The answer is obvious. But in America – you might actually be saying “Yes! And for my whole family too, please!” without knowing it. Foods that have food coloring in them can be killing you slowly (or quickly, depending on the luck of the draw).
A study in 2004 on 1,873 three year-old children reveled that artificial food colorings and benzoate preservatives increase hyperactive behavior on children. According to Center for Science in the Public Interest, other studies revealed that “mixtures of dyes (as well as the preservative sodium benzoate) adversely affect kids’ behavior.”
In a comprehensive review of the toxicology of food dyes done by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, it was revealed that all of the nine US-approved dyes are linked to facilitating the onset of health issues.
Because of the research that have shown that artificial food coloring is bad for health, the European Union launched a rule in 2010 that required foods containing artificial food dyes to contain warning labels about their adverse effects on the “activity and attention in children.” Because of this new rule, American food companies that sell their products in the EU have switched to safer and more natural forms of coloring for the products they sell there. However, because the Food and Drug Administration of the United States has not chosen to ban artificial food dyes, or raise public awareness about their adverse effects, these American companies still continue to use the artificial dyes. For example, the topping of a McDonald’s Strawberry Sundae in the U.K is colored by strawberries alone, whereas the U.S version contains the dye Red 40. As another example, the British Fanta orange soda gets its bright color from carrot and pumpkin extracts, whereas the U.S. version gets its bright color from Red 40 and Yellow 6, which have been shown to result in cancers or other health issues in those that consume them.
These dyes do not provide us with any nutritional benefits whatsoever! So if there’s anything we should omit from our diets this new year, it should be artificial dyes.
The below, is a summary of the different health effects of these dyes:
- Red 3: Has been found to cause cancer in animals
- Red 40: Shown to cause cancer and/or hypersensitivity
- Citrus Red 2: Shown to cause cancer and/or hypersensitivity
- Yellow 5: Shown to cause cancer and/or hypersensitivity. Shown to cause asthma, hives, headaches, skin rash. Also positive for genotoxicity. Genotoxicity means that the chemical has a destructive effect on the genetic material of a cell. In most cases, the alterations take the form of genetic mutations, in which genetic information (portions of DNA or RNA) can be deleted, inserted, or duplicated – all of which can result in different health conditions. Some examples of health conditions caused by genetic mutations are: diabetes, psychosis, cystic fibrosis, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
- Yellow 6: Shown to cause cancer and/or hypersensitivity
- Green 3: Shown to cause hypersensitivity and allergies. Found to cause cancer or serious health conditions in animals
- Blue 1: Cause hypersensitivity and allergies. Found to cause cancer or other genetic mutations
- Blue 2: Cause hypersensitivity and allergies. Found to cause cancer or other genetic mutations
- Orange B: Has been found to cause cancer in animals
The below is a summary of where these dyes can be found:
- Red 40: Soft drinks, Candy, Children’s medications, Cereal, Beverages, Snacks, Gelatin desserts, Baked goods, Ice cream. Red No. 40 has been banned from use in Denmark, Belgium, France, Sweden and Switzerland, and the EU requires food containing it to be labeled with a warning
- Red 3: Canned fruit, Candy, Ice cream, Maraschino cherries, Snack foods, Pudding, Gelatin desserts, Sausage casing, Popsicles, Cake icing
- Citrus Red 2: Oranges! Although California and Arizona fruits forbid the use of this dye in oranges, Florida Department of Citrus allows its use when the orange peels don’t turn as orange as they want them to be. Another solution? Buy organic! The USDA certification process for organic produce prohibits its certified producers from using food dyes
- Yellow 5: Candy, Soft drinks, Cereal, Gelatin desserts, Baked goods, Ice cream, Pudding, Snack foods, Energy drinks, Flavored chips, Jam, Yogurt, Pickles, Dessert powders, Custard. The EU requires food containing it to be labeled with a warning
- Yellow 6: Marzipan, Jelly, Jam, Marmalade, Soup mix, Breadcrumbs, Cereal, Soft drinks, Candy, Cheese sauce, Chips, Cookies. The EU requires food containing it to be labeled with a warning
- Green 3: Salad Dressings, Cereal, Pre-cooked pasta, Baked foods, Candied Fruit, Candy, Yogurt. Banned in the EU
- Blue 1: Candy, Soft drinks, Baked goods, Gelatin Desserts, Ice cream, Pudding, Cereal, Processed peas, Dairy products, Blue Jeans
- Blue 2: Soft drinks, Candy, Cereal, Baked goods, Frozen desserts, Snack foods, Confections, Gelatin products. Banned in Norway
- Orange B: It was once used to color sausage casings, but the FDA proposed its ban in 1978 because of the toxicity. This has not been used in decades
Eat healthy, my friends!