Top 8 Terrifying Facts About Your Favorite Foods

Food has become an obsession for many over the past few years. Whether you’re a vegan, a carnivore or a locavore, there are some terrifying facts about food that simply cannot be denied. Face the facts below, but first – put down your lunch.

Number Eight: Red Meat. Attention, carnivores – we’ve got some bad news. Up to 70% of all meat you’ll find at your local grocery store is pumped full of carbon monoxide. Yup, that’s the tasteless, odorless gas that can kill you. Carbon monoxide keeps meat redder for longer, and injecting it into meat packaging is an industry-wide practice.

Number Seven: Wheat Bread. With more health-conscious people buying wheat bread, companies have found a loophole around the expensive process of making whole grain bread: food coloring. Companies can call bread “whole grain” even if there’s just a tiny bit of whole wheat flour in the bread. Look for fake caramel coloring in the ingredients list on the next loaf of bread you buy. You might be surprised.

Number Six: Rice. Though rice is generally recognized as healthy, is full of fiber, vitamins and protein, there’s something much more insidious lurking inside it. Rice is commonly sprayed with pesticides containing synthetic arsenic, and because rice is so naturally absorbent, it absorbs the arsenic. One serving of rice has more arsenic in it than a single person should ingest in a week.

Number Five: Coca-Cola. The coca cola has come under fire lately for being a sugary soda, the giant company has combatted negative press by hiring dietitians and nutritionists to suggest it as a healthy option. This style of guerrilla marketing becomes insidious when people begin to believe that coca cola actually is a healthy snack, thereby perpetuating its negative effects on our society.

Number Four: Maraschino Cherries. Maraschino cherries may look pretty, but they’re anything but natural. Before cherries become maraschino, they are stripped of all natural flavor and color, soaked in chemicals and re-sweetened with corn syrup and artificial color. Gross.

Number Three: Hot Dogs. Everyone knows hot dogs aren’t great for you, but do you know just how bad they are? Most hot dogs are made primarily of meat trimmings – things you probably wouldn’t even want to feed your dog. Then cereal fillers, food starch and corn syrup are added to emulsify the trimmings, and it is then siphoned into tubes. Many hot dogs are also cured with nitrites, which have been directly linked to cancer.

Number Two: Cochineal Extract. There’s a very high chance you’ve been eating bugs your whole life without ever realizing it. Cochineal extract can be found in red coloring, meaning it is found in foods like ketchup, pink yogurt, gum, and even your strawberry frappuccino. The extract is made from beetles that are native to South America and Mexico. The bugs are boiled, dried and ground up into a powder.

Number One: G.R.A.S. Food Additives. Finally, perhaps the most terrifying fact about your favorite foods is the concept of G.R.A.S., or generally recognized as safe. Companies are allowed to use their own judgment to decide what is “G.R.A.S,” and they can voluntarily add that food item to a list on the FDA’s website. The list has everything that’s been listed as G.R.A.S. since 1998. This includes one company’s decision to use hydrogen peroxide as a preservative for onions.