The Dangers of Artificial Food Coloring
Red, yellow, blue, lake, FD&C, 5, 4, 40. You're probably aware of the fact that artificial food coloring is bad for you, or at least that it's not good for you. Real chefs refuse to use it. Some countries like Norway ban some of them. Do you know why?
In studies in which rats were given doses of artificial food coloring versus a placebo and then placed in a maze, it was found that the rats were hyperactive and had difficulty staying on task and retaining attention (see link to study in Additional Sources below: "Potential Health Hazard", 2011 Kamel & El-lethey). This is interesting because, as a lot of brightly colored snacks have lots of sugar as well as artificial color, people blame the sugar alone for hyperactivity. However, the coloring itself may have something to do with this as well. Some parents have concluded this on their own from observations at home, too. The colorings will worsen one's inability to pay attention if he or she already has trouble, such as with ADD or ADHD, so keep that in mind.
Additionally, other studies have found that artificial colorings may lead to rashes, asthma, or even tumors! Egad!
Do you know what petroleum is? Well, that's what artificial colors are made of, in addition to acetone and coal tars. Ew. These colors are approved by the FDA, too.
Unfortunately, children are often the most vulnerable to artificial color not because their bodies are still developing, but also because their snacks and desserts are the most likely to have artificial color, such as fruit snacks or that weird green ketchup.
Thankfully, it may not be too late for many people, who can stop eating food with artificial colors and try to cleanse their bodies of the chemicals. If you just keep eating them, they'll keep building up, and you'll never get better.
It's pretty easy to avoid foods with artificial color, whether you're looking at the label or at the unnatural tint of your food. Remember, however, that some bright colors are natural, such as the red from beets or the orange from carrots (carotene). Use common sense in locating unnatural colors for your health and that of children.
Livestrong has suggested a list of food additives to avoid (just so you know, "FD&C" stands for "Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, which mandated the certification of some food color additives):
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
- Sodium nitrate/nitrate
- Sulfites (sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfite, sodium and potassium bisulfite, sodium and potassium metabisulfite)
- Potassium bromate
- FD&C Blue #1
- FD&C Blue #2
- FD&C Green #3
- FD&C Red #3 (Erythrosine)
- FD&C Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)
- FD&C Yellow #6
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- US FDA/CFSAN - Colorings
Color additive menu page
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