A Columnist's List of Sick and Twisted Food Facts

You may think twice about your next meal after reading this list.

Food is important, but knowing your food really takes the cake. You are never too busy to read, care about and choose the best possible fuel for you body. Below are 16 sick, twisted and important food and nutrition facts I've learned from sources including online journals, the documentary Food Inc, and books such as The McDonaldization of Society and Fast Food Nation. Do your own research, but as always, watch what you eat.


  1. Ammonia is used to clean most fast-food hamburger meat.
  2. The average American consumes more than 4,000 calories per day.
  3. Jelly beans are coated with shellac to stay shiny.
  4. Farmed salmon eat chemicals (paint chips) in order to turn their flesh pink.
  5. We have changed our eating habits more in the past 50 years than in the past 10,000 years.
  6. Even though a label may contain zero trans fats, the FDA allows the use of .5 grams per serving.
  7. It only takes two weeks of consuming high fructose corn syrup to start showing signs of heart disease.
  8. Consuming sodium nitrates (found in most processed meats) increases the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67 percent. 
  9. About one-third of bottled water contained synthetic organic chemicals, bacteria and arsenic.
  10. A conventionally grown apple has more than 78 different pesticides.
  11. Fast-food fries contain sugar to make them addictive.
  12. If E. coli-infected cows were allowed to grass feed for just five days, it would kill virtually all bacteria in the cow. But that’s too costly and time consuming, so instead they clean the meat with chemicals that goes directly into the food. 
  13. The average milkshake contains more than 1,000 calories.
  14. Most farm animals (for slaughter) were not made to eat corn, but it’s cheap and it fattens animals up, so mass-production farms use it.
  15. The phosphoric acid is so strong in cola that it can dissolve a nail in four days.
  16. Most kids cereals are 50 percent sugar.
Jeremy Gimbel August 22, 2011 at 02:13 PM
Dear Patch, Love what you do. Local news is great. However, if you're going to post something like this, please at least offer some sort of source. Or at the very least, make sure the facts are correct. For example, the claim about "phosphoric acid in cola" to which you are referring has not only been proven to be false, both on Myth Busters and Snopes (http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/acid.asp), the acid that really does the damage is citric acid. Will the next post tell people not to drink orange juice, which has a higher concentration of citric acid? Don't get me wrong: having a wonderful site for micro-local news is fantastic. Local opinion on worldly issues is fantastic. I especially like this Patch because I am living in Israel for the year and I get to stay involved with what's happening back home. But please, if an author is going to make claims, act like every other reputable news source and web site, and provide sources to those claims. Thanks, Jeremy (born in raised in Scripps Ranch, most recently lived in the UTC area)
Tamara August 22, 2011 at 02:14 PM
BRAVO!!! Get this ever important information out there so people can make educated choices about the food they choose to eat and also feed their family. TL
Phil Owens August 22, 2011 at 03:22 PM
I agree with Jeremy.
Debi August 22, 2011 at 04:01 PM
Patch should do an article on gmo foods and also so called "natural" foods and how 75% of processed food contains gmos even if it is labeled natural.
Grant Warkentin August 22, 2011 at 04:26 PM
These are not facts. You cite no evidence for any of them. I see nothing on this list that is even remotely true. You write " You are never too busy to read, care about and choose the best possible fuel for you body." True, and I hope people look beyond this list of nonsense to truly research their food and make decisions based on real facts, not urban legends and fiction, and stuff you obviously just made up.
SL August 22, 2011 at 05:14 PM
OH MY WORD! That's disturbing. Whether or not the info. is 100% true, I think no one can argue that we can all benefit from watching what we eat. I have heard that In-N-Out uses only grass-fed beef. I order veggie sandwiches, but for my kids' sake, does anyone know if that's true? And hopefully then, they don't clean their beef with ammonia?
LemonGroove August 23, 2011 at 12:36 AM
Next time you are out and about check out what kids are eating. Many were given soda or kool-aid in their bottles. A "meal" for many kids consists of hot cheetos. I read that 60% of today's kids are obese and I believe it. Think about who will be working to pay for your social security, they won't be because they will be too sick. Help get kids healthy! Feed them well and make them go out and play!
Pop Quiz August 23, 2011 at 04:11 AM
Facts?? come on Grant, facts don't matter :-) Science is over rated. For that matter, so is thinking and reason. just sit back and take in every zany statement as the truth. i ate a whole box of Ding Dongs one weekend and now I'm dead.See! it is true ,processed food will kill you. I bet that's what killed the Procter valley monster, white flour.
Dan Heiserman August 23, 2011 at 02:17 PM
I totally agree with Jeremy 's comment. There is too much misinformation out there, and if you do not cite sources of the things you write, you only add to it. Dan Heiserman
Dreamer August 23, 2011 at 03:23 PM
Any article with the word "Facts" in its title should substantiate those "Facts". This opinion piece is journalistic baloney. I agree that we should be careful about what our kids eat, but this piece perpetuates misinformation. Curiously, our life expectancy increased in the last century (from 49.2 yrs to 77.5 yrs, http://aging.senate.gov/crs/aging1.pdf), even as our eating habits changed ( item #5). Maybe change is good in this case.
Grant Warkentin August 23, 2011 at 03:37 PM
Excellent points, Pop Quiz! I ate a bowl of Fritos last night and the MSG made my heart explode. True story. Gotta go, there's a chupacabra at my door trying to sell me some acai berry miracle cures and that's a fact.
SL August 23, 2011 at 07:12 PM
Jeeze, people. This is an opinion piece. No need to be harsh. If you want to eat ammonia cleaned beef, farmed salmon turned pink by chemical additives... that's your choice based on your opinion. But do you know what shellac is made from? Seriously, that's gross! I appreciate the info. Thanks!
Jeremy Gimbel August 23, 2011 at 07:24 PM
First of all, I completely agree with you that there is no need to be harsh on an opinion piece. However, since the author posed her statements as facts, her piece went beyond the realm of opinion writing. Further, the larger point that a lot of these comments are bringing up is that the author did not cite any of her "facts." If I had done that in school, I would have received an F. The commenting community is merely asking the author to cite the sources; we are not necessarily disagreeing with the underlying idea that we should make informed choices about what we eat. Further to your specific point, though, SL, do you know what shellac is made from? Resin secreted by a bug, mixed with ethyl alcohol. Now, before you get too grossed out, remember that red food dye is also made from crushed up bugs. And yet, both are safe for consumption by humans. Maybe we shouldn't eat red velvet cake either... Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shellac and http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/bugjuice.asp
SL August 23, 2011 at 09:54 PM
Too late. I'm totally grossed out. Shellac is proof that not all things approved by the FDA are things that I want to eat. We are all able to look up facts and form our own opinions. In my opinion, the Wall Street Journal is a good place to read facts, and those facts may not always be true. The CarlsbadPatch Opinion Column is a good place to read opinions. Oh - and I knew there was a reason why I don't like red velvet cake!
Kim Berkshire August 23, 2011 at 10:36 PM
For the most part I agree with Jeremy and Grant. The column is presented as fact, not opinion. Then again, I guess we were to take her literally when the author told us to ''do your own research.'' I looked up a few things. I try to avoid most of the foods listed here, but I could eat WILD salmon every day. While this website doesn't mention paint chips, it does make FARMED salmon sound horrific. http://farmedsalmonexposed.org/2009/diseases.html And according to EHow Health, Jelly Bellies are coated with beeswax while other brands are coated with gelatin.
Grant Warkentin August 23, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Bravo Kim, for doing your own research! Keep looking and you will see that "Farmed Salmon Exposed" is full of industrial-grade baloney when it comes to farmed salmon. May I humbly suggest this report from the University of California, which shows that farmed and wild salmon are both healthy to eat, in nearly unlimited amounts: http://seafood.ucdavis.edu/pubs/farmed_and_wild_salmon.pdf
Kim Berkshire August 23, 2011 at 11:26 PM
OK, I consider UC Davis a pretty solid resource. It's all exhausting isn't it? I mean, unless you grow your own, raise your own, etc., it's impossible to keep up. One week something is the next super food, then a few weeks later, it's "our bad, never mind."
Grant Warkentin August 23, 2011 at 11:32 PM
I totally agree. That's why healthy skepticism is healthy!
Dave August 24, 2011 at 05:06 AM
That's why I only eat the red bugs.


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