What’s in our junk food?

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Friday, September 5, 2014


WHO hasn’t sat down and enjoyed a nice ice cold Coca Cola after a long day at work, or dipped their hand into a bag of chips or cheese puffs to get rid of those hunger pangs? Well, you may know that they’re called junk food for a reason – that reason being they’re not very healthy and offer little to no nutritional value – but to you, that doesn’t matter because they’re really, really good. But what if I told you that the ingredients they’re made with make them seem good for more than just consumption?

Let’s start light. Take bubble gum for instance. It’s simple enough – a sugary, rubbery candy that you chew and don’t swallow. What could possibly be wrong with that? Take note of that second adjective I used: “rubbery.” There’s a reason why bubble gum bonds to cement after being heated up under the sun. Modern bubble gum is made of a synthetic rubber material called polyisobutylene, more commonly known as “butyl rubber.” It is impermeable to air, and is used to make adhesives, sealants, paper, sealing containers for chemical weapons, and of course… chewing gum.

As far as health safety goes, it was once recorded that a four-year-old boy had been swallowing all his gum for two years, which led to a solid mass of gum forming in his stomach, which did not leave the body and had to be surgically removed. In adults however, gum usually passes through normally like any other food.

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While chewing gum is made of food grade butyl rubber, it still maintains the airtight property of its base material. Chewed gum can be used to fix broken flower pots as well as repair minor leaks in your car’s radiator until you can get to a mechanic for something more permanent.

Next, we have Cheetos. This cheese puff snack is best eaten while watching an engaging movie with friends or by yourself. It also makes great kindling material. Cheetos – for some reason – burns slowly…like a match. If you light it up in a windless area, it sometimes actually burns slower than paper.

Needless to say, a pile of Cheetos would actually make the base for a great campfire, or a flavorful alternative to charcoal. In fact, if you put a stack of Cheetos on a stick and light them up, they will light up like a torch.

I’ve saved the best for last – Coca Cola is a “drink” with many, many uses. It can be used as an all-purpose cleaner, used to clean toilets, stains, and windows; it can be used as a bug killer since insects are naturally attracted to its sugar but will die if they consume it; it can be used to remove food-grade butyl rubber (ergo bubblegum); it can be used as a painkiller for external wounds thanks to the chemicals in Coke; and it is also a dish washer, a rust fighter, a field pesticide, a frost remover, a fertilizer, a coin cleaner, a paint remover, a pool cleaner, an oil stain remover, a blood stain remover, and of course, a drink.
Snack well.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 05, 2014.

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