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8 Scary Hidden Ingredients in Processed Foods

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1. Diacetyl

Found In: Microwave popcorn.

Several healthy, young and non-smoking males began developing an extremely rare form of lung cancer. What they had in common was that they worked in popcorn factories, and were inhaling diacetyl for extended periods of time. Several manufacturers have voluntarily removed the chemical from their products, and some governments have stepped in to regulate the harmful chemical. But it’s more than just a worker safety concern — a man in the United States was awarded over $7 million in damages after his case of the rare cancer was linked to the chemical. Studies have also suggested that diacetyl may be linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Also Check Out: 8 Amazing Animal Facts


2. Silicon Dioxide

Also Known As: Sand.

Found In: Fast food.

Just as you might add it to concrete to strengthen it, silicon dioxide is added to various fast food meals to keep it from clumping. Though that does sound pretty gross, it’s important to note that silicon dioxide is generally safe to consume in small quantities.

Related: 10 Best Surprises Reuses of 2012


3. 3-MCPD

Formed By: Exposing foods that contain fat and salt to high temperatures during the production process.

Found In: Asian oyster, soy and hoisin sauces. They’re also found in wheat products, meat and cheese.

Banned in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, (though not, yet, in the United States), 3-MCPD is toxic to humans and raises your risk of cancer.

Earlier: 7 Funny & Unusual Town Names

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.


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9:53AM PST on Dec 6, 2013


10:24AM PDT on May 21, 2013


3:38PM PDT on May 6, 2013

Truly scary- and who is out there protecting us- the consumers? If these issues are out there for all to read- where are the powers that be who should be vigilant about protecting health and safety of all?

10:24PM PDT on May 3, 2013

Some really scarey additives for our food! Cook your own to avoid this!
Thank You

1:27AM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

I like your article. It is very informative. Thank you so much for sharing such priceless information. Hats-off to the writer. Keep on posting such nice articles. Love to read you. Thank you so much.

5:08PM PST on Feb 24, 2013

No more eating of processed foods?

12:43PM PST on Feb 21, 2013

In the early 1970's my mother noticed she was developing a lot of little red spots [small benign capillary tumors] and severe, frequent headaches. She went to an allergist who tested her extensively and diagnosed her with a sensitivity to the new- fad preservatives BHA and BHT. My family soon learned all about these compounds and avoided purchasing anything containing them. Her red spots went away quickly. She still gets a severe headache if she unknowingly eats a food with one of these nasty concoctions in it. She has had to give up so many things she liked...especially her favorite brands of breakfast cereal. Manufacturers use these because they're cheap. These preservatives are common in many things, even pet food. The allergist told my mom that these chemicals are poison, so we've all been avoiding them for years.

2:11AM PST on Feb 14, 2013

I wonder why BPA was not mentioned in that list?

5:42PM PST on Feb 13, 2013

Thank you

11:25AM PST on Feb 13, 2013

Great information, thanks.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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