Show Mobile Navigation

Top 10 Questionable Fast Food Additives

Ryan Thomas . . . Comments

We live in a society that appreciates convenience over substance; this is true in multitudinous ways, but none so visible as in the way we eat. Being able to eat on the go and with little to no added effort or cost on the receiving end is a cherished attribute of living in the century we do. Unfortunately, this is done with little knowledge or regard for what actually goes into the trappings of that foil wrapper or styrofoam clamshell. The truth of the matter may be a little more than your stomach can handle (even if you did Supersize your order). Here are 10 questionable – and some downright scary – additives which can be found in your fast food, whether you like it or not.


Sulfur Dioxide


Used to prevent browning as a sort of bleaching agent, sulfur dioxide (a.k.a. coal tar) can be found in fruits and veggies, as well as soft and hard drinks. This preservative, however, has a vicious side: it destroys Vitamin B1 and has caused 12 deaths of individuals with a sensitivity to the substance. Here’s one chemical for which the negligible benefits aren’t worth the cost – or rather, the savings.



Nitrates4 500

Used primary as preservatives for meat and cheeses – contributing to taste and color – they also can lead to some adverse side-effects for people who intake nitrates on a regular basis. They include: headaches, flushed faces, and difficulties in blood carrying oxygen. Sounding like the disclaimer of a prescription drug ad, here’s another good reason to go organic/grill your own burgers.




It comes from plants and is actually good for you, as a sort of high-fiber, low-fat substitute for flour and oils; it’s used to thicken foods and toppings like salad dressing, strawberry syrup, muffins, and cheese. The source, however, is a little fetching: processed wood pulp. That’s right, trees. The cellulose in powdered form is attained by either boiling the pulp in chemicals or, with certain types, by exposing it to acid. You’d be hard-pressed not to find some cellulose in whatever you just ordered at the drive-through.


Silicon Dioxide


Also known as sand. Used to make glass and cement, it is also used as an anti-caking agent in the chili you can readily order at Wendy’s and Taco Bell. The – err – sand is used to keep the processed meat from sticking together. It isn’t harmful to consume, apparently, but it sure doesn’t sound edible.




This is an amino acid which helps enhance the pliability of dough, which better suits the machinery. Its common source: human hair and duck feathers. Most fast food – about 80% – uses the duck feathers; it’s what MacDonald’s uses in its pies and rolls. But this wasn’t always the case, as human hair was the original source, making for a sort of quasi-cannibalism. Gross – even if it is just a hair in your food.




Also known as Silly Putty plastic. It is good for making hand-rolled bouncy balls, photocopying the funnies section of the newspaper, and – in the case of the fast food industry – preventing fryolator oil from foaming. Meaning that anything dipped into that scalding vat of oil – which is essentially everything in any given mall food court – contains a trace amount of your favorite egg-shaped toy growing up.


Carminic acid


You might recognize this ingredient, a natural food coloring, by one of its many pseudonyms: Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4, Carmine, etc. It shows up in virtually everything, from soft drinks to desserts to jam and gelatin. But its source is a little irking: the cochineal. Go Google it right now. Yep, it’s a bug – in particular, a scale insect. The dye is derived from dried crushed females. Also in the same family of this insect is the Lac Beetle, which is where “confectioner’s glaze” comes from, as does shellac – you know, that thing your dad used to finish the coffee table with.




This petroleum-derived preservative shows up in beauty products, lacquers and varnishes, and most of what appears on the McDonald’s dollar menu – Fruit and Walnut Salad, the McGriddle, and Chicken McNuggets. 5 grams of this stuff can kill you, 1 gram can make you seriously ill, and while it’d take 11 pounds of McNuggets to even attain that much, it’s still horrifying to know that the FDA actually approved this stuff for general consumption (even if it is limited to 0.02% of the food item’s oil and fat content).


Ammonium Sulfate

Ammonium Sulfate

Distributed by chemical companies, it serves the role of a a sort of food for bread yeast (as if sugar wasn’t good enough). Its other purpose – ready the vomit bag – is as a fertilizer for alkaline soils. It is also used in pesticides to enhance their target effectiveness (not lethal by itself). And here you see how it’s not just the livestock and crops of a farm that goes into your food, but the very farm itself.


“Pink Slime”


This vomit-inducing, Ghostbusters-ish fast food additive has been covered by many news sources. While it is legal (and regarded as “generally safe” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture), McDonald’s has decided to discontinue allowing it into their beef, probably for all the bad press – it should be noted that only after McDonald’s finally caved did Burger King and Taco Bell drop their Alfred E. Newman-esque “What me worry?” stance on the matter. The truth is, this pink slime is sprayed with ammonium hydroxide which is used to kill off any possible bacteria. It can also be found in myriad household cleaners, fertilizers, and even homemade bombs.

For fun I have included the list of ingredients in McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets here:

“White boneless chicken, water, food starch-modified, salt, seasoning [autolyzed yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring (botanical source), safflower oil, dextrose, citric acid], sodium phosphates, natural flavor (botanical source). Battered and breaded with: water, enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, bleached wheat flour, food starch-modified, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, dextrose, corn starch.

Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane [silly putty] added as an antifoaming agent.” [Source]



    • ih! Jamunah!!

      Behold , its tomtom. A simple nice won’t suffice. This iz the shitz me yelling aboot.

  • Jake

    When’s the competition winner being announced?

    • This week – I just got back from my holiday and am going through all the submitted lists now :)

  • *burf* S’cuse me.

  • Nick

    That Pink Slime looks Disgustingly Delicious!

    • Sender

      I thought the same, like strawberry soft serve

      • KevinC

        That’s because it’s strawberry frozen yogurt. That image is from a ice cream company. Not a slaughter house making pink slime.

  • Prin

    Wow, thats disgusting and eye opening. While the list wasn’t heavy on text I found it really informative! Good Job! :)

  • Black Ninja Cat

    Ok …well I’ll be off to go nibble on some tree bark..

  • Will Trame

    To the best of my knowledge, I don’t think that Taco Bell serves chili. I love their tacos and pizza though. Sometimes I think we’re better off not knowing what’s in the food we eat.

    • Flippant

      taco bell does not server chili not pizzas

    • What kind of Mexican restaurant DOESN’T serve chilli, I assure you, even if it doesn’t say there will be chilli in something.

  • Pauly

    We need a list on how vegtables suck.

    • ni99a

      And ways we can use fruit to totally substitute vegetable forever from our life.

      Seriously, why do you guys like vegetables other than the nutrients that it provides?

      It tastes like shi.t.

      • Pauly

        Good point.

      • Missy

        I love carrot, celery and beetroot. I just put them raw through the juicer and drink it. Saves having to cook them.

        • ni99a

          Congratulations, you just killed all the minerals in your food. Have a nice day.

          • NB

            Juicing does not “kill all the minerals”.

          • Pauly

            Don’t worry. From now on, every time a vegetarian refuses to eat an animal, i’ll eat three. I suggest you do too so we stay on top of the food chain.

            Think i’ll make a raw chicken smoothie. What dosen’t kill you makes you stronger.

  • laboomcats

    I think its becoming quite apparent why everyone’s getting cancer of some sort these days.

    Its not any one thing, its everything combined.

    • Grief

      You are a doctor are you? When are you publishing your thesis oh wise one?

      • Arsnl

        No, the person knows how to use google. Why don’t you google some of the items on this list?

        • Last Wednesday ‘s Futurama made me think of you when the professor started talking about physics ;)

          • Arsnl

            But I’m not THAT old :-) . I do complain as much, i’ll give you that.

    • Maggot

      The simplistic reason is that humans are living longer on average, because diseases that in the past would have killed us before a cancer had a chance to manifest itself have nowadays been either eradicated via vaccines or are curable. Obviously lifestyle and diet plays a part, but eventually something will get us and simply put, these days there are less things that will, so proportionally there are more reported cases of these fewer things.

      • Kevin

        Genius reply!

        Seriously though, this items are questionable to the uneducated who are amazed that peanuts *can* be an ingredient in dynamite, and the like. Can we stop pretending that we understand what is going on here and admit that these things seems questionable because we have a hard time pronouncing their names.

        Take a chemistry and you’ll see that the elements aren’t as dangerous as they seem.

        Also. Drink enough Hydrogen Dioxide and you’ll die.

        • Arsnl

          “Take a chemistry and you’ll see that the elements aren’t as dangerous as they seem.”
          Weird cuz i did take a chemistry class and what i’ve learnt is: in chemistry class:
          You never taste a chemical substance.
          You never ever touch a chemical substance.
          You never inhale a chemical substance unless the prof says you can. And when you can, you don’t put your nose above the test tube, you use your hand to direct the fumes towards your nose.
          You always manipulate the substances in the order given to you by the prof (e.g. When you dilute sulfuric acid, you never pour water into it. You do it the other way round but i’ll let you discover why champ).
          And if you think elements arent dangerous why don’t you inhale some ozone (it’s just O3) and put some sodium on your tongue it’s just kinda salt.

          • Seriously? Anything you can put in a bottle or hold in your hand, anything you can breathe or see or ingest or touch is made of chemicals. All matter is made of chemicals. Chemicals are not limited to what you do in class.

          • FMH

            If you would apply lab class safety rules to the real world, you would starve.

        • Kevin, I find your comment to be a little stupid tbh. Sure there are some things that really aren’t as bad as the name suggests. It doesn’t change the fact there are other things that are very bad for you. Not to mention that even if something processed isn’t bad for me, I would still much rather fresh food.

        • Belle

          Isn’t “dihydrogen oxide”?

      • Arsnl

        “lifestyle and diet plays a part, but eventually something will get us and simply put,”
        That’s just a laissez-faire attitude. You’ll die anyway of something. I think we owe it to the people who came up with the vaccines to live a healthy life.

        • Maggot

          That’s just a laissez-faire attitude.

          Come on man, read my entire sentence and don’t parse my words…I didn’t say that in the context that you are implying. I was merely describing one of the main reasons why there are more reported cases of cancer relative to other things now than in the past. Interestingly though, while heart disease and cancer respectively are the two leading causes of death in the U.S. these days, both of their rates per 100k total deaths are on the DECLINE, albeit only slightly and more recently so for cancer.

          Check out this cool New England Journal of Medicine website and click on the interactive graph link…it brings up a really fascinating display that illustrates my initial point pretty well:

          • Arsnl

            ” describing one of the main reasons”

            *ONE*, i guess it is important to stress that out. Others may be, like you said, lifestyle and diet.

            “both of their rates per 100k total deaths are on the DECLINE,” well that’s not very amazing since people are generally more healthy and since your spending on healthcare increased 1000% since 1980 while your population only increased about 50%.

            But it is interesting to note that you Americans are, in general in a poorer health state compared with the average of some Western European states ( a simple google check will confirm that). Lets hope Obamacare will fix that. I still find it funny you refuse to let taxes pay for the health coverage (even if that will be the case for poor people) but hey congrats. Welcome to the club of universal health coverage (and i dont mean that in a condescending way).

          • Arsnl, what did I tell you about US politics? We’re very… sensitive about our current political state. You are threating to open the flood gates ;)

          • Maggot

            *ONE*, i guess it is important to stress that out. Others may be, like you said, lifestyle and diet.

            Lol, I guess you’re just rarin’ to squabble about something, eh? Well, I would be willing to bet that it is the MAIN reason. Lifestyle and diet I don’t think are really that much worse today than in the past…I mean specifically with regard to being cancer-causing. Some things are more prevalent (like a few of the things on this list, but even they are relatively low-risk), while other worse carcinogens have been banned, so maybe it evens out? But, even if lifestyle/diet is markedly worse today (again, only talking about cancer-causingly worse), the only reason it comes to fruition (i.e. results in a cancer) is because of reason number one – we didn’t die of something else first (once-common things like TB, influenza, polio, small pox, diphtheria, measles, etc.).

            your spending on healthcare increased 1000% since 1980 while your population only increased about 50%.

            Interesting stat but doesn’t mean much on its own. Is that 1000% increase adjusted for inflation (which has been much higher in the last 20 or so years for this expense category compared to overall)? Also, while the population may have only increased by 50%, the average age of the population has risen, so perhaps more “old people” (the huge wave of aging “baby-boomers’) are tapping more expensive and lengthier treatments and care these days than in 1980. Not really trying to dispute or argue about it, but as a maths guy like you should know, statistics can be misleading without properly examining or understanding all the contributing factors.

            But it is interesting to note that you Americans are, in general in a poorer health state compared with the average of some Western European states

            Meh, I guess that’s interesting. It doesn’t seem that surprising to me. I dunno…why is that “interesting” to you? Is it just another of those “you Americans aren’t as great as you think you are” things? Heh. Not even going to get into the universal health care topic…

          • Arsnl

            “Lifestyle and diet I don’t think are really that much worse today than in the past”
            Now you are just guesstimating. We simply cant know that. 
            “other worse carcinogens have been banned”
            Maybe you can give me an example of 5 food additives that have been used since 1500s and have been recently banned. My idea is that well industrial is good cuz we can produce more, cheaper, but that it kind of sucks in all the other departments (health, taste)
            “increase adjusted for inflation ”
            Yes i didnt think about that. According to an inflation calculator 1- 80s dollar about 2.50-2010s dollar. So lets say inflation was 150% *contd*

          • Arsnl

            *contd* “so perhaps more “old people””
            No. There’s no evidence that that much more old people percentage-wise are in the US. (see:
            Or the population pyramid (see: 
            The population pyramid has about the same profile. 
            Now back to the data (given by: -pdf-) in 1980 you spent about 255 mil (so about 650 and in 2010 dollars) 2.59 bil. in 2010. So ok about a 400%  increase in spending while only a 50% increase in population. (and the population has basically the same structure). You spend much more than before, so of course you live more. 
            “why is that “interesting” ”
            It is interesting when you think of the causes: its either lifestyle and diet, it’s either genetics (but thats silly) or politics (universal health care coverage, maybe the uninsured skew your statistics etc). 
            “you Americans aren’t as great as you think you are”
            No, you are as great as you think you are, just like any other people on this planet. “Pound for pound” you are just as great as the greeks, egyptians, mesopotamians, chinese, isrealis/jewish, italians, indians etc. in science, culture etc. I doubt “less healthy” is an american trait, something americans defend as being part of their culture. So there is no need to take things personally. 

          • Maggot

            Now you are just guesstimating. We simply cant know that.

            I’ll grant you that, but this whole convo started because of a guesstimate, which you seem to be defending. The OP said “quite apparent why everyone’s getting cancer”. Do we know that? Eh, don’t bother looking up a stat on it because I merely countered with that we primarily see a lot more cancer now because other formerly common things that would’ve caused death prior to the onset of a cancer have been either eliminated or greatly reduced. That doesn’t exactly refute the OP’s contention that people today are, or may be, getting cancer from these things, nor did I intend it to.

            Then you rebutted me by saying “we owe it to the people who came up with the vaccines to live a healthy life.”. That’s a fair statement and I don’t disagree with you. The cheap shot would’ve been something like “we don’t owe anyone jack; we can do whatever we want, including eating unhealthily if we so choose”.

            Maybe you can give me an example of 5 food additives that have been used since 1500s and have been recently banned.

            Mercury? Lead (if not an additive per se, but a packaging contaminant)? Arsenic? Formaldehyde? Sulfur? I honestly don’t know if these were used all the way back to the 1500s (why did you put that as a qualifier?), and maybe they’re not all carcinogens but are certainly dangerous and if not outright banned, at least are highly regulated. Sorry, not trying to cheat your challenge. Lol. Anyway, a simple google search would reveal other various carcinogenic food additives that have been banned relatively recently (but not likely used in the 1500s). Various dyes and whatnot. Btw I was also off-handedly thinking about “lifestyle” things with that statement. So other things like tobacco (not banned of course, but the many precautions/bans taken regarding second-hand smoke exposure) and increased awareness and efforts to reduce sun exposure. CCA wood preservative bans. Asbestos bans. DDT insecticide bans. Lead-based paint. Etc.

            My idea is that well industrial is good cuz we can produce more, cheaper, but that it kind of sucks in all the other departments (health, taste)

            I also agree with that. “Convenience” (a euphemism for laziness? lol) is another factor that also sacrifices quality, health, taste (i.e. why “fast food” is popular).

            According to an inflation calculator…

            Well I did say that healthcare inflation outpaced “all” inflation (in the U.S.). Yeah, another guesstimate, but I think that is pretty common knowledge, no? So your number might need further refining?

            You spend much more than before, so of course you live more.

            Or maybe we live more so we spend more (i.e. a longer opportunity to cumulatively spend)? Which is the cart and which is the horse? It’s probably a combination of both things.

            There’s no evidence that that much more old people percentage-wise are in the US.

            What are you talking about? Both of your sources show the population aging. Is it “that much” more? I dunno, but the infoplease chart shows percentages rising for both the 45-65 and 65+ columns while percentages for the under 5 and 5-19 columns are dropping. The 20-44 column is somewhat stable, but also dropping steadily since 1990. You can also see the so-called baby-boomer wave moving across the columns, starting with the spike in the 5 and under column for rows 1950 and 1960. The pyramid graphs (more like diamonds) also show the outermost tips (the longest bars) moving up the ladder. With the exception of the 1950 pyramid 5-9 and 0-4 bars, which show the post WW2 baby-boom wave beginning. Both of those pages cite the U.S. Census Bureau as their data sources. So here’s a summary straight from the horse’s mouth:


            I doubt “less healthy” is an american trait, something americans defend as being part of their culture.

            Well of course it wouldn’t be defended, because it’s not a positive attribute. Doesn’t mean it isn’t so, as attested by whatever data is out there. I didn’t verify your earlier claim to this, but I’ll take it for granted, because it’s obvious we generally have a more sedentary lifestyle now than in the past.

  • Arkon

    U can’t eat anything now days. Even the air & water are polluted. We have to find a new planet to live in.

    • Um

      Why so we can ruin that one too? No thanks.

  • Mike

    Three plants shut down over the pink slime scare, put 650 folks out of work. I’ll eat that $hit. If the liberals get their way we’ll be digging for grub worms to eat…aholes. This crap looks like laffy taffy, who gives a $hit.

    • Trollolol

      I feel sorry for you and your ignorance, hopefully you get some sort of mystery cancer from something you eat and very slowly suffer from it, but i guess you’ll blame the liberals for that too.

      • crimanon

        Personally I’ll blame the vegans and anyone whose ever reported on food and cast a negative light when there should never have been an issue.

    • diablo135

      Not to mention that we’ve been eating the pink slime for a while. No deaths reported.

  • Joe

    I eat pretty healthy for bodybuilding but i enjoy eating out at jack n box or grabbing a hot dog. I really dont care what ingredients are in. I think people obsess about this and that, and usually theyre not even living a healthy lifestyle to begin with to even be concerned with the issue. I love me a baconator regardless, godforbid i find my dogs hair in my food and we have an attack on that too.

  • jjjj

    If they won’t kill me, I don’t care if they’re woods or duck feathers or human hairs or sands or bugs or whatever. Some of the entries didn’t explain the health risk of consuming these things – just their ‘disgusting’ origins.

  • Jiazzz

    Why do people creep out about things like L-cysteine? If it is properly processed, there is no difference between natural cysteine in protein and cysteine extracted from duck feathers.
    Like vitamin C from fruits and from pills, it’s the same molecule, they don’t retain anything from their past.

    • Ernest J. King

      Because folks creep out about anything sounding remotely chemical-esque. I don’t see why you’d worry the least bit about cellulose in your food, either. Call water “dihydrogen oxide” and people will freak out about it as well.

      Plus, it’s not like “organic” (as opposed to silicon-based?) food is completely devoid of carcinogens, nor is is true that all artificially induced “chemicals” (as opposed to ethereal forms of existence?) are bad for you. Plants have their own, naturally produced pesticides whose presence we cannot control or get rid of by putting an “organic” label on them. There are literally hundreds of carcinogens in, say, organic coffee–and that doesn’t mean I need to freak out by them.

      Of course, this doesn’t mean all additives are good or even non-harmful for you. But the bastardizing of the word “chemical” and glorification of the word “organic” are more damaging than beneficial.

      • Maggot

        folks creep out about anything sounding remotely chemical-esque.

        I wonder how many people who would freak out about these kinds of trace chemicals in their food (or the air we breathe daily or the tap water we drink) will do so while blithely puffing away on a cigarette or making regular visits to a tanning salon to keep up that “healthy glow”?

  • Missy

    Most food additives are questionable. I remember years back, we used to have iodine as a dough softener in flour. Now they use brominated vege oil which is very bad for your health. My grandmother used to use Lugol’s solution when making bread. If we got rid of bromides, we’d probably all lose weight easily.

  • Salo Hes

    You forget to add saliva and body sweat, courtesy of the provoked waiters. Nice list though

  • Mob

    As boring as a hommoo.

    • Salo Hes

      Do you want another science fiction list ?

      • Mob

        I want another not-boring list. Do you have one?

        • Salo Hes

          Jot down a list of non “boring” topics that you fancy. I believe every writer would be excited to make a list for you …. Mob

  • ChristineM

    Although the idea of eating bugs sounds gross, carmine is a safe alternative to chemical dyes like the previously used carcinogenic red dye amaranth. Not to mention in the food production process insects get into just about anything

    • Alex

      I’m allergic to chemical red dyes- rather eat bugs than that crap. As gross as the idea may be- food coloring tends to be much worse for you and probably should be on this list instead.

  • Vanowensbody

    Ryan. Sulfur dioxide is not coal tar. Coal tar is a byproduct of using coal to make coke Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a gas that is a byproduct of making coke out of coal. Coal tar is used in food mostly as a coloring agent. SO2, as you stated, is mostly used in food as a preservative. They are not in any way the same thing. SO2 is a gas. Coal tar is a solid/liquid. While both are questionable food additives it is incorrect to state they are the same thing.

  • Yet again, Ryan Thomas is in the running with Flamehorse for the worst, trollingest lists on this site.

    • ni99a

      What’s yo beef?

    • flamehorse

      You know what? I think McDonald’s is delicious.

  • Sam

    This list is too American

  • that picture you show for pink slime isn’t pink slime, it’s finely textured chicken, which is just as disgusting. pink slime is ground beef.

  • Sbtier

    MSG could also be on the list. Evil, evil substance that they give about 40 different names to. I always know when I accidentally eat it because I start getting a migraine 20 minutes later.

    I din’t really mind the beetle food coloring because the alternative is the carcinogenic red dye.

  • Joanne

    Just because they sound “gross” or unfamiliar or “unnatural” doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad for you. These additives are not a sign of degrading tastes or a government conspiracy to fvck us over; it’s about efficiency – not letting anything go to waste and making the most of our resources that have not yet kept up with the pace of economic development and continued population growth.

    • ni99a

      Can somebody reply to her points because she sounds right to me.

      • crimanon

        Nope she got it.

  • undaunted warrior 1

    Dont know much about this stuff

    But Im sure if you mixed it all together and added liquid you will either end up with rocket fuel or a very strong pestiside.

  • Lifeschool

    I was thinking MSG, Asulfame-K, Cyclamate, Potassium Bromate, Trans Fat etc would have been more interesting, those in the list just the tip of the iceberg.

  • darkknight9761

    You know, this is some scary sh*t! We ingest these chemicals everyday in everything we eat and never give it a thought.

  • PoorMe

    What about Mono Sodium Glutamate? They are supposed to be bad for health but used as taste enhancer.

  • crimanon

    More food scare BS. You know what I call that “Pink Slime?” Progress. Welcome to living longer and healthier than you would have 30 years ago.

    • Lifeschool

      That is more to do with the advances in healthcare over the degeneration of food safety standards.

  • 1gav

    Nice list but hardly life-altering.

  • meh it tastes good so Im alright with it.

  • bear

    without davids head, it simple looks like there is a naked fat dude on the front page of the site

  • Vince

    We eat organics almost exclusively, which has come about over time, in part to eliminate certain additives from our kids’ diets. Anything with coloring (reds, yellows, blues) makes them go absoloutely nuts.

  • All those big, scary words and horrible pictures will obviously instill an immediate reaction of disgust in people at first glance. People have been eating this stuff for how long now? The word “chemicals” also provokes an unnecessarily negative reaction. All matter is chemicals. Anything you can put in a bottle or hold in your hand, anything you can breathe or see or ingest or touch is made of chemicals.

    I normally eat a very healthy diet, home-cooked meals, etc. Once in a while I allow myself some fast food, and there is nooothing wrong with it.

    • Here’s another list with “scary” names that’s also used in -gourmet- cooking:

      People need to stop being afraid of big words.

    • Arsnl

      “All matter is chemicals. Anything you can put in a bottle or hold in your hand, anything you can breathe or see or ingest or touch is made of chemicals.”

      Wow thanks. We dumb people of LV never knew that.

      “People need to stop being afraid of big words.”

      The problem is NOT the name of the substance. The problem is adding an industrial artificial agent to a produce without fully understanding the effects or using said substances when we know that in larger concentrations the substance is dangerous.

      Ammonia water used in to make pink slime is corrosive and dangerous to the environment.

      And #3 can cause cancer according to this article:

      When you manipulate something and tell other people to use/consume that something you have to be sure that what you’re doing is 100% safe.

  • MW

    Ryan can add food chemistry to the long list of things he knows nothing about.

  • la chica de cafe

    I don’t see anything particularly gross about the cochineal bugs.

  • Just because an ingredient used in food also can be found in a cleaner or even a bomb etc, doesn’t necessarily mean it is harmful to you. Be more scientific, this is exactly the kind of lazy scaremongering that causes reactionary idiots to go into full conspiracy theory mode.

    All additives could be removed from our food, but I think people would soon look at the health risks Vs benefits more rationally when they see how much more expensive food would become if we stopped using preservatives.

  • food additives suck

    This is a well done list Ryan. Thanks. Don’t know why some people gotta be h8ters. I had to avoid food colourings and additives for a long time because my daughter was allergic to milk, wheat and eggs…and this was over 30yrs ago! At that time people simply did not believe someone could be allergic to food! Try to find gluten free then!

  • Planet Earth

    I wonder some times THE NEW CHEMICAL AGE = THE NEW AGE OF AUTISM .

    I also find it ironic that the quote unquote the smartest people on the planet are probably creating some of the worst problems the world has ever seen . Am looking at you Monsantos .

  • You forgot the worst additive of all. High fructose corn syrup is a cause for obesity, diabetes, gout, hypertension and ultimately heart disease. We all consume mass quantities of it.

    • Code Word

      …You mean sugar…Yes. We also consume fat and salt. These things are natural, of course not good in exceptionally high quantities.

  • Reblogged this on The Life & Trials of A….

  • Whiney

    Average listverse comment: EEK! Not another “Ryan Thomas” list…! Bla, bla bla moan whinge b1tch.

  • misemjay-food technologist

    those additives are the price of having convenient and pre-prepared foods.. Mind you, there’s still alot of what you can say as disgusting food additives but without those would you enjoy eating those fastfood stuffs now?! Besides FDA or other agencies have listed them as GRAS (generally regulated as safe). If you dont wanna be affected with those things, then avoid eating out. They are the norms, you might not found certain additive in one fastfood but it might have been replaced by a more disgusting one..

  • blight

    Ryan’s best list so far.

  • Pettibonesmith

    Fast food is not useful for the health but its Harmful for the health .

  • richer

    The pink slime is used to make the meat look red. Raw meat is usually brown and generally disgusting looking until cooked. Are you going to believe your butcher when he says the brown meat is freshk? Hell no your not. As a people we were much better off not knowing whats in our food.

  • helloidiots

    americans are fat

  • Just Jordan

    Ryan Thomas… Your writing style resembles “Pink Slime”.
    I can’t take any list you write seriously.

  • Reblogged this on ThE topSy-tuRvY mE and commented:
    food technologist, TAKE NOTE!

  • Ling

    as they say, “IGNORANCE IS BLISS”