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Gross Things Found in Processed Foods

After Bariatric Surgery, Eat Healthy Unprocessed FoodsWood pulp, Castoreum and Ammonium Sulfate—do you know what all three of these have in common, besides sounding like common household cleaning agents? These three ingredients aren’t going to be found in your garage or even your cleaning supply cabinet, but are more likely to show up in your pantry or refrigerator. That’s right, these are three surprising ingredients that you can find in a lot of highly processed foods sold at your local Macon grocery stores or fast foods chains.

If you are severely overweight or obese losing weight can be difficult, but sometimes the dietary changes you need to make to help with weight loss can be even harder. With the help of bariatric surgeries such as LAP-BAND surgery, severely overweight people finally have a chance to get back to leading normal lives. However, dietary changes are a must and highly processed foods may not be on Dr. Bagnato’s list of suggested healthy foods for weight loss. Highly processed foods, when eaten in excess, are not only damaging to your health but have the potential to hinder your weight loss efforts as well.

Cutting back on your intake of highly processed foods is not easy, but here are some strange and surprising ingredients used during manufacturing that may just be enough to change your mind the next time you go reaching for a handful of jelly beans.


  • What is it? L-Cysteine is a non-essential amino acid made from either human hair or duck feathers.
  • Where can you find it? L-Cysteine brings a whole new meaning to “I found a hair in my food” as it can be commonly found in the majority of pizza dough, cookies, pastas, pastries and even your favorite fast food buns. Although L-Cysteine is a substance generally considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration, you may want to think twice before consuming the majority of highly processed bread products available to consumers today.

Silicon Dioxide

  • What is it? Silicon Dioxide is also referred to as silica and is most often presented as quartz or sand.
  • Where can you find it? Silica is often added to foods as an anti-caking agent in order to prohibit clumping. Silica can be found in numerous fast food restaurant items including one red-headed mascot’s chili and your favorite “fourth meal’s” meat filling.

Titanium Dioxide

  • What is it? Titanium Dioxide is a component of the metallic element titanium, a mined substance sometimes contaminated with toxic lead.
  • Where can you find it? Besides paints and sunscreens, Titanium Dioxide can be found in many popular food manufacturers’ salad dressings, coffee creamers and frostings. In addition to absorbing UV light, this component is often used to whiten skim milk after fat removal because the milk tends to appear blue in color.

These are just a few strange and seemingly gross ingredients you may find in highly processed foods available to consumers virtually anywhere you turn. Other gross ingredients include secretions from a bug native to Thailand, processing agents found in plastics like yoga mats and the bones of cattle—all of which can be found in common processed foods. If that’s not enough to help you make healthier choices when it comes to eating healthily after bariatric surgery, speak with Dr. Bagnato about other ways to ensure you’re always making healthy decisions.


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