Turns Out Similar Products In The UK And The US Have Very Different Ingredients And It’s Pretty Disturbing

Published 5 years ago

If you’ve ever traveled abroad, you probably noticed how some of the foods you enjoy back home taste just so slightly different than in the country you’re visiting. Well, it’s not just your jet-lagged mind playing tricks on you – turns out similar foods can have drastically different ingredients in different countries and it’s actually kind of disturbing.

American author and food blogger Vani Hari, going as Food Babe online, recently compared the same or similar foods in the UK and the USA and found out that even though they might look similar visually, their composition varies quite greatly.

More info: foodbabe.com | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

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McDonald’s French Fries

Image credits: Food babe

Take French fries for example – looks pretty basic, just some potatoes, salt, and oil, right? Well, turns out the ones from the UK have a much shorter – and somewhat healthier (as healthy as French fries can be, of course) – ingredient list than the ones from the USA. Food Babe’s comparisons gained a lot of attention of Facebook after they were shared by Kacey Birch with the caption “Are we going to talk about this yet???”.

Quaker Instant Oatmeal Packets

Image credits: Food babe

“Europe takes a “precautionary principle” approach towards food additives that are potentially risky. They ban or add warning labels to these additives for their citizens,” said Vani Hari in an interview with Bored Panda. “The US does not take this approach. It does not remove additives from our food supply until they have been proven dangerous – which can take a very long time and a lot of red tape.”

“Big Food companies will tell you that the European regulators are just being overly cautious, that all of the ingredients they put in their American products are perfectly safe. But are they really?” wondered the writer. “If a company can get away with using cheaper ingredients, they will. Given a choice, they’ll always opt for the cheaper flavor enhancer, and the cheaper color additive, and the cheaper preservative, even if these cheaper alternatives potentially have a negative impact on our health.”

Mountain Dew

Image credits: Food babe

In her book Feeding You Lies, Hari points out that the health of Americans is looking pretty grim. According to the writer, the US spends 2.5 times more on health care than other developed nations yet still come in last in terms of health. “More than two-thirds of U.S. citizens are overweight and more than 18% of children are obese. After smoking, obesity is America’s biggest cause of premature death,“ says Hari.

Heinz Ketchup

Image credits: Food babe

The author explains that one of the primary causes of health problems in Americans is the American diet, that’s full of risky ingredients that aren’t used to the same extent in other countries. “American food is overloaded with bad fats, way too much cheap refined sugar, and heaps of synthetic additives,” says Hari.


Image credits: Food babe

Hari went on to explain how trusting the front of a food package can be a big mistake. “Claims like “natural”, “healthy”, “diet”, and “sugar-free” mean very little. Instead, always flip over the product and read the ingredient list. This will tell you the truth about what you are eating,” explained the writer. “If the food contains any additives or preservatives, ask yourself why they are used and whether they’re really necessary. If you don’t know what an ingredient or additive is or how it can affect your health, put the product back and look for a product made with real food instead.”

Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Cereal

Image credits: Food Babe

Food Babe is quite influential when it comes to food-related things – it was thanks to her efforts that Kraft stopped using artificial orange coloring in their mac and cheese and Subway dropped bread additive azodicarbonamide.

Hari says she was shocked when she saw Kellogg’s new Baby Shark Cereal because she knew her 2-year-old daughter would beg her for a box. “These ingredients do not belong in our food — especially for children. This is why I launched a petition two weeks ago asking Kellogg’s to remove the artificial colors, artificial flavors, and BHT from their cereals in the U.S. as they do in other countries. It has surpassed 40,000 signatures and climbing,” said Food Babe. 

Macaroni & Cheese

Image credits: Food Babe

“In 2015, Kellogg’s announced plans to remove artificial colors and flavors from their cereals by the end of 2018. Over 4 years later, Kellogg’s continues to sell several cereals made with artificial ingredients such as Froot Loops and Apple Jacks, and is launching new limited-edition cereals targeting young children made with these additives,” says the writer.

Image credits: kacey.dawn.37

“Why is Kellogg’s creating brand new cereals with artificial ingredients if they truly want to remove these chemicals from cereals? Kellogg’s makes Froot Loops and Unicorn Cereal in other countries without artificial colors or BHT, so they already have the formula. We deserve the same, safer cereals that other countries get,” concluded Hari.

Not everyone agreed with the Food Babe

While other internet users had a different opinion

Aušrys Uptas

One day, this guy just kind of figured - "I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?" - and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that's trending on the web. Some things that always pique his interest are old technologies, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness. So if you find something that's too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

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