Chances are, when you see a glossy yellow bag of Funyuns, your mouth starts to water in anticipation … or maybe you have flashbacks to “Half Baked.” Either way, salty junk food such as this is a personal vice of mine, but still something everyone should (mostly) avoid. With a plethora of MSG, or monosodium glutamate, processed foods such as this can wreak havoc on your body in excess. According to the Mayo Clinic, too much MSG can cause heart palpitations, headaches, nausea and can even over-excite receptors in your brain to the point of damage.
Haribo Gummi Bears
This one is a favorite, with several excited looks and comments throughout the office as we placed this fruity treat on the table after selecting our foods for this article. If you don’t want this one spoiled, go ahead and skip it, because finding out your favorite gummies are made with carnauba wax might ruin things a bit. Carnauba wax has been used in a lot of food, but it can also be found in automobile and surfboard wax, shoe, floor and furniture polish. These bad news bears also contain the food dyes Red 40 and Blue 1, which “might contain contaminants that may contribute to cancer in humans,” as well as ADHD. Perhaps this is why many countries in Europe banned them.
You wouldn’t find these in every convenience store if someone wasn’t eating them. Excluding the fact that there are 430 calories, 18 grams of fat and 49 grams of sugar in these sweet treats, you might also discover some sweet meats in here. Beef fat is an ingredient in Zingers, deriving from the animal shortening, which results in a whopping 30 percent of your daily value in fat. You can thank the fatty dream team of diglycerides, animal shortening and hydrogenated oils for that, and they also allow these products to sit on a shelf for months and months on end without spoiling. Yay.
The meager Slim Jim has been featured on so many of these types of breakdowns because … well … it’s just kinda disgusting. Raising your blood pressure with 20 percent of your DV in sodium, salt content is the first alarming ingredient on the humble meat stick. This is so high because they need to prevent all that beef, pork and mechanically separated chicken (yum!) from spoiling. Unluckily for you, preserved meats are now right up there with the best cancer-causing greats like cigarettes! There’s even some awesome hydrolyzed oils in here, which have also been linked to cancer. It’s like a cancer stick or something! Wait … that’s cigarettes right?
Mountain Dew — err, MTN Dew* has been enjoyed for decades now. If you love to “do the dew,” I suggest you forgo this excerpt. Soft drinks have been on the list of “bad shit to consume” for many years now, but the antifreeze-looking MTNDew might be the worst. If the 77 grams of sugar don’t scare you off, perhaps the known cancerous combo of sodium benzoate and citric acid will. When these two chems get together, they form benzene, which is linked to cancers such as leukemia. Brominated vegetable oil, a flame retardant, is also found in Dew, though the FDA said it’s “ok” in small amounts. There’s also Yellow 5. No. It won’t shrink your man berries. But, it has been found to decrease sperm count.
Now that we’ve either thoroughly grossed you out or pissed you off, let’s take a step back. No one is saying you need to completely cut out processed foods. You want a refreshingly citrusy soda? Go for it. You want a salty bag of cheesy chips? Eat them. Just remember to cut back and consume everything in moderation, we promise you’ll feel better. Now excuse us while we eat all this junk food we just photographed.