Are you aware of all the artificial food dyes side effects? Eating all natural whole foods are the best way to avoid these harmful food additives.
Artificial food dyes have terrible side effects. The artificial food dyes side effects may not be fully understood. There is plenty of peer-reviewed data to conclude artificial food dyes are unhealthy.
There is a lot of evidence linking artificial food coloring to harmful side effects. But, these dyes are still legal in the United States. Artificial food dyes are banned by the European Union. There is solid evidence against fake food coloring. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has petitioned the FDA to ban them. (Read the petition here.)
The petition was to no avail. The CSPI is still determined to inform the public of the dangers of artificial food dyes. This non-profit advocacy group also released a report, “Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks.” You can access that report here.
What are the artificial food dyes side effects?
The report states there are nine artificial food dyes approved for use in the USA that are carcinogenic. These dyes are also known to cause hyperactivity and behavior disorders such ADHD. The CSPI’s report argues that some of the food dyes have not been thoroughly tested to ensure the public’s safety.
What foods have artificial food dyes?
It doesn’t take a degree in nutrition to know that all-natural foods like fruits and vegetables are free of artificial food dyes. And, it’s not shocking that processed foods do contain food dyes. Many brand-name beverages contain artificial food dyes. Lipton Ice Tea (sweetened) mix contains Red #40.
What packaged foods have food dyes? The list includes breakfast cereals, candy, and even health supplements. Lots of products with food dyes, unfortunately, are aimed at children. Even conventionally-grown citrus fruits such as oranges are given dye to make them look brighter.
What’s the main concern with food dyes and kids?
The rates of hyperactivity disorder has increased by three percent every year, on average, since 1997. ADD, ADHD, and other behavioral disorders are the main concern with kids who consume food coloring.
One study of red dye #40 concluded it’s contaminated with cancer-causing benzidine. The same study links red #40 to hyperactivity disorders. A European study linked food dyes and sodium benzoate to hyperactivity disorders. Although it’s not a food dye, sodium benzoate is a preservative. It’s often found in foods that have artificial food coloring.
Low-income children typically have higher rates of hyperactivity diagnosis. A theory for this is that low-income families cannot afford healthy foods. Perhaps many low-income families are not aware of the link between inexpensive processed foods and behavioral problems. Processed foods often contain artificial dyes. Artificial food dyes side effects include behavioral problems. According to the CDC, children ages 2-5 receiving Medicaid benefits were twice as likely to be clinically treated for ADD.
Dr. Bernard Weiss is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Rochester, New York. He wrote an article titled, “Vulnerability of children and the developing brain to neurotoxic hazards.” The article was published in Environmental Health Perspectives. In the paper, Weiss concludes that the FDA does not see the link between artificial dyes and hyperactivity in children. This is because they claim well-controlled studies do not show evidence of it. However, there have been many publications showing some children respond adversely to food coloring. Dr. Weiss believes the FDA is disregarding these published controlled clinical trials.
In other words, scientific proof exists that food dyes can cause the following adverse effects:
- Learning disabilities and lowered IQ
- Anti-social behavior
Despite the evidence, the government tiptoes around the proof.
What are the most common food dyes?
The most ubiquitous artificial food colorings are Red #40, Yellow #5 and Yellow #6. The previously mentioned CSPI report says these three dyes comprise 90 percent of all the dyes used in foods. The report also states that food dye consumption has increased five-fold since the mid-20th century.
According to a meta-analysis of food dye research, the three dyes above all contain benzidine, a known carcinogen. The FDA calculated in 1985 that ingestion of free benzidine raises the cancer risk to just under the “concern” threshold (1 cancer in 1 million people). Though one cancer in one million might sound miniscule, the FDA’s review failed to account for bound molecules of benzidine.
Are natural alternatives to food dyes available?
Many plant based food dyes are possible. Various fruits and vegetables have natural coloring. These include pumpkin, carrots, turmeric, beets, strawberries, and blueberries. Various colors exist in nature that could be used in natural food dyes.
A few years ago, Spirulina was approved as a natural food coloring according to this article. It’s use is now allowed as an alternative to the artificial FD&C Blue #1. As the hazards of artificial food coloring become more well known, more companies will be looking to switch to natural food dyes.
Based on the overwhelming evidence, food dyes do contribute to hyperactivity disorders in children. They have been shown to be a significant part of the problem. Parents of children with hyperactivity disorders may see improvements in their child by eliminating all sources of food dyes from the diet. Consuming omega-3-rich foods or supplements may also decrease hyperactivity disorder behaviors. Have you experienced artificial food dyes side effects?