13 Biting Facts About Our Favorite Munchies That Have Us Rethinking Snack Time

List Rules
Vote up the most biting facts about your favorite snack foods.

No one thing makes for a great snack. If salty treats are your thing, you might crave pretzels and popcorn. Sweet tooths prefer candy and cookies, while for some, a box of macaroni and cheese or bowl of cereal does the trick.

Whatever favorite snack you grab, you may not give it much thought - especially if you're on the go. We did look into facts about our favorite snack time goodies, however, and learned some pretty jaw-dropping and stomach-turning information. Vote up the tidbits with the most bite.  

  • 1
    774 VOTES

    Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Contains 'Plasticizers'

    Phthalates, also called "plasticizers," are chemicals used to increase the durability of plastic. They're also found in soap, shampoo, vinyl flooring - and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. 

    In 2017, a study funded by four advocacy groups found "the phthalate concentrations in powder from mac and cheese mixes were more than four times higher than in block cheese and other natural cheeses like shredded cheese, string cheese, and cottage cheese."

    Out of the 30 products tested, nine were made by Kraft and all had phthalates. Phthalates are believed to block testosterone production, potentially inhibiting the development of male fetuses as well as contributing to infertility.

    In 2018, the FDA indicated no studies showed any connection between phthalates "and adverse health effects," but also stated, "It's not clear what effect, if any, phthalates have on human health."

    As of 2021, Kraft had not removed phthalates, but that same year, General Mills committed to eliminating phthalates from some of its first boxed macaroni and cheese products.

    774 votes
  • 2
    590 VOTES

    Powdered Doughnuts Can Be Covered In The Same Stuff You'd 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's been used in paint, ceramics, textiles, and personal care products. You'll find titanium dioxide in ranch dressing, suntan lotions, deodorants, candy, and the powdered sugar found on donuts.

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

    590 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. Bronchiolitis obliterans is irreversible. 

    Inhaling chemicals is often the cause of popcorn lung, including chemicals used 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 microwave popcorn each day for 10 years

    686 votes
  • 4
    439 VOTES

    Soft Pretzels May Be Bathed In Lye

    Lye, or sodium hydroxide, is used in cleansers due to its highly caustic properties. Lye can also be found in candle-making and glass-frosting processes, and in some instances has been used to dissolve human or animal remains. An additional use for lye is in baking - although it's done so sparingly and with extreme caution

    One of the most common baking applications for lye is in pretzels. Dipping pretzels into a lye bath before baking gives them a dark, shiny look. 

    It's important to note food-grade lye should be used in baking. 

    439 votes
  • 5
    511 VOTES

    Candy Coating Is Made Out Of Bug Ooze

    Shellac, or confectioner's glaze, keeps candy and other sweets shiny. Among the candies coated with shellac are candy cornMilk Duds, and Raisinets. It serves as a varnish of sorts, one that's derived from the secretions of the lac bug (Kerria lacca) - hence the name.

    The secretions that serve as the basis for shellac start when female lac absorb sap host trees as food. When they lay eggs, they excrete the sap and, when air combines with the excretions, it becomes hard. This, in theory, protects the eggs, but is also when observers scrape the coating off the trees, refine it, and process it for a variety of products. 

    Shellac isn't exclusively used in candy, however. It is also found on fruit and vegetables, coffee beans, and even medications

    511 votes
  • 6
    404 VOTES

    (Almost) No Veggies Were Harmed In The Making Of Veggie Straws

    Purported to be a healthier alternative to potato chips, veggie straws and veggie chips are made out of carrots, beets, radishes, and leafy vegetables - sometimes.

    In 2017, Sensible Portions, the makers of Garden Veggie Straws, were sued because their product lacked substantive amounts of vegetables. The ingredients include potato starch, potato flour, oil, spinach powder, tomato paste, and other vegetable derivatives for color. 

    The case was ultimately dismissed because calling veggie straws a "vegetable and potato snack" was accurate in its description of "the most prevalent ingredients" in the product. 

    404 votes