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What’s in a Slim Jim, you wonder? We thought you’d never ask…

Ah the Slim Jim. That creepy sausage looking thing that you see at every rest stop and convenience store known to man. Why anyone buys these I still don’t know, but maybe it’s because people do really believe that this is a tasty sausage.

Not quite so, as this video from Wired let’s us know exactly what’s in a Slim Jim, and it’s not pretty. First of all, let’s stop calling Slim Jims “sausage.” Nope, this is yummy, tasty “meat stick.” No really, that’s what a Slim Jim is called. Thanks ConAgra.

Granted “meat” might be a stretch of the definition, since Slim Jim uses the lowest ranking beef available (from older cows with less marbling) and to beef it up – yes, pun intended – they even mix in a bit of  “mechanically separated chicken.”  The same stuff often used in chicken nuggets, and we all know how wonderful those are. Still hungry?

If the mystery meat wasn’t bad enough, you get a nice dose of soy, wheat and corn, obviously what every tasty sausage should be made of. For taste purposes there’s some glutamic acid (the thing that gives you the umami taste). There’s also a whole one-sixth of your daily allowance for salt in there.

What we’re talking about here is highly processed food, and even worse: processed meat. In one study, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that “eating processed red meat—bacon, sausage or processed deli meats—was associated with a 42% higher risk of heart disease and 19% higher risk of type 2 diabetes.”

But most people forget that as they hit the rest stop and reach for a quick snack. Slim Jims are, after all, “a convenient, one-of-a-kind snack, well known for its intense flavor and “snap” that people love.” People love it because it’s easy, and engineered to keep you coming back for more.

Well maybe it’s time to change that. Next road trip, pack some healthier, non-processed snacks instead.

Related on Organic Authority

Processed Meats Linked to Higher Heart Disease, Diabetes Risks

Eating Red and Processed Meat Associated With Increased Risk of Death

Another Reason to Never Feed Chicken Nuggets to Children