Another article taken from Men’s Health Mag.
The Fat Farm says – This is just the tip of the iceburg! Read your labels. If an item has more than 5 ingredents, think twice about buying it let alone eating it!!!!
What is in Your Food?
Once upon a time, back when Ray Kroc was still pushing milk-shake machines, a hamburger and fries meant a wad of freshly ground chuck and a peeled, sliced, and fried potato. Now, these two iconic foods—like nearly everything we consume—has taken on a whole new meaning. Sadly, many of our favorite foods today (especially fast foods) weren’t merely crafted in kitchens, they were also designed and perfected in labs. We uncovered the ugly truth when doing research for our latest, most up-to-date book yet: Eat This, Not That! Restaurant Survival Guide. What we found was not pretty.
Before you mindlessly chew your way through another value meal, take these mini-mysteries (conveniently solved in this slideshow) into account. Sometimes the truth is tough to swallow.
What’s in a Wendy’s Frosty?
Wendy’s Frosty requires 14 ingredients to create what traditional shakes achieve with only milk and ice cream. So what accounts for the double-digit ingredient list? Mostly a barrage of thickening agents that includes guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan. And while that’s enough to disqualify it as a milk shake in our book, it’s nothing compared to the chemist’s list of ingredients in the restaurant’s new line of bulked-up Frankenfrosties.
Check out the Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty, for instance. It seems harmless enough; the only additions, after all, are “coffee syrup” and “coffee toffee pieces.” The problem is that those two additions collectively contain 25 extra ingredients, seven of which are sugars and three of which are oils. And get this: Rather than a classic syrup, the “coffee syrup” would more accurately be described as a blend of water, high-fructose corn syrup, and propylene glycol, a laxative chemical that’s used as an emulsifier in food and a filler in electronic cigarettes. Of all 10 ingredients it takes to make the syrup, coffee doesn’t show up until near the end, eight items down the list.
What’s in a Filet-O-Fish?
The world’s most famous fish sandwich begins as one of the ocean’s ugliest creatures. Filet-O-Fish, like many of the fish patties used by fast-food chains, is made predominantly from hoki, a gnarly, crazy-eyed fish found in the cold waters off the coast of New Zealand. In the past, McDonald’s has purchased up to 15 million pounds of hoki a year, each flaky fillet destined for a coat of batter, a bath of oil, a squirt of tartar, and a final resting place in a warm, squishy bun. But it seems the world’s appetite for this and other fried-fish sandwiches has proven too voracious, as New Zealand has been forced to cut the allowable catch over the years in order to keep the hoki population from collapsing. Don’t expect McDonald’s to scale down Filet-O-Fish output anytime soon, though; other whitefish like Alaskan pollock will likely fill in the gaps left by the hoki downturn. After all, once it’s battered and fried, do you really think you’ll know the difference?
What’s in my salami sandwich?
Salami, the mystery meat: Is it cow? Is it pig? Well, if you’re talking Genoa salami, like you’d get at Subway, then it’s both. Most salami is made from slaughterhouse leftovers that are gathered using “advanced meat recovery,” which sounds like a rehab center for vegans but is actually a mechanical process that strips the last remaining bits of muscle off the bone so nothing is wasted. It’s then processed using lactic acid, the waste product produced by bacteria in the meat. It both gives the salami its tangy flavor and cures it as well, making it an inhospitable place for other bacteria to grow. Add in a bunch of salt and spices—for a total of 15 ingredients in all—and you’ve got salami. But now that you know what’s in there, you might need to check yourself into an advanced meat recovery center.
What’s in a Chicken McNugget?
You’d think that a breaded lump of chicken would be pretty simple. Mostly, it would contain bread and chicken. But the McNugget and its peers at other fast-food restaurants are much more complicated creatures than that. The “meat” in the McNugget alone contains seven ingredients, some of which are made up of yet more ingredients. (Nope, it’s not just chicken. It’s also such nonchicken-related stuff as water, wheat starch, dextrose, safflower oil, and sodium phosphates.) The “meat” also contains something called “autolyzed yeast extract.” Then add another 20 ingredients that make up the breading, and you have the industrial chemical—I mean, fast-food meal—called the McNugget. Still, McDonald’s is practically all-natural compared to Wendy’s Chicken Nuggets, with 30 ingredients, and Burger King Chicken Fries, with a whopping 35 ingredients.
What’s in an energy bar?
One word describes what Americans want from their diet these days: Convenience. So stock the supermarket with compact “energy-on-the-go” food touted to fight fatigue, fuel muscle growth, or help you lose weight and it’s guaranteed to fly off the shelves. That’s why sales of energy bars have seen incredible growth over the last decade, with more than $700 million in sales, according to research in Dietitian’s Edge.
Cut through the hype and flashy packaging, and you’re often left with a hefty (and expensive) dose of sugar, oil, and a mass of added vitamins and minerals. With little research to back up the bars claims, many are nothing more than protein-containing candy in disguise. And here’s the worst part: They may not have as much protein as you think. You won’t find pig’s feet or cattle hide listed in the fine print, but that’s because they’re hidden behind names like gelatin, hydrolyzed collagen, or hydrolyzed gelatin. Both collagen and gelatin lack an essential amino acid required to make them a complete protein. That means the quality of the protein is inferior to products that lack gelatin or collagen.
What’s in fruit juice?
You may be a savvy enough grocery shopper to be able to spot the juice impostors (we’re looking at you, sugar-jacked cranberry cocktail). But when you smugly pull a Tropicana Pure 100% Juice Pomegranate Blueberry off the shelf, do you know what kind of juice you’re actually buying?
Drinks may be labeled 100 percent pure juice, but that doesn’t mean they’re made exclusively with the advertised juice. With respect to the Tropicana in question, pomegranate and blueberry get top billing, even though the ingredient list reveals that pear, apple, and grape juices are among the first four ingredients. These juices are used because they’re cheap to produce and because they’re super sweet—likely to keep you coming back for more. Labels loaded with of-the-moment superfoods like açai and pomegranate are especially susceptible to this type of trickery. Beware.
To avoid the huge sugar surge, pick single-fruit juices. POM, Lakewood Organic, and R.W. Knudsen all make some reliably pure products.
What’s in pre-made guacamole?
Not all pre-made guacamole dips are truly made with avocados. In fact, Dean’s “Guacamole” dip is comprised of less than 2 percent! The rest of the green goo is a cluster of fillers and chemicals, including modified food starch, soybean oils, locust bean gum, and food coloring. Dean’s isn’t alone in this guacamole caper; most guacs with the word “dip” attached to them suffer from a lack of avocado. This was brought to light when a California woman filed a lawsuit against Dean’s after she noticed “it just didn’t taste avocado-y.” Similarly, a British judge ruled that Pringles are not technically chips, being that they have only 42 percent potato in them.
If you want the heart-healthy fat, you’ll need avocado. Wholly Guacamole makes a great guac, or mash up a bowl yourself.
What’s in an energy drink?
Most energy drinks laud their herbal supplements, but the science behind the add-ins is somewhat fuzzy. Ginseng, for example, won’t give you an energy blast, although it might boost your brainpower. For instance, Australian researchers found that people who swallowed 200 mg of the extract an hour before taking a cognitive test scored significantly better than when they skipped the supplement. And guarana’s benefit may simply be due to its caffeine content-a guarana seed contains 4 to 5 percent caffeine (about twice as much as a coffee bean). And taurine? What is taurine, anyway?
Every can of Red Bull boasts the exotic-sounding ingredient. So do AMP Energy and Sobe Adrenaline Rush, among a slew of high-octane others. But can it really spike your performance, hone your concentration, and keep you up for hours? In a word: No. See, taurine is an amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter. And researchers at Weill Cornell Medical found that it might actually work more as a sedative than a stimulant. Meaning: It doesn’t give you wings—it clips them.