YES to a Rainbow of Food; NO to Food Dye!

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SAY Yes to a rainbow of foods!  

Nutritionists and dieticians encourage us to consume a diet based on a rainbow of foods. Green leafy vegetables, yellow peppers and squash, orange carrots, red apples, purple cabbage, and so on.

Each of the colors represents a different nutrient or compound that work with your body to keep it healthy. These colors make the food visually appealing. Since we eat with our eyes before anything goes into our mouths, we strive to keep our food attractive.

In the age of processed foods, however, food coloring is added to create that fresh, attractive look. Bright red strawberry fillings in cereal bars and multi-hued candy coated shells dazzle our eyes and make our stomachs rumble in anticipation.

Why Food Dye is Used

When food is mass-produced and artificially created, nutrients and natural colors are lost. In order to keep them appetizing, manufacturers add in artificial food dye, preservatives, and agents to inhibit spoilage. The natural beauty and nutrition of foods is replaced with fake compounds in the name of making it pretty and marketable. Manufacturers hush up the very real links found between synthetic food dye and cancer, organ failure, and neurological dysfunction.

In the United States, it continues to be big business and new artificial foods are being created every day to meet demand.

Why Can’t the U.S. Follow the EU’s Lead?

The European Union decided to put a halt to potentially dangerous additives in 2010. In Britain, manufacturers were requested to replace artificial food colors and flavors with natural alternatives. At the very least, any foods containing artificial food dyes now have to carry a warning label.

The U.S. currently has no plans to ban food dye or alter any of the regulations concerning these additives. This is in spite of research that shows the danger food dyes pose to consumers, particularly children (which also happen to be the primary demographic for most brightly colored foods).

Food Dye Colors to Watch Out For

Some of the most dangerous color additives currently in use are:

Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue) – found primarily in baked goods, beverages, and cereals. It caused kidney tumors in laboratory mice.

Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine) – colorant in candies, pet food, and other items. Shown to cause brain tumors in rats.

Green #3 (Fast Green) – found in many cosmetics, candy, and drugs. Increases tumors of the bladder and testes in male rats.

Red #3 (Erythrosine) – colors maraschino cherries, baked goods, and candy. Banned by the FDA for causing thyroid tumors when used in externally applied cosmetics and topical drugs.

Red #40 (Allura Red) – the most widely used dye found in cereals, desserts, drugs, and cosmetics. Accelerates immune system tumors in mice and triggers allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children.

Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) – found in any number of baked goods, cereal, gelatin products, and dessert powders. Causes severe hypersensitivity and triggers hyperactivity disorders and other behavioral issues in children.

Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow) – Used in beverages, desserts, gelatin, candy, and even sausage. Found to cause adrenal tumors and trigger severe hyperactivity in children.

Unfortunately, these food dyes are so commonly used, particularly in food aimed at children, that parents don’t even consider the dangers.  Rainbow cereals, blue energy drinks, electric-orange cheese flavored snacks are commonplace on supermarket shelves and usually inexpensive as well.


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