I was a birthday party recently where they had some of those trendy tie dye multi-colored cupcakes. They were super cute, but unfortunately the nutrition geek in me couldn't help but to shudder knowing what I have read about artificial food coloring and the connection to behavioral issues such as ADD/ADHD and allergies. Is it just me, or have you noticed some of the outrageous foods that they are trying to sell us at the grocery stores these days? Since when was yogurt BLUE? Tortilla chips GREEN and milk PURPLE? How is it that suddenly everything in our grocery stores have become technicolor? How did it get to this point?
In 1938, many dyes that were used to dye clothing, 15 were certified to be used to color foods. In the 1950's Orange No.1, Orange No.2 and Red No.32 when the U.S Congress conducted hearings on the potential carcinogenicity of these dyes. In 1973, the FDA removed Red No. 1, Red No.4, Yellow No.:1,2,3,4 and Violet No.1 due to studies that connected food dyes to: toxicity, allergies, hyperactivity and carcinogenicity. In 1976, Red No. 2 was removed except for coloring orange skins ( to provide more of a uniform consumer friendly appeal). Orange B, which is commonly found in sausage casings was removed due to links to cancer.
The Current FDA APPROVED artificial food coloring dyes is as follows:
Citrus Red No.2:
Used in Oranges to provide a more appealing color uniformity for the consumer. Avoid this by buying organic oranges.
Most commonly found in cherries, candy, ice cream, gelatin,pudding, cereals and baked goods.This is a coal-tar derivitive and has been linked to show cancers, gene mutations and change in brain chemistry. The FDA says that the proof is not there to support the cancer claims so it remains on the "SAFE LIST" and is only listed as an "artificial color".
Red No. 4
Most commonly found in: soft drinks, pudding, gelatin, condiments, dairy products and candy. It is also found in many cosmetic and personal care items as well as drugs. There have been some studies that have linked Red No. 4 to cancer in rats.
Most commonly found in:jellies, cereals, syrup,pudding, candy, soft drinks, and gatorades. It is a coal-tar derivative. It remains on the FDA "Safe List" although it has been linked to cause allergies as well as tumors have been detected in the injection site of test rats.
Blue No. 2
This is used in many of the same uses as listed above for Blue No.1 the World Health Organization rates it as a B as questionable for use in FOOD.
Green No. 3
Used in foods such as: frozen desserts, candy, mint jellies, gelatin and cereals. It is also on the FDA "Safe List" although it has been linked to a potential allergen and has also been linked to causing tumors at the injection site in test rats.
Yellow No. 5 ( Tartrazine)
This is the MOST thoroughly studied and noteworthy Artifical Food Coloring. It is the ONLY one that must be listed by law on the labels of the foods and products that contain it. It is most commonly found in :spaghetti,pudding, ice cream, custards, soft drinks, cereal and candies. It is also found in asprins and Advil. People suffering from asthma are told to stay away from foods that contain Tartrazine because it often times makes there systems worse.
Yellow No. 6 ( Sunset Yellow)
This is most commonly found in : candies, cereals, gelatins, desserts and sodas. It is yet another coal-tar derivative.
Dr. Benjamin Feingold, MD, has studied the link between hyperactivity and artificial food coloring. He has found in his studies that children with short attention spans greatly improve when they are fed a diet that is free from ALL artificial food colorings.
One of the most shocking discoveries is that Ritalin the number one prescribed drugs for ADD/ADHD and hyperactivity is made from Yellow No. 10- one of the MOST allergenic dye on the list!
The FDA has now begun to start listing food ingredients as "artificial colors" rather then identifying and listing the separate dyes used in each product. This has become problematic for those of us that try and steer clear of particular dyes.
Food should be beautiful and full of color and vitality. REAL FOODS come in a rainbow of Natural COLOR and are packed with life giving, health boosting nutrients.
Red Fruits and Vegetables: Contain lycopene, hesperidin and quercetin which naturally lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of prostate cancer, help destroy free- radicals in your body and reduce tumor growth.
Green Fruits and Vegetables: Contain chlorophyll, lutein, calcium, folate and beta-carotene. These nutrients help with digestion, promote healthy eyes, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, help to fight free- radicals.
Yellow and Orange Fruits and Vegetables: Contain:beta- carotene, vitamin C, potassium, lycopene and flavonoids. These nutrients help promote: healthy bone growth (working with calcium- magnesium balance in your body), help fight off free radicals, reduce the risk for macular degeneration, reduce the risk of cancer and facilitates alkaline balance in the body.
Purple and Blue Fruits and Vegetables: Contain: zeaxanthin,lutein, vitamin C, flavonoids, ellagic acid and quercitin. These nutrients help promote: support a healthy immune system, improve calcium absorption, lowere LDL Cholesterol, supports healthy digestion and helps to fight cancer cells.
White Fruits and Vegetables:Contain: beta-glucans, SDG, EGCG. These nutrients help promote: the activation of natural Killer T and B Cells. Reduce the risk of prostate, colon and breast cancer. They also help balance out hormones.
**Resources Used: Staying Healthy with Nutrition, by: Elson M Haas, MD