By David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding
Yahoo Health News
There are two types of reality food shows on TV. The first features mouthwatering meals we wish we could eat right off our flat-screens. The second subjects us to gag-inducing footage of people wolfing down bull testicles, duck embryos, and puréed insects Is your kitchen more a) MasterChef or b) Fear Factor?
I’m sorry to say, the correct answer is probably B. Thanks to modern food processing techniques, manufacturers are allowing toxic and disease-promoting ingredients to find their way into our food, and in many cases, they’ve invented clever ways to keep them off the ingredient statement.
Gross Food #5: Grain products
Why it’s gross: Many packaged breads and baked goods contain L-cysteine—a non-essential amino acid made from dissolved human hair (often from China) or duck feathers (mmmm). Food manufacturers use the ingredient as a commercial dough conditioner, meant to improve the texture of breads and baked goods.
Why it’s bad: Eating something derived from the human body violates the religious and ethical beliefs of Muslims and vegans. Plus, eew! If you want to avoid ingesting hair and feathers—and really, who doesn’t?—try eating unprocessed whole grains like oats and brown rice, and make your own baked goods whenever possible.
TRICKS THAT FIGHT FLAB: When it comes to weight loss, what you eat is only half the equation. How you eat is equally important. Check out The 20 Habits That Make You Fat and watch your belly disappear.
Gross Food #4: Shrimp
Why it’s gross: Depending on where your shrimp comes from, it could be tainted with chemicals used to clean filthy shrimp-farm pens. Just as disgusting, farmed shrimp from overseas is often full of antibiotics, mouse and rat hair, and pieces of insects (yummy!).
Why it’s bad: Only about 2 percent of all imported seafood is inspected, meaning this nasty stuff is making its way onto your plate. Contaminated shrimp tends to come from critters imported from overseas shrimp farms, so if you’re looking for safer—and more appetizing—options, choose domestic shrimp.
YOUR NEW SHOPPING LIST! There are more than 45,000 options in the average supermarket. Some will wreck your waistline; some will shrink it. The easiest way to choose: Go ahead and put anything from our newly updated list of the 125 Best Supermarket Foods in your shopping cart—and watch the pounds melt away! (And check out Cook This, Not That! Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals to save time and money!)
Gross Food #3: Salad dressing
Why it’s gross: Big food corporations often add the chemical titanium dioxide—commonly found in paints and sunscreens—to processed foods like salad dressing, coffee creamers, and canned icing to make them appear whiter.
Why it’s bad: Titanium dioxide is a component of the metallic element titanium, a mined substance that’s sometimes contaminated with toxic lead. Plus, most white dressings (like cream-based ranch) aren’t great for you anyway. Both your health and your waistline will fare better if you go with an olive oil- or vinegar-based salad topper instead. Or, better yet, make your dressing at home.