Know Your Food – 10 Yucky Things in Processed Food
We can’t hear enough about the fact, that fresh food is way better as opposed to Processed Food. Still we prefer Processed Food for taste, texture, color, flavor etc, without having the slightest knowledge of where and how they get it from. As I became more aware of health issues, and I learnt to read the ingredients.
Amazingly I could hardly even pronounce 50% of the names listed. And as they say – Ignorance is bliss. If I can’t read it, why bother about it. And it was easy to ignore and just enjoy the ‘junk’. So now, lets lift the veil and understand what we put in our mouths in the name of ‘irresistible’ taste.Go ahead, try and pronounce Azodicarbonamide, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, Propylene Glycol Alginate, from among many others. If you can slowly but surely read them, try telling the meaning of each. No Luck ?? These are few of the very common ingredients in packaged foods. These provide texture (softer, crunchier, crumbly, jelly-like, melts in mouth etc.), flavor, color, longer shelf life. Some of these are also used to make fireworks, anti-freeze, fuel cells etc.
After such an elaborate discussion, how about sharing some bizarre sources of few.
Yucky – Gelatin
Gelatin is extracted from the collagen in animal skin and bones. It is often used in cosmetics and food products like marshmallows, gummy bears, yogurts and Jell-O.
Yucky – Carmine
This ‘Natural Red #4′ is a code for boiled beetles. Due to the fantastic red hue, this ingredient is used to artificially dye foods red, purple and pink. Starbucks used it in their Frappucinos, but had to discontinue due to customer uproar. It is widely added to yogurts, candies and juices.
Yucky – Sodium Nitrate
Yucky – Phosphoric Acid
This cheap acidifier gives Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, Mellow Yellow (and most other sodas) that sour tangy taste. It’s also used to make fuel cells, and works wonders to remove rust from metal. It can erode the calcium density in bones and damage kidney function.
Yucky – Cysteine
The amino acid L-Cysteine extends shelf-life in processed foods, mostly bread products, and is commonly used at fast food chains. It can be extracted from duck and chicken feathers and human hair. Study says that “most of the hair used to make L-Cysteine comes from China, where it’s gathered from barbershops and hair salons.”
Yucky – Propylene Glycol Alginate
It is used as a food additive, as a “humectant and stabilizer in prepared fruits, vegetables and bakery goods”. Other uses are as a ‘plasticizer… for cork seals’, ‘solvent for printing inks’ and ‘equipment cleaner’. Its is also a key ingredient in anti-freeze.
Yucky – Ammonium sulfate
A bread additive, ammonium sulfate provides nitrogen to activate the yeast. Not only is it cheap and fast, it also makes the bread texture more uniform. It’s also a common ingredient in agricultural fertilizer and flame retardants.
The above list is not to gross you out or to scare you. But only to make you aware, so that you can make conscious choices as per you liking. Hopefully now you will look at the same ‘irresistible’ food in a different light. And maybe appreciate more, those healthy and tasty home cooked meals, where you can pronounce ALL the ingredients.
Blog Suggestion – This is a great article on Processed Food by Lisa Leake
Another interesting article on this subject by Kari Pierce