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Pop open a bag of beef jerky or a bottle of multivitamins and you’re bound to come across a few of them. They’re like the prize in a box of Cracker Jacks…but without the prize part. You know the exact packets we’re talking about: those small white ones with some variation of “THROW AWAY” scrawled all over them. (Sidenote: Where do all these little guys eventually end up?) They also regularly come with a more ominous, albeit curiosity-inducing, warning: “DO NOT EAT." But what is in them exactly? And is it possible to eat their contents?

It turns out that these packets are full of desiccants called silica gel, which eliminate moisture. The silica gel contains microscopic pores that attract and hold on to water molecules, so that the food products aren’t spoiled by water (the packets are also commonly found in leather goods, such as shoes and briefcases). As for eating this “high-tech sand” of sorts? Considering that it would draw in all the moisture from your gums and tongue, we’d recommend against it. In fact, the cinnamon challenge might very well be the minor leagues to silica gel’s major league competition. Take a look at the video below for a quick rundown on the packets.

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