That chew in your favorite breakfast muffin comes from cellulose, which in turn comes from wood pulp. Cellulose gives your muffin its weight and heft, and also acts as dietary fiber, which means it isn’t actually bad for you. It's not a new practice: fast food restaurants got a clue from old midieval inns and manors. When feeding their travelling patrons, the inns keeper's wife usually added sawdust or other materials to 'beef' up her meals (no pun intended) to cheaply feed all the guests. They often were sick from the 'travelling' food, hence when people travel they often ask if you got sick from the food. McDonald's and other chains have copied history by adding fillers to their food. Forms of wood pulp is one of their many tricks to make their food cheap. Back to muffins, bet you didn’t think your breakfast so closely resembled that of a beaver’s.
While we’re on the subject of beavers, I have some sad news. Those fruit snacks you pack for your kids? The strawberry milkshake you grabbed at the fast-food restaurant? Anything that contains “natural and artificial strawberry flavors” also contains castoreum, a liquid extracted from beaver anal glands. That’s what gives strawberry-flavored foods their punch.
Think you’ll be able to avoid eating beaver anal-gland juice by skipping the strawberry-flavored candy? Think again. Castoreum also shows up in other berry-flavored treats, though it is most commonly associated with the strawberry ones.
It's also been found in breads as a softener. Who wants beaver anal glands in their bread? I don't. Making your bread is great, but sometimes you want some convenience. Check labels carefully. If it says "natural flavors" that could mean beaver 'flavor' as that is considered natural. Yuck!
3. Titanium Sulfate
This chemical ingredient is what keeps the sun’s rays from breaking through sunblock. Would you put titanuim sulfate in your milk. Why? You ask.
Surprise: skim milk contains titanium sulfate too. Once you remove the milk fat from milk, it is no longer white. So milk manufacturers add titanium sulfate to skim milk to give it that fresh, white color. Lovely, cosmetics for dairy products. Gross!
4. Bone char
When manufacturers process sugar, they filter it through bone char, or carbonized animal bone. This bone char is what gives sugar its white color and fine texture. If you think you can escape bone char by eating brown sugar, think again — brown sugar passes through the bone char filtration process too, and is then dyed brown to restore the color lost during the charring process.
If you want to avoid bone char, whether for vegetarian/vegan reasons or simply because it sounds unsavory, look for raw sugar that does not go through the filtration process. Read the ingredients carefully, and avoid anything that includes “natural charcoal;” that’s insider lingo for “ground up, carbonized animal bone.”
5. Ammonium sulfate
Here’s another sulfate, this time a key ingredient in fertilizer. Oh, and bread. Commercial bread manufacturers add it in to speed up the yeast process.
If you already have living yeast growing and multiplying to create that tasty bread loaf, what’s wrong with a bit of fertilizer as well? Well, consuming too much ammonium sulfate can cause digestive upsets, ranging from gas to diarrhea. Luckily, there are some bread options that don’t contain this potentially uncomfortable ingredient.
Many of the items on this list are shocking animal ingredients. Ready for a shocking human ingredient? Try L-cysteine, a dough softening agent made from amino acids in human hair. (Or, sometimes, chicken feathers.) This is exceptionally ironic because human hair is an instinctive digestive repellant; that is, if you find a hair in your sandwich, you’ll stop eating right away. Never mind that you’d been eating hair byproducts the entire time.
Now, don't get all depressed. We do have some resources to obtain wonderfully fresh food. Thank goodness for organic farmers, our own gardens, and consumers that are getting more aware and out spoken that rules are changing in the U.S. It's important that as healthy citizens we demand a healthy food standard. And teach it to our children. Continue to be wary- many countries, like China and South America, want to sell us cheap, inferior products. Learn the lingo and read the labels. Another tip is to cook your own food as much as possible.
There are many other dangerous, strange, and unsavory items used in food in our country that aren't on this list. These 6 are just the highly 'visible' ingredients.
What are you doing to avoid these all together? What brands do you buy that DON'T carry ANY of these toxic killers?