Booze may have led to the founding of civilization, ranking the world’s weight woes, the 10 most common fast food ingredients

Booze may have led to the founding of civilization, ranking the world’s weight woes, the 10 most common fast food ingredients

Confirming the obvious: Big Macs are "unnatural" (Photo by Geronimo De Francesco) 

• Breaking news: Big Macs are unnatural. TLC’s Fun Facts section presents a list of the top 10 ingredients in fast food, including citric acid (#10), MSG (#6) and chicken (#1). Profiles of each entry reveal disturbing facts, like a statistic indicating that North Americans consume an average of 41.5 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup per year. [TLC]

• Alcohol motivated early humans to adopt agriculture, says archaeologist Patrick McGovern. The University of Pennsylvania scientist has discovered tartaric acid (a booze-related compound) in pottery shards at the 9,000-year-old Jiahu site in China. The first neolithic encounter with fermented grains may have occurred when someone ate a sprouted grain that had fallen into a shallow pool of water. Once consumed, the grain would have triggered the brain’s reward centres, causing our enthusiastic ancestors to domesticate crops in order to get their next fix. [The Independent]

• Weight-related woes, reported so often in recent years, are apparently nation specific. A recent poll by Reader’s Digest indicates that the Chinese pop more weight-loss pills per person than residents of any other country, while Russians are most likely to blame their extra pounds on genes (the “big boned” defence). Canada gets only one mention in the article, indicating that 71 per cent of our countrymen have tried to lose weight. [Reader’s Digest]

• A new study has found that bisphenol A, one of the most widely used chemicals in the world, can increase risk of cardiac arrest by 45 per cent. Rick Smith of Environmental Defense calls for a total ban on its use, while the American Chemistry Council—an industry trade group representing BPA manufacturers—says the study is inconclusive. [Globe and Mail]