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12 Fake Foods You've Definitely Been Fooled By

Updated October 13, 2018 12 items

By now you know there's a lot of fake food out there. From "pink slime" chicken nuggets to spray cheese from a can, you'd think it would be pretty easy to spot an over-processed, chemical-full snack. Right? Not really. In addition to your normal fast food fakeries, you're probably eating a bunch of other foods you didn't even know were fake.

The difficult thing about sussing out the fake foods on the market is that the food industry has gotten so good about swapping out genuine food for highly processed, artificial, lab-made "food." What makes it even harder is the fact that all these "foods" taste so darn good.

Even if you're a health nut who's trying to eat clean, the odds are stacked against you. For example, most of the white tuna in the U.S. is actually escolar - a fish that's been known to cause anal leakage. And if you think those "blueberries" in your muffin are actually made if fruit, it's time to get real. What's a hungry person to do? Knowledge is key. Check out this list of food that isn't real - so you can spot the fakers from here on out!


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  • Wasabi
    Photo: LexnGer / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    You think that's wasabi that you're dipping your sushi in? Nope! According to Huffington Post, "this is because most of the wasabi served outside of Japan is a mixture of horseradish, mustard and food coloring. Even in Japan, the demand for real wasabi is so high that you’ll often find the horseradish mixture instead, with little, if any, real wasabi mixed in." That green stuff you've been swirling in your soy sauce isn't a Japanese delicacy at all. But hey, it still tastes great.
  • Olive Oil
    Photo: Harvy / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    As Food Renegade writes, according to Tom Mueller (who's written extensively about olive oil for The New Yorker), 70% of the extra virgin olive oil sold across the world is cut with cheaper oils like soy and canola oil. Manufacturers have been caught time and time again coloring their fake oils with chlorophyll, and flavoring it with beta-carotene. In fact, olive oil is one of the most fraudulent products in the world, which is in large part due to the fact that the real stuff is time consuming and expensive to make.
  • Just because it says "maple syrup" on the package, doesn't mean it's the real stuff. In fact, a lot of the syrup passed off as natural stuff from the maple tree (which has no artificial preservatives and comes with a whole swath of health benefits) is actually just colored corn syrups that's been doctored up with maple flavoring. Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth? Yeah, they're fake.
  • Blueberries in Cereals and Store-Bought Muffins

    Blueberries in Cereals and Store-Bought Muffins
    Photo: Rosa Say / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    According to New York Daily News, the blueberries you love in those store-bought blueberry muffins, or the blueberry cereals are actually "blueberry crunchlets" that "contain sugar, artificial dyes and soybean oil."