5 Icky Things You’re Putting In Your Lunch

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    Three lunch bagsIt was a smart move to pack a healthy lunch for yourself and your family instead of being exposed to the potential risks of a cafeteria or restaurant’s more processed and calorie-heavy options…right?

    Technically, yes. But before you head out with that brown bag you’ve prepared with so much love, there may be a few things you need to know about some shockingly gross ingredients found in popular lunch foods, such as:

    What: Beaver Anal Gland Juice
    What name it goes by: Castoreum/ “Natural Flavoring”
    What it can be found in: Any foods flavored with vanilla or raspberry, as well as some dairy products, such as pudding and yogurt.
    Lunch alternatives: According to the FDA, castoreum, which is a brown slime that comes from a beaver’s castor sacs, is generally safe for consumption. However, you can avoid this ingredient by buying plain yogurt and adding fresh fruit.

    What: Beetles
    What name it goes by: Carmine/Cochineal Extract
    What it can be found in: Yogurt, juice and some processed baked goods.
    Lunch alternatives: Though there have been reports of allergic reactions caused by this bright red food colorant, it has been deemed safe for most people. However, you can also simply check labels to ensure that this ingredient hasn’t been added.

    What: Sheep Sweat
    What name it goes by: Lanolin, gum base, aliphatic alcohols, cholesterin, isopropyl lanolate, laneth, lanogene, lanolin alcohols, lanosterols, sterols, and triterpene alcohols
    What it can be found in: Gum
    Lunch alternatives: Throw a sweet alternative into your lunch bag, such as small pieces of chocolate, a healthy trail mix or homemade chocolate-dipped fruit.

    What: Wood
    What name it goes by: Cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), cellulose gel, cellulose gum, and carboxymethyl cellulose
    What it can be found in: Shredded cheese, crackers and commercial macaroni and cheese products
    Lunch alternatives: If you want to avoid this additive, then roll up your sleeves and make your own mac n’cheese. Also, either shred cheese yourself, or check labels.

    What: Petroleum/Coal Tar
    What names they go by: Yellow #5 and #6, Red # 40, Blue #1 and #2, Green #3 (among others)
    What they can be found in: A LOT of food products, including cereal, processed snacks, soda and juice
    Lunch alternatives: This oil product has been linked to hyperactivity in children for years now, in addition to other health conditions, and has no nutritional value. So skip using processed foods by checking labels and making your own snacks.

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