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The Dark Side of Food Colors

The Dark Side of Food Colors

The next time you’re at a child’s birthday party, notice the beautiful array of cakes, cookies, and cupcakes, all showcasing a rainbow assortment of artificial colors.  While they may make these sweets look appetizing to children, these synthetic ingredients often take the place of nutrition in foods.  For example, fruit juice that contains colors is typically devoid of any fruit, making it artificially-colored sugar water.  Worse than that, many food colors are linked to hyperactivity disorders and cancer.

Artificial coloring is a serious problem in fast food and fake food.  A recent petition by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, has called for a ban on the use of artificial dyes in food.  The group has targeted its petition at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, seeking the phasing out of eight artificial food dyes linked to serious health risks.  While they have made their case based on the risks to children, I have no doubt these artificial colors are wreaking havoc on adults as well.

Many Guises

While the names of the dyes are meaningless to most people (yellow 5 or tartrazine, which is derived from coal tar, and blue 2 or indigotine, for example), their effects are not.  These toxins are commonly found in concentrated fruit juices, condiments, and some cheeses, to name a few.  An article in the Globe and Mail reported that many popular snacks such as Smarties, Froot Loops, Cheetos, Doritos, and Reeses’ Pieces simply list colors without defining whether they are from a natural or artificial source.

A Carcinogen by Any Other Name

Blue dye number 1 and 2 are linked with cancer in animal tests, while red dye number 3 causes thyroid tumors in rats.  Green dye number 3 is linked to bladder cancer, and yellow dye number 6 is linked to tumors of the kidneys and adrenal glands.  While these colors are readily used in most processed, prepared and packaged foods, what bothers me the most is that they are commonplace in the diets of children.

Most candy, cakes, cupcakes, baked goods, maraschino cherries, fruit cocktail, gelatin desserts, and soft drinks contain these harmful substances, which serve no other purpose than to make so-called food look “pretty” and attract children whose bodies are particularly sensitive to them during the developmental years.

While those in the natural health and nutrition fields are aware of the dangers of these dyes, it appears a 2007 study in The Lancet, a reputable, mainstream medical journal, brought wider attention to this health concern.  Health Canada, the federal government health department in Canada has stated that it has begun to require the lebeling of colors in food using the specific name, but that doesn’t get the toxins out of the food.  Knowing what it is doesn’t make it less dangerous, only avoidable for those who both read the label and know what to look out for.  And, I don’t see too many eight-year-olds reading labels.  Not many adults do either.

The food industry must be accountable for the ingredients they use and strong disincentives are needed to keep dangerous additives and artificial colors out of the food supply, particularly as many are known carcinogens.

Subscribe to my free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on my site HealthySurvivalist.com, Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.

Related:
8 of the Worst Foods for Your Body

Read more: Appetizers & Snacks, Cancer, Children, Conscious Consumer, Desserts, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, General Health, Health & Safety, Healthy Schools, Michelle Schoffro Cook, Smart Shopping, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and 15-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim, Weekend Wonder Detox, Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure. Subscribe to her free e-magazine World's Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.

133 comments

+ add your own
8:17AM PDT on Aug 15, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

1:12PM PDT on May 30, 2013

Thanks noted

11:20AM PDT on May 26, 2013

Thanks 4 the info!

4:13AM PDT on May 23, 2013

Thanks for sharing. I'll be more careful now.

8:20PM PDT on May 21, 2013

TY

7:25PM PDT on May 21, 2013

no food colors They make me sick, literally especially blue and RED.

7:21PM PDT on May 21, 2013

Pet food doesn't need to be colored with any form of dye. They don't care what color it is, they only want it to taste good. The dye makes it almost impossible to get the stain out of a carpet it they throw up on it.
As far as icing on a cake for kids goes, just use a little jelly to give the icing some color.

2:46AM PDT on May 21, 2013

Thank you :)

2:28PM PDT on May 17, 2013

Thx for the info!

4:16AM PDT on May 17, 2013

thanks for telling the world

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people are talking

In the middle of Summer I am pretty weak when it comes to ice-cream, if I do indulge it's following …

I will have to try this. thanks.

thank you for the good article

Am making this tonight--yum yum! Thanks

Natasha Salgado Natasha Salgado
on Cilantro Pesto
17 minutes ago

Excellent reminder. :) Thankful!

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