene glycol, and it has many industrial applications, such as Corexit, which is a dispersant used to treat oil spills. It’s also used in pharmaceutical drugs, cosmetics, and many ice cream products.

Luckily for people in the European Union (EU), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has not cleared it as a food additive or food grade product. Until propylene glycol is regulated out of the U.S. food industry, it’s better to make your own ice cream and stop consuming products that contain this chemical.

Human hair

The most common source of L-Cysteine for the manufacture of commercial breads and rolls is human hair. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

The most common source of L-cysteine for the manufacture of commercial breads and rolls is human hair. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Proteins are the building blocks of life, and are made up of amino acids. The amino acid L-cysteine is used to prolong the shelf life of many products. It is sourced from hog hairs, duck and chicken feathers, as well as horns from cows that have been slaughtered.

However, the most common source of L-cysteine for the manufacture of commercial breads and rolls is human hair. Yes, you read that correctly.

Reports have shown that most of the hair used to derive L-cysteine comes from China, where it’s collected from hair salons and barber shops, and then processed. Most fast food chains add this form of L-cysteine to their burger buns and rolls.

To avoid consuming human hair or duck feathers in your foods, try buying freshly baked breads and rolls from your local baker, as L-cysteine isn’t in the flour, but added to the mix during production of commercial breads and rolls. Better yet, bake your own!

Arsenic

Many wines and beers have been shown to contain arsenic. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Many wines and beers have been shown to contain arsenic. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Arsenic is a known carcinogen, which means that it causes cancer in living tissue. The unfortunate thing about arsenic is that it keeps showing up in our food supplies. It is in many products, such as breakfast cereals, rice, and fruit juice. It has also been shown to be in many protein powders. It can even be found in drinking water at levels up to two to three times what is considered safe.

Many wines and beers have also been shown to contain arsenic. To filter these beverages, commercial brewers and wineries use a natural product called diatomaceous earth that contains iron and other elements, such as arsenic.

To avoid consuming arsenic, get a good quality water filter for your house and drink wine or beer that is unfiltered. Unfiltered wine and beer also contains more nutrients.

Rodent hair

The FDA has an allowance for rodent hair in many products, in what is termed, "unavoidable defects". (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

The FDA has an allowance for rodent hair in many products, in what is termed ‘unavoidable defects.’ (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Would you like some rodent hair with that? Well, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s fine to have some rodent hair in your food.

Since most food is possessed and packaged in large industrial facilities, the FDA has an allowance for rodent hair in many products, in what is termed “unavoidable defects.” The FDA allows 1 rodent hair per 100 grams of chocolate, 5 rodent hairs per 18 ounces of peanut butter, and 22 rodent hairs per 100 grams of cinnamon. This will likely keep you away from processed foods for a very long time.

Boiled beetles

Carmine is a food coloring made by boiling cochineal insects. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Carmine is a food coloring made by boiling cochineal insects. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it? Why would you need bits of beetles in the food that you eat? Known as carmine, natural red #4, crimson lake, or E120, it’s a food coloring made by boiling cochineal insects in a sodium carbonate or ammonia solution.

It’s used to manufacture plastic flowers, inks, dyes, paints, and cosmetics. In foods and beverages, it’s used to color ice cream, candy, yogurt, and certain fruit juices. It’s also been shown to cause anaphylactic shock and severe allergic reactions in some people.

Be smart and choose your food wisely

So, its really is up to us to makes changes in our diet. We can be smart and choose our food wisely. Better yet, we can pressure our elected leaders and the FDA to tighten restrictions on additives, flavors, colors, and preservatives that manufacturers include in processed food, so that we can all eat easier. As Hippocrates said thousands of years ago:

Written by Henry Kingston

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