15 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Favorite Foods

We generally spend more time eating our favorite foods than we do researching them. But it turns out, some of the sweets and flavors we treasure the most come with some really amazing facts. Read on to get an education on your favorite goodies, and be sure to check out McDonald’s new Favorites Under 400 calories menu, where you can win prizes whenever Team USA Wins Gold!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Subject to Official Rules at usawinsgold.com. See for details, prizes, restrictions and odds. Void where prohibited.

2. More Than 345 Billion Oreos Have Made Since 1912

It’s unclear how many Santa has had.

3. The World’s Oldest Recipe Is For Beer

It’s true! Mesopotamians were just as interested in kicking back on a Friday night as we are!

4. Coconut Juice Can Also Be Used As A Substitute For Blood Plasma

In WWII, doctors discovered that they could inject coconut juice into soldiers whenever they ran out of real plasma because our bodies can absorb it easily, and it doesn’t destroy red blood cells.

5. Red M&M’s Were Briefly Discontinued In The 1970’s

…because people thought the red coloring caused cancer.

6. Eskimo Ice Cream Is Not Icy Or Creamy

Instead, it’s made of berries, meat, sugar, leaves, and roots with animal oil or fat.

7. Ketchup Was Invented To Treat Liver Disease

After Dr. John Cook Bennett announced in 1834 that tomatoes cured headaches, diarrhea, nausea, and could even fight Cholera, Dr. Archibald Miles developed his Compound Extract of Tomato (which were pills made of tomato extract). People could take them to cure everything from a cold to a liver infection.

8. Hershey Kisses Were Named After The Sound Of A Machine

They aren’t called Hershey Kisses because we want to kiss the person who gives them to us. Instead, we call them kisses because the machine that produces them makes a distinct smooching sound.

9. Almonds Are A Member Of The Rose Family

Most people think almonds are a member of the peach family, but that’s not true. In actuality, almonds and peaches are in the rose (or Rosaceae) family.

10. Pringles Are Not Potato Chips

Because only 42% of a Pringle consists of potato (the rest is wheat starch and several kinds of flour), the US Food and Drug Administration demanded that a can of them be known as “potato crisps.”

11. An 11-Year-Old Invented The Popsicle And Kept It A Secret For 18 Years

In 1905, Frank Epperson combined soda water powder and water (which people used to drink) and left it on his porch. The temperature dropped to a record low that night and the next morning, Frank woke up to find his beverage had turned into a stick of frozen soda water. 18 years later, he remembered what he’d done and started producing Epsicles in seven different flavors.

12. Carrots Used To Be Purple

We only have the orange carrots today because the Dutch farmers in the late 16th century took the purple ones and genetically modified them to taste better by splicing them with the yellow and white strains.

13. Orange Juice Natural Contains Alcohol

When the peel of an orange is squeezed, yeast gets into the juice. And then the yeast in the juice converts a very small percentage of the natural sugars into carbon dioxide and alcohol during fermentation. So lighten up on that champagne, will ya?

14. You Can Get Addicted To Vanilla

Vanillic acid is quite similar to epinephrine and norepinephrine (which we know as adrenaline and noradrenaline), and they cause a reaction in the brain that can be quite addictive.

15. It Takes About 250 Licks To Get To The Center Of A Tootsie Pop

Oh please, it’s not like you were going to ever try to figure it out yourself.

16. 80% Of McDonald’s Menu Is Under 400 Calories

They really are! The new Favorites Under 400 calories menu is one of many ways in which McDonald’s continues to offer nutrition information to help customers make informed choices. Select items from the new menu are also spotlighted in McDonald’s Win When USA Wins Gold promotion, which brings customers the fun of the London 2012 Olympic Games through a unique online experience.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to US, DC, Guam and Saipan residents, 13+. Event play ends 8/12, In-store ends 8/13 and Online Drawing entry ends 8/31. Subject to Official Rules at participating McDonald’s or usawinsgold.com. See Official Rules for details, restrictions, and no purchase instructions. Void where prohibited.

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