100 Mind-Blowing Facts About Food

There are many different types of foods.

Whether you consider food solely as fuel or you eat to taste every flavor and texture, everyone needs food to survive and carry out their daily tasks.

Here are 100 fun facts about food that might surprise you.


1. One fast-food burger can have meat from 100 different cows.
The ground beef used to make burgers, both in fast food places and grocery stores, is made of a collection of muscle tissues.

2. Peppers don't actually burn your mouth.
The pain is all in your head! There's a chemical in chili peppers called capsaicin that tricks your mouth into feeling like it's being burned – that's why spicy food hurts.

3. Cheese is the most stolen food in the world.
About 4% of all cheese made around the globe ends up stolen. There's even a black market for cheese!

4. McDonald's sells 2.5 billion hamburgers every year.
That equates to 75 McDonald's hamburgers sold every second, every day, or 6.5 million hamburgers each day!

5. Pound cake got its name from its recipe.
The early recipes of pound cake called for one pound of butter, one pound of eggs, and one pound of sugar.

6. Expiration dates on bottled water have nothing to do with the water.
Water can't expire – but the bottle it's in can. Plastic bottles will eventually start leaking chemicals into the water.
It won't make the water harmful to drink, but it will make it taste less fresh.

7. Ketchup used to be used as a medicine.
Back in the early 1800s, people thought tomatoes had medicinal qualities.
One doctor claimed they could treat diarrhea and indigestion, so he made a recipe for a type of tomato ketchup which then became a pill.

8. Honey is bee vomit.
When bees collect nectar, they drink it and keep it in their "stomach." Once they're back at the hive, they regurgitate the nectar into the hive.

9. French fries originated in Belgium, not France!
They are only called French fries because they are French cut.

10. Most supermarket wasabi is actually horseradish.
Real wasabi is challenging to make and expensive. As an alternative, most wasabi for sale is colored horseradish with flavorings.

11. Strawberries are not berries.
Technically, berries only have seeds on the inside, a rule which is obviously broken by strawberries!

12. Cauliflower comes in multiple colors.
Although we typically only see white cauliflower, it actually has purple, orange, and green varieties.
Orange and purple cauliflowers have higher antioxidants!

13. Pineapples have no relation to pine.
The name comes from early explorers. When they saw pineapples for the first time, they thought they looked like pine cones which is how the fruit got its name!

14. Not all wine is vegan.
With the main ingredient being grapes, you'd think this would be a no-brainer. However, some common ingredients in wine are milk protein, egg white, gelatin, and fish bladder protein.

15. The most expensive pizza in the world costs $12,000 dollars.
That's because it takes 72 hours to make, and it can only be made in your home by 3 Italian chefs.
The pizza is topped with 3 types of caviar, bufala mozzarella, lobster from Norway and Cilento, and pink Australian sea salt.

16. There's no answer to how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop.
It's a heavily debated topic – exactly how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?
It can take anywhere from 144 to 411 licks. However, one study conducted determined the average was 364 licks!

17. Sweet drinks can cause dementia.
Studies have shown that people who drink one or more artificially sweetened drinks per day were almost three times more likely to develop dementia.

18. Bad eggs will float.
If you need to test the freshness of your eggs, put them in a glass of cold water. The fresher the egg, the faster it will fall to the bottom! Any eggs that float should be thrown out.

19. No one knows the origin of chocolate chip cookies.
One suggests Ruth Wakefield, the creator of chocolate chip cookies, ran out of nuts for ice cream cookies and used chocolate instead.
Others suggest chocolate chunks accidentally fell into the mixer, but the true story has never been confirmed.

20. White chocolate isn't chocolate.
Its name is deceiving because white chocolate doesn't have any components of regular chocolate.
It's really just a mixture of sugar, milk, vanilla, lecithin, and cocoa butter.

21. Chocolate has been used as a currency in ancient civilizations of Mexico and South America.
As the Aztecs started dominating Mesoamerica, they also loved cocoa beans which couldn't be grown in their civilization.
They had to rely on the Mayans and traded cocoa beans with them as a system of money.

22. Coffee is the main source of antioxidants for Americans.
Coffee beans contain disease-ravaging antioxidants, called quinines, which become more potent after roasting.
Antioxidants help fight aging and heart disease, but coffee doesn't really have that many of them – we just drink so much of it!

23. Ripe cranberries will bounce.
Ripe cranberries should feel plump and firm. If they are too soft or mushy, they may be overripe. Check for bounce: Drop a few cranberries on a hard surface. Ripe berries will bounce, indicating that they are full of moisture and bursting with flavor.

24. Popsicles were invented by accident.
11-year-old Frank Epperson invented the Popsicle in 1905 when he accidentally left his drink outside overnight with a stirring stick in it and it froze solid.

25. Ranch dressing is dyed.
One ingredient in ranch is titanium dioxide which is used to make it look whiter. It's the same ingredient that is used in sunscreen and paint for coloring.

26. Farmed salmon is dyed pink.
Wild salmon is naturally pink because of all the shrimp they eat.
Meanwhile, farm-raised salmon have a different diet and end up being white. However, they are fed specific plant pigments to get the same hue as wild salmon.

27. Twinkie cream isn't cream at all.
It's actually vegetable shortening.

28. Lima beans are deadly.
Raw lima beans have lethal amounts of cyanide in them. But, if you cook them thoroughly, you'll be just fine!

29. Not all popcorn in South Africa is what you think it is.
A local delicacy in some parts of South Africa may taste like popcorn, but it's actually termites or ants that have been roasted to crispy perfection!

30. Fruit-flavored snacks shine because of car wax.
Yep, the same wax that is used on cars, carnauba wax, is the same type of wax that is used to give gummy candy a glossy sheen.

31. Nutmeg is a hallucinogen.
If you ingest nutmeg in large doses, it works like a hallucinogen due to a natural compound called myristicin.

32. Crackers are worse for your teeth than sugar.
Acid is the biggest cause of tooth decay, not sugar!
Crackers tend to stick to your teeth which ends up being a breeding ground for bacteria.

33. Crackers have holes in them for a reason.
Perforating crackers with holes (also called docking) helps release steam from the dough when it bakes to keep the crackers flat.

34. Coffee beans can help eliminate bad breath.
If you chew on roasted coffee beans, it can help prevent the bacteria that cause bad breath. Drinking coffee helps too, it's just less effective.

35. The red food dye for Skittles is made from boiled beetles.
A common red food dye, carminic acid, is made from the crushed bodies of a beetle called the Dactylopius coccus.
This acid is used in maraschino cherries, strawberry and raspberry flavored candy, and lipstick.

36. Chickpeas have more names than you think.
Chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same things – along with sanagali, ceci beans, chana, and bengal gram.
Additionally, they come in red, black, brown, and pale yellow.

37. Bird saliva is a delicacy in China.
One expensive delicacy of China is Bird's nest soup which is made from rare bird's nests created from the saliva of small swiftlets. They have been used in China for over four centuries.

38. Chimichanga means "thingamajig".
The name was coined in the '50s by a cook who was trying not to curse in front of kids.
Considered to be Mexican food, chimichangas actually originated from Tucson, Arizona.

39. Humans' DNA is 60% the same as bananas.
60% of our genes are identical to that of a banana. But as similar as our DNA is, it's not that similar. The only organisms you share 50% of your DNA with are your parents and your children.

40. American cheese is not American.
Processed cheese is thought of as an American product, but it was actually invented in Switzerland.
It was created by Waltz Gerber and Fritz Stettler in 1911 to lengthen the shelf-life before it was shipped overseas.

41. Froot Loops are all the same flavor.
As colorful as they are, you'd think they were flavored accordingly! But no, all Froot Loops are all the same flavor.

42. Mountain Dew contains orange juice.
Although it tastes like a lemon-lime soda, orange juice is third on the list of ingredients, just behind carbonated water and high fructose corn syrup.

43. Food tastes different when you're flying.
Altitude changes your body chemistry, making certain flavors taste different than how they taste when you're on the ground.

44. Pizza Hut used to be the nation' biggest purchaser of kale.
They used it as a garnish for its salad bars – it wasn't even for eating!

45. Russia took a long time to classify beer as being alcoholic.
Until 2013, beer and other alcohol under 10% ABV was classified as a soft drink!

46. Margherita pizza is named after a queen.
When King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples, they wanted a change from their fancy food and asked for pizza, which was food for the poor back then.
The queen loved the mozzarella pizza so much that it ended up being named after her.

47. Some people are scared of peanut butter.
Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter getting stuck to the roof of your mouth!
But there's a phobia for everything and this common occurrence is no exception.

48. You can find peanuts in dynamite.
Peanuts have an oil that is used as an ingredient while making glycerol, which is a main component of nitroglycerin.

49. There's wood pulp in shredded cheese.
While not digestible by humans, it does actually act as a fantastic source of dietary fiber! The reason it's in cheese, though, is that it acts as a filler to keep shredded cheese from clumping together and is approved as safe by the FDA.

50. In Japan, chefs have to train for over two years in order to qualify to serve pufferfish.
Pufferfish is a delicacy in Japan, but if it's prepared wrong, it can kill the person eating it.

51. Food is allowed to contain some amount of insects.
By FDA standards, there's an allowance for the level of traces of bugs that could be in your food.

52. Figs can contain dead wasps.
Figs are actually inverted flowers with a unique pollination process requiring wasps instead of bees.
Female wasps lay their eggs in male figs that we don't eat, but sometimes the wasp will accidentally enter a female fig, which is a deadly mistake. The wasp dies inside and ends up decomposing inside the fig.

53. Potatoes are 80% water.
Raw potato is made up of 80% water! The remaining 20% is solid matter.

54. India produces, consumes, and exports the most chili peppers in the world.
Chili peppers weren't introduced to India until the 15th century, but they were a hit.
These days, they not only eat and grow more than anyone else, but this is where you'll find some of the spiciest peppers such as the bhut jolokia.

55. One in four hazelnuts ends up in Nutella.
Nutella is so popular, 25% of all hazelnuts end up in a jar!

56. 49% of Americans over 20 eat a sandwich every day.
A study found that 49% of Americans over 20 eat one sandwich every day.

57. Turkey consumes the most tea per person.
Although Turkish coffee is popular, tea is the bigger of the staples. Per capita, Turks drink almost 7 pounds of tea every year. Even England doesn't drink that much!

58. Finland is the world's biggest consumer of coffee on a per-person basis.
Finland — 12 kg/26 lbs — Finland is the world's biggest consumer of coffee on a per-person basis. The average Finn drinks nearly four cups a day. Coffee is so popular in Finland that two 10-minute coffee breaks are legally mandated for Finnish workers.

59. Popcorn at the movies isn't universal.
Popcorn is the go-to movie snack for Americans, and it's easy to assume everyone else does this too.
In Colombia, dried ants are the popular option. Meanwhile in Korea, the snack of choice is dried cuttlefish.

60. Spam wasn't invented in Hawaii.
Although Hawaii consumed the most Spam per capita than any other state, it was invented in Minnesota.

61. Brown sugar is no different than white sugar.
Brown sugar is no less refined than white sugar.
The only difference is the fact that some of the molasses that gets removed in the refining process, is added back in.

62. German chocolate cake has nothing to do with Germany.
German chocolate cake was invented by a Texan who used "German's Chocolate" which is simply baking chocolate named after the creator, Sam German.

63. Tonic water glows in the dark.
Quinine is the component of tonic water which is what causes the glow.

64. Coriander and cilantro are not the same things.
Although people tend to think it's the same thing with a different name, that's not the case.
Cilantro is the plant's leaves and stems, while coriander is the name of the dried seeds.

65. India has the lowest meat consumption in the world.
Per capita, Indians only consume 7 pounds of meat per person per year.

66. Nutritious food is more expensive than junk food.
Per ounce, nutritious food costs up to 10 times more than junk food.

67. Alabama's state nut is famous.
In 1982, the pecan was named Alabama's official state nut.
It's such a big deal, there's a state pecan festival every year with carnival rides, country music, and a western show. All revolving around pecans!

68. There's a small difference between jelly and jam.
Jam is made with fruit, which is why it's so chunky. Meanwhile, jelly is made with fruit juice.
An easy way to tell the difference between jelly and jam is that jelly will spread evenly, while jam will tend to be a little lumpy.

69. Kosher salt is kosher, but that's not why it's called kosher.
Under kosher supervision, any salt can be kosher. But not all salt can be kosher salt. It really should be called koshering salt; kosher salt is a specific size of salt that's used to make meat kosher.
According to Jewish dietary guidelines, to make meat kosher, you need to sit it in salt as it removes the blood.

70. Thomas Jefferson made pasta popular in the U.S.
Thomas Jefferson is responsible for bringing the first macaroni machine over to the U.S. after spending time in France. He was also the one who introduced mac and cheese to Americans!

71. In an emergency, coconut water can be used for blood plasma.
Just like blood plasma, coconut water has levels of high sodium and low potassium.
It should only be used in absolute emergencies, because adverse effects may be fever, headaches, itchiness, or aching sensations.

72. Fortune cookies are not Chinese.
They were invented in the early 1900s in San Francisco.

73. You could survive only by drinking breast milk.
Breast milk is the only single food that provides all the nutrients that our bodies need.
Adults could survive off of this as well, provided they receive enough of it.

74. Eskimos use refrigerators to stop their food from freezing.
In order to prevent food from freezing, Eskimos need refrigerators to keep it from getting too cold.

75. A corned beef sandwich was smuggled into space.
An astronaut snuck a sandwich on his spacecraft for a 6-hour mission.
When he took the sandwich out in zero-gravity, it started falling apart and he had to put it away before crumbs compromised the spaceship.

76. In ancient Egyptian days, radishes, onions, and garlic were given to workers as wages.
Radishes specifically were because they helped with infectious diseases!

77. Eating fast food regularly has the same impact on the liver as hepatitis.
One month of eating fast food can cause significant changes to your liver due to the amount of fat and saturated fats.
These changes in liver enzymes are similar to the effects of hepatitis.

78. A ridiculous amount of Nutella is sold every year.
So much so, that it could cover The Great Wall of China 8 times, you could circle the world 1.8 times, and the amount weighs the same as the Empire State Building.

79. Throwing food away is illegal in Seattle.
Since 2015, if you don't compost your food waste and compostable paper, businesses will be fined $50 per dumpster and just $1 for single-family homes.

80. Certain music can make you drink faster.
Researchers had an experiment to see how people's drinking habits changed based on the music that was playing: Loud music seemed to make people drink more, and faster.

81. The Three Musketeers doesn't live up to its name.
The famous Three Musketeers candy bar originally had vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate flavors in one!
However, during World War II, they changed to only chocolate due to rations.

82. Serbia hosts the most costly cheese.
Pule cheese is made from donkey milk at one location in Serbia.
One pound of discounted Pule was sold for $576 per pound, but the normal cost is over $1,000 per pound!

83. Goat meat is the most popular meat.
Goat meat accounts for 70% of the red meat eaten globally!

84. One of the most influential men in history was an agricultural scientist.
Norman Borlaug developed new strains of crops which yielded 4 times as much food.
He is said to have saved the lives of over a billion people!

85. Nutrition labels are in order.
If you're reading up on the nutritional label to see if it fits into your diet, it's organized by the ingredients that are used the most.

86. California is the world's 5th largest supplier of food.
In spite of its struggles with droughts, California is also one of the leading irrigation water users in the U.S. – probably to supply all of the food it grows!

87. Astronauts ate food grown in space for the first time in 2015.
Specifically, on August 10, 2015, NASA astronauts sampled red romaine lettuce that was growing in a specially designed chamber.
It's means we can explore space for longer without running out of food supplies.

88. Sound can influence the taste of your food.
High-frequency sounds to enhance the sweetness in food, while low frequencies bring out the bitterness.

89.Australians eat the most meat.
Coming in at a whopping 200 pounds per person every year, Australians take first place, but are still closely followed by Americans.

90. There are more Indian restaurants in London than in Mumbai or Delhi.
There are around 15,000 restaurants in the U.K., with most of them being in major cities, specifically London.
And while they serve Indian food, most of the owners are of Bangladesh descent.

91. Some produce in the U.S. is too ugly to sell.
Because consumers won't buy imperfect fruits or veggies, grocery stores, in turn, refuse to stock them.
Specifically, a whopping 40% of produce grown is never sold just because it's too ugly.

92. Death row inmates in Texas don't get to pick their last meal.
An inmate on death row requested a ridiculous meal costing hundreds of dollars. He then ate none of it because "he wasn't hungry".
After this, the state legislators asked to end the tradition of allowing inmates to request their final meal.

93. Americans eat millions of pounds of peanut butter.
Each year, Americans consume enough peanut butter to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon – 500 million pounds to be exact!

94. The Columbian Exchange changed the course of food.
Until Christopher Columbus started the worldwide spread of plants and seeds, there were no oranges in Florida and no bananas in Ecuador, there were no potatoes in Ireland, no coffee in Colombia, no pineapples in Hawaii – the list goes on!

95. Hot chocolate tastes better out of an orange cup.
Scientists had 57 volunteers try hot chocolate out of white, cream, red, and orange cups.
It was the same hot chocolate, but the volunteers preferred the orange cup.

96. Not eating before bed burns fat.
If you eat an early dinner or skip dinner altogether, it increases the amount of fat a person burns while they're sleeping.

97. The original Margherita pizza was color-coded.
The Margherita pizza was made to represent the Italian flag – basil for green, tomatoes for red, and mozzarella for white.

98. The Domino's co-founder traded his shares for a Volkswagen.
One year after opening, James Monaghan, a co-founder, traded his half of the shares for a used VW Beetle.
38 years later, the other co-founder, Tom Monaghan, sold his shares for $1 billion.

99. It's impossible to cook an egg on a sidewalk.
The highest temperature ever recorded was 131 Fahrenheit. In order to cook an egg on a sidewalk, it would need to be 158 degrees.
Even with the reflection of heat, concrete is not a good heat conductor so you wouldn't be able to cook an egg!

100. Breakfast is NOT the most important meal of the day.
Breakfast is often said to be the most important meal of the day. And there's evidence that breakfast can be good for you, but it's also ok to skip it.
What's more important is that you're eating whole foods packed with vitamins and nutrients that will fuel you throughout the day, whether or not you start eating in the morning.
The only reason this became a popular idea, is because a company called General Foods used this as a marketing campaign in 1944.
They coined the phrase to sell more of their cereal Grape Nuts.
The campaign stated that "Nutrition experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day."

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