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Disgusting Food American Style

Updated on March 14, 2015
healthy foods, including fruit, vegetables, fish and bread
healthy foods, including fruit, vegetables, fish and bread | Source
Zimmern might try this but rat meat might actually be healthier than what we eat.
Zimmern might try this but rat meat might actually be healthier than what we eat. | Source

Eating Healthy

In a recent study, 52 percent of Americans (that were polled) believed doing their taxes was easier than figuring out how to eat healthy. Andrew Zimmern is busy making a career out of showing us all the gross stuff people eat. While Zimmern is busy eating bats and rats and bugs, what about the stuff that's on your dinner plate? You don't eat anything that is gross do you? There are many foods in our diet that even Andrew should avoid.

Recent studies show some startling facts about food in America

We eat 200 pounds of meat per year including 66.6 pounds of beef and 87.7 pounds of chicken.
In the 1950s, we ate 138 lbs of meat a year so we now eat 62 pounds more meat than our parents did. Does that mean we are 31 percent healthier?
Americans consume 31 percent more packaged food than fresh food.
We eat over 10 billion donuts in the US every year.
We eat 141.6 lbs. of sweeteners. In addition, we drink 53 gallons of soda.
We eat 415.4 lbs. of vegetables but that includes potatoes, sweet corn, and 29 pounds French fries.
We each use 1540 lbs. of corn per year! Much of that goes to feed livestock, a lot goes into HFCS, (High Fructose Corn Syrup), and 20 percent goes in the gas tank as ethanol. Still, that's a lot of corn. Drink a sweetened soda and the calories come from corn. GMO corn is everywhere in packaged foods.
We each consume 25.7 pounds of total candies (not counting gum).
We each eat about a ton of food in a year but we only spend 9.4 percent of disposable income on food. It has become very economical to eat some very questionable food.

How will Korean girls react to American junk food

Some interesting reactions, and they do like some real junk."Kind of tastes like a candle" sums up a lot of American processed food.

It tastes like rubber and strawberries

This political cartoon pays homage to Bureau of Chemistry Chief Chemist Harvey Wiley who led the fight to institute a federal law to prohibit adulterated and mis-branded food and drugs, which President Theodore Roosevelt signed in 1906 as the Pure Fo
This political cartoon pays homage to Bureau of Chemistry Chief Chemist Harvey Wiley who led the fight to institute a federal law to prohibit adulterated and mis-branded food and drugs, which President Theodore Roosevelt signed in 1906 as the Pure Fo | Source

Federal Agencies

The USDA and the FDA are charged with various aspects of protecting and ensuring the safety of our food. Considering the amount of food consumed, the number of people in this country, the budget these agencies have to spend and the amount of imported foods to watch, they do a pretty good job. There are very few instances of food borne illness in the US. (Compared to the number of people and quantities of food consumed)

On the other hand, the government shows very little concern for the possible long-term consequences of the many ways in which big Ag businesses manipulate our food. Profit and expansion are the aim of any business and big Ag is no different.

Can we rely on the food industry to look out for our best interests? The food industry exploits nutrition science and the ignorance of their customers for their commercial interests. Look at the multitude of packaged foods for buzzwords like "reduced-fat", "reduced-calorie", "low sodium", "low glycemic index", "vitamin-fortified", "fiber-fortified", "pro-biotic", or "heart healthy" processed foods. Apparently, our food supply was not meeting our nutritional needs until companies like Nestle, Con Agra, General Mills and many others came to the rescue. Makes one wonder how humans ever survived before business came along to enrich our food. Maybe we can eat "All Natural" foods" to protect our health. MSG, Aspartame, anal secretions of beavers called castoreum and bugs in your food are all considered "natural flavors" or "natural colors"

Meat processing
Meat processing | Source


Since 1975, the average weight of a fattened steer sold to a packing plant has increased to 1,300 pounds—up from 1,000 pounds in 1975. As a chef, I have watched this trend in dismay, beef cuts kept getting bigger while the quality got worse. I started my career in food service in 1968, but by 2000, I needed bigger plates to serve a prime rib dinner. According to Melody Peterson, the main reason farm animals are getting bigger is pharmaceutical: heavy use of antibiotics, hormones, and other growth-enhancing drugs.

Traces of all of these drugs remain in the meat we eat and the long-term effects have not been researched. The research on any new drug is conducted by the company that is making that drug. When the company is satisfied with their results the drug goes to an evaluation process by the FDA. The FDA uses the research provided by the drug company for approval. (This over-simplifies a complex process) For now, you and I are guinea pigs. If the traces of drugs we eat have any long-term effects on people just check your health in about 30 years. The FDA and USDA have a long history of allowing dangerous products to be consumed in America. Think about Thalidomide, Vioxx, Round Up and 2-4D herbicides and genetically modified corn.

There was a near hysteria concern recently about "Pink Slime" being part of the hamburger we eat. Pink slime is manufactured when a company liquefies beef trimmings and uses a spinning centrifuge to separate the sinews and fats from the meat, leaving a mash that which is then frozen into small squares and sold as a low-cost additive to hamburger. Oops! Those trimmings are teeming with pathogens that will sicken or kill you if you eat them. No problem, BPI (Beef Products Inc) started disinfecting the slime with ammonia. Then they convinced the FDA to allow them to list it as a "processing ingredient" so that we wouldn't know we were eating ammonia.
The solution: Eat only grass fed organic beef and if you want hamburger, grind your own or have your butcher grind it for you.

This is how your chicken dinner started out
This is how your chicken dinner started out | Source
Process enough and you create Chicken_McNuggets
Process enough and you create Chicken_McNuggets | Source


Most of the chickens we see in the market are raised using intensive farming practices. Once you have two chickens to a square foot of space, the transmission of disease is a big problem. This is not a problem with the USDA or the farmers. All the farmer needs to do is feed large amounts of antibiotics and drugs to keep them alive in conditions that would otherwise kill them. The antibiotics make chickens grow so large, so fast that they often are crippled under their own weight. When I started my career in food service if I wanted a large chicken breast, say ten ounces or more, my only choice was to buy a capon (a castrated rooster) now if I want a small breast for a single serving, I either pay extra or buy a Franken-breast and trim it to size. Meanwhile, you, my patrons and I are eating traces of antibiotics.

The solution: buy free-range organic chicken, There is another benefit, organic chicken even has more flavor. For years, I have mocked people that told me the food used to taste better back in the good old days, now I am a believer.

Smoked Meats_at_Davids_Kitchen
Smoked Meats_at_Davids_Kitchen | Source

Processed Meats

Ah, bacon, food of the Gods, a hot dog at the BBQ, a ham sandwich or a Polish sausage and lots of sliced deli meats from the local grocery store. All loaded with salt and Nitrates/Nitrites. There is a growing body of evidence that nitrites are a powerful carcinogen yet no-one wants to give up their bacon.
The solution: There is no substitute for these chemicals, the only thing you can do is limit the amount you eat.

Port Gibson Piggly Wiggly
Port Gibson Piggly Wiggly | Source
Gerber's_Baby_Food_Fortified! | Source
Sugary drinks kill thousands yearly
Sugary drinks kill thousands yearly | Source

Packaged Foods

In the process of packaging food, much of the nutrition is stripped away. It starts on the farm where chemical fertilizers boost growth in depleted soils. Seeds are bought from Ag giant companies like Monsanto and the plants are designed to be pest resistant, tough enough to ship, colorful and pretty. Flavor is not profitable so foods are not developed to taste good. Next, the foods are processed, removing fiber and vitamins. Additives are then incorporated to replace lost flavors, improve texture, appearance and stop spoilage. There are now more than 3,000 registered additives in food products in the United States alone. Instead of natural flavors most processed foods are chock full of sweeteners, salts, artificial flavors, MSG, (or hidden MSG like Autolyzed Yeast), factory-created fats, colorings and chemicals that alter texture, and flavor. Without these many additives, we wouldn't buy this convenient swill because it would be tasteless. Next, come the preservatives, keeping food from spoiling makes it acceptable when the time comes to eat the food. Think of this as embalming your food. Living things decompose but if we add enough toxic chemicals, the bacteria and fungi are killed and we eat those chemicals. Sounds yummy, does it not? The horrifying alternative is to eat fresh foods before they have time to rot.

What is being added? Just a few of the worst offenders:
Trans fats are worse for your heart than saturated fats because they boost your levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease “good” HDL cholesterol. Have you ever had a homemade cookie? It was probably made with butter but butter is costly and it spoils too quickly for manufacturers to use, thus Trans-fats fill in. Now that trans fats have a bad reputation, there is another artificial fat showing up. Look at the ingredients on a bag of Pepperidge cookies and you may see
Interesterified fat
. This is new enough to trick most consumers and there is some research indicating that interesterified fat is as bad as trans-fat.
Brominated vegetable oil, has been banned in over 100 countries because it’s been linked to causing major organ damage, birth defects and hearing loss, among other side effects. Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, is used in Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Powerade and Squirt — and around 10 percent of all drinks sold in the US.
When many additives are used at once, it's nearly impossible to predict the potential health effects.

A list of dangerous food additives may be found here
The solution: Try eating a healthy diet, instead of packaged food, cook and eat fresh produce and healthy meats and seafood.

Truth about additives

Crispy Creme
Crispy Creme | Source
A colony of Cochineal beetles to color your candy All Natural
A colony of Cochineal beetles to color your candy All Natural | Source


Since Twinkies disappeared from the shelves, we lost our number 1 spot, Mexicans are now the fattest people on the planet and Americans are a dismal second place. Twinkies are supposed to be back in stock soon so stock up and we can be number 1 again.

Commercial baked goods are loaded with the same additives as packaged foods. Those 10 billion doughnuts are deep-fried, loaded with sugar and refined carbs. If you want to raise your blood sugar and clog your arteries doughnuts are your food of choice. Those lovely, eyecatching pastel colors in icings and candies are likely colored with coal tar dyes distilled from the same petroleum that powers your car. On the other hand, that nice red candy may be dried and boiled beetles. The cochineal beetle may also be called carmine but it's just dead bugs. How about a jellybean? That shiny coat is called "confectioners glaze" but is a sticky substance made from secretions of a bug the female Kerria lacca, native to Thailand. So, your treat says "natural flavoring". The natural flavor often found in berry and vanilla flavorings, may well be castoreum, an extract from beaver perineal glands of a beaver.
The solution: I think if you need a dose of delicious castoreum, you should negotiate with a beaver for a little taste of his anal glands. The sure way to avoid these toxins is to cook your own food, you may even find out how good normal food can be.



are among the least processed foods on the shelf. There is an issue with cans
being lined with BPA
but manufacturers are paying attention to consumers and are
beginning to remove the BPA.

The solution

One of the best things we can all do, (or almost all of us) is to grow our
own food. Even in the city, if you have a sunny window you can grow a tomato
plant in a pot. From personal experience, I can say that the difference in
flavor between farmer grown and homegrown produce is extraordinary and the
nutritional content can't be surpassed.


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    • chefsref profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Raynor 

      6 years ago from Citra Florida

      Thanx D.

      It depresses me to agree with you so wholeheartedly. We may well be poisoning our children and the government gives it a seal of approval. Greed in the US pushes aside any responsibility.

    • d.william profile image


      6 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Excellent article. Quite informative. I even learned a few things i did not know. ( i know - it is hard to believe from a know-it-all)

      It is true we are being poisoned every single day by the very food manufacturers that we have entrusted to provide us with healthy and safe foods to feed ourselves, and our children.

      But they, as all other corporate entities, have succumbed to the "need for greed". Those higher net profits are way more important now than the consumers health, welfare, and safety.

      The FDA and the USDA really think they are protecting the general public by their approval of these food additives. (or do they?). Money talks and can easily turn their eyes away from the basic facts.

      They justify their actions (and ease their consciences) by saying they are allowing only the "safe levels" allowed for human consumption to be added to our foods..

      While this might be partially true, what they are NOT saying, and can not possible know, is what the combination of those "safe levels" of contaminants produce when they are combined.

      We all know that drugs interact with one another, but deny that contaminants don't interact with each other?

      I loved the video. I am attaching this article to all of my "tainted foods" hubs.


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