As food lovers, we pride ourselves on knowing a lot about food. We're constantly working to expand our culinary horizons, because food is the center of our universe. Not all the information we accrue is gratifying, however. In our tireless pursuit of food facts, we've come across certain truths that are somewhat -- or very -- alarming. They're so disturbing, in fact, that we just can't comprehend them.
Twinkies, for example, do not have an infinite shelf-life, despite popular belief. Watermelon and avocados, it turns out, are berries, while strawberries are not. It's true. It's all true -- even if we refuse to accept it. Here are 13 food facts we don't want to believe:
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According to the USDA's Economic Research Service, the average American ate 1,966 pounds of food
in 2011. That's almost a ton, and that is crazy. Now we've lost our appetites. For a few minutes, at least.
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Almonds are actually a hard-shelled fruit from the almond tree
. They fall under the genus prunus
, which includes other trees that bear fruits like plums, cherries and peaches. Now that you think about it, though, almonds do kind of look like peach pits, right?
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Both France and Belgium lay claim
to the French fry, and nobody knows for sure where the actual concept originated. Apparently we call them French fries
because American soldiers stationed in France in World War One liked them so much that they dubbed the pommes frites
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Stay with us. A berry, by definition
, is a "fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary." This puts watermelon and avocados in the berry family, but leaves strawberries out. Strawberries are "accessory fruits
," which means the seeds come not from the ovaries but from the receptacle in which the ovaries are found. So no, a strawberry is not
a berry and we can all just go home now.
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Honey never expires
. While it may crystalize or change in color over the years, it will always be safe to consume.
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Sorry. We're really sorry. But it's true, and the FDA has confirmed it
. There may be up to an "average of 30 OR MORE insect fragments per 100 grams" and an "average of one OR MORE rodent hairs per 100 grams." (Emphasis our own.) The FDA lists the "significance" as "aesthetic." Really?
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The mere sight of a fast food logo or packaging can affect your behavior
. It can stimulate a sense of impatience and lead to a decreased capacity to savor and enjoy a pleasant experience. Yes, fast food is bad for you in more ways than one.
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While we're all for hamburgers, we don't understand how they're trumping all the other wonders
of French cuisine. It seems kind of like a crime that almost half of all sandwiches sold in France are burgers, especially when so many of them come from McDonald's.
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Wild salmon are pink in color because of the krill
they eat, but farmed salmon -- which accounts for two-thirds
of the salmon we eat -- are fed pellets
to dye their flesh pink, which is otherwise naturally grey.
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Correction: This post originally stated that there are an average or 30 more insect fragments per 100 grams of peanut butter, while in fact that is the defect level that the FDA permits per 100 grams of peanut butter. This post also originally called "prunus" a family, when it is actually a genus in the rose family (Rosaceae), and it incorrectly stated that salmon skin is dyed pink, when it is the flesh that is dyed.