40 Food Facts

Whether they’re healthy or not, food has interesting facts about them that you never would have guessed or thought of.
1. Most supermarket wasabi is actually horseradish. Real wasabi is challenging to make and expensive. As an alternative, most wasabi for sale is coloured horseradish with flavourings.
2. Fruit-flavoured snacks shine because of wax. Yep, the same wax that is used on cars, carnauba wax, is the same type of wax that is used to give gummy sweets a glossy sheen.
3. Nutmeg is a hallucinogen. If you ingest nutmeg in large doses, it works like a hallucinogen due to a natural compound called myristicin. It has mind-altering effects if taken in large doses.
4. Crackers have holes in them for a reason. During the baking process, the holes prevent air bubbles from ruining the product.
5. Ketchup used to be used as a medicine. Back in the early 1800s, people thought tomatoes had medicinal qualities. One doctor claimed they could treat diarrhea and indigestion, so he made a recipe for a type of tomato ketchup which then became a pill.
6. White chocolate isn’t chocolate. Its name is deceiving because white chocolate doesn’t have any components of regular chocolate. It’s really just a mixture of sugar, milk, vanilla, lecithin, and cocoa butter.
7. Farmed salmon is dyed pink. Wild salmon is naturally pink because of all the shrimp they eat. Meanwhile, farm-raised salmon have a different diet and end up being white. However, they are fed specific plant pigments to get the same hue as wild salmon.
8. Originally, the red food dye for Skittles was made from crushed and boiled bodies of a beetle called Dactylopius coccus.
9. Chili peppers don’t actually burn your mouth. There’s a chemical in chili peppers called capsaicin that tricks your mouth into feeling like it’s being burned – that’s why spicy food hurts. The pain is all in your head!
10. Cheese is the most stolen food in the world. In fact, it’s stolen so much it has its own percentage! About 4% of all cheese made around the globe ends up stolen. There’s even a black market for cheese!
11. One in four hazelnuts ends up in Nutella. Nutella is so popular, 25% of all hazelnuts end up in a jar! Since they’re in such high demand, some universities are trying to grow them in labs in order to negate global shortages.
12. Certain music can make you drink faster. Researchers had an experiment to see how people’s drinking habits changed based on the music that was playing. Loud music seemed to make people drink more, and faster.
13. Chocolate has been used as a currency in ancient civilizations of Mexico and South America. As the Aztecs started dominating Mesoamerica, they also loved cocoa beans which couldn’t be grown in their civilization. They had to rely on the Mayans and traded cocoa beans with them as a system of money.
14. McDonald’s sells an estimated 2.5 billion hamburgers every year. That equates to 75 hamburgers sold every second or 6.5 million hamburgers each day!
15. You can find peanuts in dynamite. Peanuts have an oil that is used as an ingredient while making glycerol, which is a main component of nitroglycerin.
16. Expiration dates on bottled water have nothing to do with the water. Water can’t expire – but the bottle it’s in can. Plastic bottles will eventually start leaking chemicals into the water. It won’t make the water harmful to drink, but it will make it taste less fresh.
17. Some people are scared of peanut butter. Getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth is annoying sure, but Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter getting stuck to the roof of your mouth!
18. In ancient Egyptian days, radishes, onions, and garlic were given to workers as wages. Radishes specifically were because they helped with infectious diseases!
19. French fries originated in Belgium, not France! They are only called French fries because they are French cut.
20. Strawberries are not berries. Technically, berries only have seeds on the inside, a rule which is obviously broken by strawberries!
21. Margherita pizza is named after a queen. When King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples, they wanted a change from their fancy food and asked for pizza, which was food for the poor back then.
22. Bad eggs will float. If you need to test the freshness of your eggs, put them in a glass of cold water. The fresher the egg, the faster it will fall to the bottom! Any eggs that float should be thrown out.
23. Ripe cranberries will bounce. If you want to test how ripe your cranberries are, drop them on the ground! Cranberries are nature’s bouncy ball – even farmers use this technique to see if their cranberries are ready for shipment!
24. Coffee beans can help eliminate bad breath. If you chew on roasted coffee beans, it can help prevent the bacteria that cause bad breath. Drinking coffee helps too, it’s just less effective.
25. Food tastes different when you’re flying. Altitude changes your body chemistry, making certain flavours taste different than how they taste when you’re on the ground.
26. Figs can contain dead wasps. Figs are actually inverted flowers with a unique pollination process requiring wasps instead of bees. Female wasps lay their eggs in male figs that we don’t eat, but sometimes the wasp will accidentally enter a female fig, which is a deadly mistake. The wasp dies inside and ends up decomposing inside the fig.
27. India produces, consumes, and exports the most chili peppers in the world.
28. Turkey consumes the most tea per person. Although Turkish coffee is popular, tea is the bigger of the staples. Per capita, Turks drink almost 7 pounds of tea every year. Even England doesn’t drink that much!
29. Brown sugar is no different than white sugar. Brown sugar is no less refined than white sugar. The only difference is the fact that some of the molasses that gets removed in the refining process, is added back in.
30. Tonic water glows in the dark. It’s weird to think that my insides are glowing whenever I have a gin and tonic, but it’s true! Quinine is the component of tonic water which is what causes the glow.
31. Nutritious food is more expensive than junk food. This is a great excuse to use to eat junk food and save money, but our bodies don’t like it so much! Per ounce, nutritious food costs up to 10 times more than junk food.
32. In an emergency, coconut water can be used for blood plasma. Just like blood plasma, coconut water has levels of high sodium and low potassium. It should only be used in absolute emergencies, because adverse effects may be fever, headaches, itchiness, or aching sensations.
33. Fortune cookies are not Chinese. Although we think of these as a Chinese food staple, fortune cookies are from an entirely different continent! They were invented in the early 1900s in San Francisco.
34. Eating fast food regularly has the same impact on the liver as hepatitis. One month of eating fast food can cause significant changes to your liver due to the amount of fat and saturated fats. These changes in liver enzymes are similar to the effects of hepatitis.
35. A ridiculous amount of Nutella is sold every year. So much so, that it could cover The Great Wall of China 8 times, you could circle the world 1.8 times, and the amount weighs the same as the Empire State Building.
36. Australians eat the most meat. Coming in at a whopping 200 pounds per person every year, Australians take first place, but are still closely followed by Americans.
37. There are more Indian restaurants in London than in Mumbai or Delhi. There are around 15,000 restaurants in the U.K., with most of them being in major cities, specifically London and while they serve Indian food, most of the owners are of Bangladesh descent.
38. The original Margherita pizza was colour-coded. The Margherita pizza was made to represent the Italian flag – basil for green, tomatoes for red, and mozzarella for white.
39. Not eating before bed burns fat. If you eat an early dinner or skip dinner altogether, it increases the amount of fat a person burns while they’re sleeping.
40. Sound can influence the taste of your food. High-frequency sounds to enhance the sweetness in food, while low frequencies bring out the bitterness.
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