17 Facts About Snacks And Fast Food We Learned In 2022 That We're Still Nibbling On



Copy link

List Rules

Vote up the facts about snacks that are so fascinating they leave you hungry for more.

Snacks and fast food can make up a considerable amount of what we eat in a day. If we're in need of a quick bite between meals, nothing is more satisfying and delicious than some chips, candy, or a similar treat. Fast food is - well, fast and convenient - making it a tasty option when we're in a hurry or just too lazy to cook.

Many good eats passed our lips this year - and many facts about those foods crossed our paths, too. We learned about some of our favorite fast-food restaurants, individual ingredients, and even how we might actually be eating food wrong

We can't wait to see what we learn next year! In the meantime, take a look at some of the most fascinating food facts we learned in 2022 and vote up the ones that definitely leave you hungry for more.

  • 1
    358 VOTES

    Powdered Donuts Can Be Covered In The Same Stuff You Find In Paint

    Titanium dioxide is added to all kinds of products to make their white appearance brighter. First used for white coloring in 1923, it appears in paint, ceramics, textiles, and personal care products. You'll find titanium dioxide in ranch dressing, suntan lotions, deodorants, candy, and the powdered sugar on donuts.

    The compound is considered to be safe in the US. Hostess uses it in Donettes, and Tastykake includes it in mini donuts, but Dunkin' took titanium dioxide out of its donuts in 2015. In May 2020, the European Food Safety Authority decided it was no longer safe as a food additive.

    358 votes
  • 2
    790 VOTES

    Little Caesars Founder Mike Ilitch Paid Rosa Parks's Rent For Years

    In 1959, former minor league baseball player Mike Ilitch, with the help of his wife Marian, opened Little Caesar's Pizza Treat in a strip mall in Garden City, MI. From that humble start, the business grew to the point where, as of September 2021, it was the third-largest pizza chain by total sales in the US.

    In addition to his fast food empire, Ilitch, who passed in 2017, was probably best known for being the owner of two professional sports franchises: the MLB's Detroit Tigers and the NHL's Detroit Red Wings. He bought the Red Wings in 1982 and the Tigers a decade later. Under his ownership, the Red Wings won four Stanley Cups, while the Tigers made it to the World Series twice (although they failed to win a title).

    But Ilitch was far more than a successful businessman; he was a philanthropist who launched multiple projects, including one to help feed the hungry and another to help honorably discharged veterans transition to careers outside of the military. He also quietly paid the rent of a civil rights icon.

    Rosa Parks, who sparked the Montgomery, AL, bus boycott in the 1950s, had moved to Detroit. In 1994, the 81-year-old was robbed and assaulted at her apartment. According to a 2014 article in the Sports Business Journal, when Ilitch read that civil rights activist and federal judge Damon Keith was helping Parks find a safer place to live, he reached out to Keith and offered to pay Parks's rent. In the article, Keith said:

    It’s important that people know what Mr. Mike Ilitch did for Ms. Rosa Parks because it’s symbolic of what he has always done for the people of our city.

    Ilitch reportedly continued to pay Parks's rent until her passing in 2005.

    790 votes
  • With their distinctive bright colors, fruity flavors, and colorful commercials, Skittles are a popular American candy. However, tasty as they are, some of their attributes have caused concern outside the US. In particular, Skittles contain a substance called titanium dioxide. Research suggests repeated consumption can lead to damaged DNA, which in turn has been linked to cancer.

    While these concerns continue to be researched, several countries have blocked the importation of the candy, but due to the dyes used, rather than titanium dioxide. Both Sweden and Norway have banned Skittles outright, and it’s possible the European Union may follow suit. 

    Mountain Dew is another staple of Americans’ diets. As with so many other soft drinks, it's marketed to appeal to a younger crowd, encouraging them to embrace an active - and perhaps hyperactive - lifestyle. The soda's most notable attributes include its high caffeine content, its extreme amount of sugar, and, of course, its vibrant greenish-yellow color.

    The ingredient that provides this distinctive hue, tartrazine (known as Yellow 5), has a mixed reputation. It's linked to headaches and hyperactivity, and both Austria and Norway have moved to ban it entirely.

    264 votes
  • The official name for "popcorn lung" is bronchiolitis obliterans. The condition results from scar tissue accumulating on the lungs, which, in turn, causes coughing and difficulty breathing. It is irreversible. 

    Inhaling chemicals is often the cause of popcorn lung, including those in microwave popcorn. Diacetyl, used to flavor microwave popcorn, has been linked to the condition. Diacetyl is also found in wine, candy, and other products that have a buttery taste or aroma. 

    Eric Peoples, who worked at a microwave popcorn factory in Missouri, was awarded $20 million in 2004 after developing popcorn lung. In 2012, Wayne Watson of Colorado was awarded $7.2 million after the court decided his popcorn lung was caused by breathing in the butter-flavored air from bags of microwave popcorn. Watson ate two bags of the snack every day for 10 years

    447 votes
  • Like many other fast food restaurants, KFC - formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken - has been the subject of several lawsuits. In 2016, for example, a customer in New York sued KFC because the bucket of chicken she bought was only half full and didn't look like the "overflowing bucket of chicken" she saw in their commercial. Her lawsuit was dismissed, but in 2021, Erwin Sandi of Indonesia successfully negotiated an agreement with KFC after he pointed out how they'd misrepresented their chicken sandwich. 

    Legal disputes aside, going international hasn't always worked out well for Colonel Sanders's brainchild. With locations in nearly 150 countries and territories worldwide, KFC's famous "finger lickin' good" slogan can get lost in translation. In China, for example, the Mandarin translation equates to "eat your fingers off."

    As an additional note, when the chain changed its name to KFC, it didn't have anything to do with the content of its foods, despite rumors to the contrary. The new moniker came after the Commonwealth of Kentucky trademarked its name, which meant anyone using the word "Kentucky" would have to pay a licensing fee

    274 votes
  • Super Size Me made such a cultural impact that McDonald's changed its menu because of the film, dropping the “Super Size” designation on food items. Director Morgan Spurlock made himself the subject of the 2004 documentary, eating nothing but McDonald's food - three meals a day - for a month. The effects look shocking on-screen. He gains a massive amount of weight, loses energy, becomes depressed, sustains serious liver damage, and sees his cholesterol spike. 

    The upshot is proving that fast food is massively unhealthy. Everybody already knew that, but seeing the impact of it take place over the course of 95 minutes drives the point home. Super Size Me got people talking so much that it earned $11 million at the domestic box office. That's an astronomical sum for a documentary.

    Are Spurlock's results definitive? Absolutely not. Duplicating them has been difficult, at best. At the University of Linköping in Sweden, a group of students decided to put Super Size Me to the test. Seven healthy med students in their early 20s spent a month gorging on burgers, fries, pizza, and other unhealthy foods, all while avoiding exercise. Their results were much different from the filmmaker's. All predictably gained weight and saw their energy decrease, but none experienced anything close to the depression Spurlock claimed to have. And while their livers did register significant changes, it wasn't anywhere close to a dangerous level. Their cholesterol numbers were virtually unchanged.

    All of this suggests one of two things - Spurlock had other medical conditions that impacted his results, or his body just had an uncommon reaction. In 2017, he revealed he was an alcoholic and stated, “I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years,” which suggests he was drinking during production of Super Size Me. This might explain why a doctor who followed him during the McDonald's experiment said his liver looked like an alcoholic's.

    495 votes