29 Shocking Facts About Your Favorite Foods

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1.When you eat a pineapple, it's "eating" you back.

a sliced pineapple

Pineapples contain an enzyme known as bromelain, which breaks down proteins. So, when you feel that tingly/burning sensation in your mouth after eating pineapple, that's the pineapple breaking down some of your proteins and eating you back!

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2.You can taste garlic with your feet.

cloves of garlic, next to bare feet

No, not because you have special taste buds on your feet! The molecule allicin, which is responsible for garlic's smell, can penetrate the skin on your feet, enter your blood stream, and travel to your nose and mouth, which can cause you to sense the taste of garlic. So, if you stick your feet in a bag of garlic cloves and rub them all around, you might actually experience the taste!

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3.Eating cooked tomatoes can lower your chances of developing prostate cancer.

cooked tomatoes on a tray

Tomatoes contain lycopene, a nutrient that also contributes to the plant's red color. Lycopene has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including protection from some types of cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund International conducted a study that looked at dietary lycopene levels. This study found that men who ate canned or cooked tomatoes five to six times a week had a 28% decreased risk of prostate cancer. The study didn't find any association between prostate cancer and raw tomatoes, tomato soup, or tomato sauce. Lycopene is more available in tomatoes that have been cooked in some capacity, suggesting that cooked tomatoes may play a role in preventing prostate cancer.

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4.Some ranch dressings are dyed with a chemical compound also used in sunscreen.

carrot in ranch dressing, next to a hand applying sunscreen to a leg

Titanium dioxide, an ingredient found in sunscreen, lotions, and other personal care products, helps give ranch dressing its white color. The FDA allows the use of titanium dioxide in foods, as long as it does not exceed 1%.

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5.Consuming too much nutmeg can make you high.

bowl of ground nutmeg and nuts

"Nutmeg intoxication" comes from consuming too much myristicin, a chemical compound also found in the oils of dill and parsley. Symptoms may include drowsiness, hallucinations, dizziness, dry mouth, and confusion. These symptoms may last for up to 10 hours. Don't try this at home. Seriously.

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6.Graham crackers were invented to try and stop people from experiencing sexual urges.

plate of graham crackers next to a glass of milk

The concept of graham crackers came from Reverend Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister who believed sexual desires were sinful and could cause physical ailments such as epilepsy and spinal disease. He believed diet could help suppresses these desires and urges, so he advocated for a vegetarian, fibrous diet that excluded meat and fat. He also favored unsifted wheat flour over white refined flour, which lead to his creation of Graham bread. It's unclear whether or not he directly created graham crackers themselves, but his bread was nonetheless the direct inspiration for these holy crackers.

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7.Scientists have used peanut butter to make diamonds.

peanut butter, an arrow, then various diamonds

In Germany, scientist Dan Frost conducted an experiment attempting to simulate the conditions found in the Earth's lower mantle. While studying these conditions, Frost encountered a way to manufacture diamonds. Diamonds are made when carbon atoms are under high temperatures and high pressure. Peanut butter contains quite a bit of carbon, so when it is under the right conditions, it can form diamonds. The process is slow and messy, but it can be done!

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8.Bananas are radioactive.

bunch of bananas

Yep, you read that right! Bananas are slightly radioactive because they are so rich in potassium. But don't worry! You'll be fine. Humans contain more potassium than a banana, so we are technically more radioactive than a banana anyway!

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9.Hawaiian pizza was not actually invented in Hawaii.

a hawaiian pizza

Yep, your whole life is a lie. Hawaiian pizza was actually created in Canada by a Greek immigrant named Sam Panopoulos. He and his two brothers had a small chain of restaurants in Ontario, and they noticed that pizza was becoming quite a popular dish. As an experiment, Panopoulos decided to dump a can of pineapple onto pizza, just to see what it would taste like. He and his brothers liked the way the sweet pineapple paired with the salty ham, so they began letting customers try their new pizza creation. People loved it, so they put it on the menu. The name "The Hawaiian" comes from the brand of canned pineapple they used.

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10.Apples are a member of the rose family.

Roses, next to apples

So are pears, peaches, strawberries, and cherries!

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11.Mountain Dew was originally made to be a mixer for whiskey.

bottle of mountain dew

Mountain Dew was created in the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee by brothers Barney and Ally Hartman. When the brothers learned that their favorite lemon-lime mixer wasn't available in Tennessee, they decided to make their own. The term "mountain dew" was originally a nickname for moonshine. The brothers decided to give their new mixer this name because they joked that it tasted like moonshine once it was mixed with liquor. The Mountain Dew they were drinking, however, was not the same as the neon liquid we all know and love today. Their version of Mountain Dew was a clear, caffeine-free, lemon-lime beverage, more similar to today's Sprite. Mountain Dew got a makeover after the Hartman brothers sold it to the Tip Corporation of Marion, Virginia.

Pepsi-Cola Company / Via mountaindew.com

12.It takes more than 300 pounds per square inch to crack open a macadamia nut shell.

macadamia nuts with one partially cracked, revealing the nut inside

Macadamias are tricky little nuts. Their strong shells are cracked using steel rollers!

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13.Ketchup was once used as medicine.

little container of ketchup

Tomatoes were added to ketchup in 1834 by Dr. John Cooke Bennett. Prior to the addition of tomatoes, ketchup was comprised of mushrooms or fish. Tomatoes have many vitamins and antioxidants, so Dr. Bennett claimed that this concoction could help treat diarrhea, indigestion, rheumatism, and jaundice. He even had his ketchup mixture made into pills and distributed.

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14.Broccoli was invented by humans.

various heads of broccoli

Broccoli was bred out of the wild cabbage plant known as Brassica oleracea. The wild cabbage was grown in a controlled environment, and its largest buds were kept and bred with other large buds. Farmers and gardeners kept choosing the favorable buds and having them reproduce, which led to the creation of this new plant, broccoli.

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15.Croissants are actually originally from Austria.

tray of croissants with powdered sugar

Croissants were inspired by an Austrian pastry known as the kipfel, a crescent-shaped baked good with butter and sometimes sugar and almonds. It's hard to pinpoint where in history the kipfel originated, but there are mentions of the treat in a poem from 1227. Though the kipfel itself is Austrian, croissants "became" French once people started making them with puff pastry, a French invention.

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16.Potatoes are 80% water.

numerous potatoes

Only about 20% of a harvested potato is dry matter — 60% to 80% of that dry matter is starch.

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17.Mushrooms are more closely related to humans than plants.

a bunch of mushrooms

Animals and fungi share a common ancestor! They separated from plants over a billion years ago, and it was later than animals and fungi separated, making them more closely related to one another than to plants.

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18.There are 15 billion jelly beans eaten every year.

hands holding many jelly beans

According to Jelly Belly, the jelly bean experts, if you laid those 15 billion beans from end to end, they'd wrap around the Earth about five times.

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19.Pringles aren't really potato chips.

Three canisters of Pringles

While regular potato chips are thinly sliced pieces of fried potato, Pringles don't use real potatoes in their recipe. They use dehydrated processed potato, rice, corn, and wheat. The FDA weighed in on the matter in 1975, declaring that Pringles could only be called "chips" if they provided a disclaimer stating that they were made from dried potatoes. Instead, Pringles decided to use the term "crisps."

Kellogg's / Via pringles.com

20.Raw lima beans can be deadly.

lima beans, next to a skull and crossbones to signify a substance is poisonous

Lima beans contain a compound known as linamarin, which turns into cyanide when it's consumed. Lima beans need to be cooked thoroughly in order to destroy the enzyme that produces the cyanide. The US restricts how much of the cyanide compound can be present in commercially grown lima beans. Even so, it is important to cook your lima beans thoroughly to reduce possible side effects such as dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

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21.Chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same thing.

bowl of chickpeas

Two names, one tasty legume! The name "chickpea" comes from the Latin word "cicer," and is the more commonly used name in English. "Garbanzo bean" is the Spanish-derived name.

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22.German chocolate cake isn't from Germany.

slice of german chocolate cake

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it's actually from Texas! It's named after Sam German, a man who invented a mild, dark baking chocolate. The first published recipe of German chocolate cake showed up in a Dallas newspaper in 1957 from a Texas homemaker.

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23.Red candies are dyed using crushed up bugs.

a cochineal insect, next to red candies

The most natural way that candy is dyed red is using crushed up cochineal insects.

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24.Ripe cranberries bounce.

lots of cranberries

Farmers test the ripeness of their berries by dropping them over a wooden barrier to see if they bounce.

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25.Raw oysters are actually still alive when you eat them.

plate of raw oysters

Oysters go bad really fast, so restaurants serve them as quickly and as fresh as possible, meaning they are likely still alive when you eat them. Once oysters die, they are actually no longer safer to eat because of bacteria.

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26.Applesauce was the first food eaten by an American in space.

Astronaut John Glenn, next to a cup of applesauce

John Glenn was the first American to eat in space. He was aboard the Friendship 7 in 1962. He consumed applesauce packaged in a tube, as well as sugar tablets with water, proving people could eat, swallow, and digest in a zero-gravity environment.

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27.Cotton candy was invented by a dentist.

hand holding cotton candy

Though using spun sugar has been around for centuries, William Morrison, a dentist from Tennessee, is credited with inventing the first cotton candy machine in 1897. He partnered with his friend John C. Wharton, who worked as a confectioner, to create a machine that made this delicious "Fairy Floss." Their cotton candy was first introduced in 1904 at the St. Louis World's Fair, which lasted seven months! Sure enough, it was a hit. The men sold a whopping 65,655 boxes, priced at just 25 cents a box.

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28.Eggplants are actually berries.


Though eggplants are considered a vegetable in cooking, they are, by botanical definition, a berry.

Photo Agnes Elisabeth Szucs / Getty Images

29.Finally, seaweed is used in many dairy products.

red seaweed, an arrow, and a gallon of multi-flavored ice cream

A natural plant fiber known as carrageenan, found in red seaweed, is an ingredient in many dairy products such as yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, cottage cheese, etc. Carrageenan is used for its thickening and stabilizing properties.

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Do you know an awesome food fact you'd like to share? Tell us in the comments!