LIFE

8 Weird Ingredients Hiding In The Food We Eat Every Day

by Kate Taylor
Kate is a writer who laughs at her own jokes and likes to pour too much hot sauce on her food.

Do you read the ingredients on your food package before you buy it?

Even though this is recommended, most of us probably don’t bother apart from the nutritional information.

First of all, the writing is almost too tiny to read, and most of the ingredients sound like they were written in a foreign language anyway. Plus, if they haven’t caused any major health problems yet, why would they start now?

More importantly, you may not want to know what’s really lurking inside your food anyway.

As it turns out, tons of our favorite foods contain ingredients that don’t sound all that edible. Of course, this doesn’t stop them from being delicious, but some of them do raise an eyebrow.

Before you start worrying, note that all of these ingredients are FDA approved, and are deemed safe to eat.

With that said, you might think twice about reaching for your favorite foods after reading the list below.

Photos: Laura Caseley for LittleThings;  Wikimedia Commons / Rasbak 

1. Wool

1. Wool
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

Have you ever chewed gum before?

If so, you’re also chewing wool. This isn’t too alarming since you’re not swallowing gum anyway, but it is still a little odd to know you’re putting in your mouth.

According to NDTV, a substance from sheep’s wool and skin called lanolin is used to give gum its chewy consistency.

2. Beaver Anal Gland Secretions

2. Beaver Anal Gland Secretions
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

Beaver oil and products are popular for hunting, as all the animals are attracted to their apparently delicious smell.

Humans aren’t immune to the allure either. The substance known as castoreum, which is extracted from a beaver’s anus, is also used as flavoring in some desserts like soft serve ice cream.

If you think this sounds gross, don’t get too upset yet. According to Snopes, castoreum isn’t used in most ice creams and desserts anymore because its too expensive and hard to come by.

3. Human Hair

3. Human Hair
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

Finding a hair in your food is always yucky, but most people probably don’t know that hair is used in some food products on purpose in order to extend their shelf life.

The substance L-cysteine, which is extracted from human hair, according to Munchies, is used as a preservative.

4. Antifreeze

4. Antifreeze
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

Antifreeze comes in handy when it’s helping to keep your windshield ice free. Otherwise, it’s usually a deadly substance.

The “primary ingredient used in non-toxic antifreeze” is called propylene glycol, according to The Daily Meal.

Propylene glycol is also found in flavored iced teas, some ice cream, boxed cake mix, and frosting.

5. Beetles

5. Beetles
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

Unless we’re talking about blood, red is a color rarely found in nature. However, we see it in our food plenty.

Red food dye is largely responsible, and some of it actually contains beetles.

According to Live Science, carmine, cochineal extract, or natural red 4 are all dyes that include powdered beetle.

6. Other Bugs

6. Other Bugs
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

Sometimes people joke that bugs are just another source of protein. While this may be true, it’s kind of yucky to think about.

However, chances are that you have consumed a bug or two in your life.

In fact, the FDA allows up to 136 insect fragments in a 16 ounce jar before the food is labeled defected, according to Men’s Health.

7. Sawdust

7. Sawdust
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

We all know that eating enough fiber is an essential part of regular bowel movements.

However, some foods that have extra fiber added are actually just including a form of wood pulp or sawdust.

According to The New York Times, up to nine brands of supermarket bread contain wood pulp as their dietary fiber.

 

8. Wax

8. Wax
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

We love wax when its used for candles or smooth skin, but in our food? Not so much.

In this case, a similar type of wax that is used to make cars shiny is also used when making gummy bears, and other gummy candy.

Brittanica explains that carnauba is extracted from a palm tree in Brazil and is highly prized for its “gelling agent” properties. This includes some of our favorite gummy candies.

Be sure to SHARE this with your friends who like to eat!