There are two kinds of people in the world – the ones who eat to live and the others who live to eat! The first category considers food as merely a fuel to keep the body working. On the other hand, people in the second category think of food as the center of their universe! However, the one thing that they all have in common is a general lack of knowledge about food. Here, we have put together a list of interesting food facts. Regardless of whether you eat for sustenance or for satisfying your soul, you would find these enlightening.
1. You can find out about an egg’s nutritional value by checking the color of the yolk.
Have you ever noticed how some egg yolks are dark orange in color while others are soft yellow? You may have even seen ones that are red! Well, there’s a reason for it. Experts have always believed that the richer the color of the yolk, the more nutritional value it packs. However, recent studies have revealed that it is more complicated than that.
Generally, chickens that feed on grass, seeds, and bugs tend to be well-nourished, and they produce eggs that have bright-orange yolks. These eggs are also rich in healthy fats and nutrients. Factory-farmed chickens, on the other hand, live in cages and their diet primarily consists of grains. These chickens lay eggs that have light-yellow yolks with much less nutritional value.
What a chicken eats determines the color of the yolk. It occurs due to the presence of carotenoids, which are fat-soluble, organic pigments largely produced by algae, plants, fungi, and bacteria. It is the same component that gives tomatoes, corn, carrots, pumpkins, and many others their unique hues. Eggs that are rich in carotenoids tend to have bright-colored yolks. Because of this, farmers can manipulate the color of the yolk by adjusting the diet and lifestyle of the chickens.
So, is it safe to assume that we can easily determine an egg’s nutritional value simply by looking at its yolk? Not really. In the US, 97% of the eggs are supplied by factory farms. So, the cheap eggs that you buy at the supermarket are not supposed to have rich-colored yolks. If they do, it probably means they have been dyed synthetically.
There are other cues that can tell you about an egg’s quality. For example, if the egg has a firm yolk, it means the chicken has had a wholesome diet. Also, do not be fooled by labels such as “cage-free” and “organic.” Even those labeled as “free-range” often come from chickens that have had little outdoor time. Instead, you should look for labels that have the Certified Humane® Pasture-Raised stamp. (1, 2)
2. Lemons have a higher sugar content than strawberries.
Anyone who has tasted both lemons and strawberries will never once think that the former has more sugar than the latter. Though some strawberries are naturally tart, they are, for the most part, sweeter than lemons. However, recent studies have revealed that lemons have 70% sugar content while strawberries have only 40%.
Lemons also have a higher glycemic load (GL) than strawberries. Before we explain what “glycemic load” is, you need to understand the glycemic index (GI). Every food item can be ranked based on their glycemic index, which is a numerical unit that suggests how much sugar that item has. Consuming too much of an item that has a high GI ranking can cause blood sugar levels to rise.
The glycemic index can sometimes be flawed as it does not take into account usual portion sizes. To get more accurate results, researchers from Harvard University introduced glycemic load back in 1997. Unlike GI, glycemic load factors in the serving size when calculating the sugar content. The lower the ranking, the lesser the sugar content.
Now, if you compare a serving size of 120 g of lemons and strawberries, you will find that lemons have a glycemic load of 3 while strawberries have a GL of 1. So, why do lemons taste more sour than strawberries despite having a higher glycemic load?
The reason you cannot taste the sugar in lemons is because of the high citric-acid content. Lemons have 3% to 6% citric acid which makes them taste sour. Strawberries, on the other hand, are much less acidic, which helps them to maintain their sweetness. (1, 2)
3. Potatoes are capable of absorbing and reflecting WiFi signals.
Back in 2012, American airplane manufacturer, Boeing used a creative method for testing out and improving the in-flight WiFi systems. Wireless signals can be tricky, and they can randomly fluctuate in enclosed spaces such as inside airplanes. The signals can also be disturbed when people move about inside the cabin. That is why the strength of the WiFi signals can vary greatly from one corner of the plane to another.
To fix this uneven distribution, engineers first needed to understand how the WiFi signals behave inside a packed airplane. However, finding human volunteers who will sit inside a prototype aircraft for endless hours at a time merely for data collection was next to impossible. That is why they decided to replace humans with something unusual – large bags of potatoes!
Researchers at the company found that the unique chemistry and water content in potatoes makes them capable of absorbing and reflecting radio wave signals. That means potatoes interact with WiFi signals the way human bodies do. This knowledge quickly prompted Boeing to fill the seats inside a decommissioned plane with large sacks of potatoes. They used a total of 9,000 kg or 20,000 lb of potatoes for this experiment.
4. Bananas also have a red variant that is known as “Dacca banana” or “Red banana.”
Most of us are used to seeing yellow or green bananas, but did you know bananas also come in a red color? No, they are not synthetically dyed or chemically altered in any way. Bananas have over 1,000 variants, and red bananas are native to Southeast Asia. Though sold around the world, red bananas are especially popular in Central America.
Typically, red bananas tend to be plumper, heartier, and shorter than the regular Cavendish banana. You can only eat red bananas when they are ripe because the unripe ones taste chalky and dry. Ripe red bananas have a thick peel that looks almost brick red, and the flesh tends to be semi-soft and ivory-colored. Though some say it tastes like an average banana, others say it is softer and creamier with a slight raspberry flavor.
Available throughout the year, red bananas are rich in nutrients. It has more vitamin C and beta carotene than yellow bananas. It also has a good amount of protein, fiber, and healthy fat along with magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium. Though you can eat the ripe red banana fresh, it is mostly used in baking and for preparing desserts. (1, 2)
5. Honey is made of regurgitated nectar – aka bee vomit.
Most of us know that bees produce honey, but have you ever thought about how? While you may not find it especially pleasing, honey is actually regurgitated flower nectar. Even though it sounds gross, the process of making honey is actually quite fascinating. Bees travel from flower to flower collecting nectar which they store inside a honey sac. A one-way valve separates the honey sac from the stomach.
When stored in the sac, nectar can pass into the stomach but never from the stomach to the sac. When running low on energy, bees actually transfer some of the nectar to their stomach to replenish their strength. Once they are back in the hive, scavenger bees regurgitate the nectar that is stored in the honey sac into the mouth of processor bees. The nectar then gets passed around from one processor bee to the next until it reaches the bee that is closest to the honeycomb where the nectar is finally stored.
During the regurgitation and collection process, the nectar gets mixed with bee enzyme. That changes the pH and chemical composition of the nectar and prepares it for storage. In a way, this process increases the shelf-life of the honey which is necessary since bees store honey in preparation for the winter months.