Health – Harmful Food Dyes

Artificial dyes are found in most processed foods and may be causing health issues because they are synthetic and dangerous. Food dyes add no benefits whatsoever to foods, other than adding eye appeal. You will find artificial dyes in colored drinks and candies, brown cereal, whole wheat pizza crust and white frosting, pickles, children’s vitamins and Motrin, nacho chips and flavored instant oatmeal, and the list goes on. Many packaged foods contain coloring. Read the ingredients!

“What was once reserved for colorful, celebratory cake frosting is now lurking on almost every shelf in the grocery store. In fact, consumption of food dyes has increased 5-fold since 1955 (up from 3 million to 15 million pounds per year) – 90% of which is from Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40. This is one of the many reasons why the argument that we grew up eating this stuff and turned out ‘just fine’ doesn’t hold up – processed food has changed (and continues to change) since we were kids. …”

“These are some of the food dyes that are currently on the market. If you see these ingredients added to a product, exercise caution before buying:

  • Blue #1 & #2: These ingredients are often added to pet food, baked goods, candy, and beverages. They have been linked to cancer and tumor formation in mice and hamsters. …
  • Red #3: Most commonly used to color baked goods, candy, fruit cocktail, and cherries. Researchers found that this food dye caused thyroid tumors in rats.
  • Red #40: This ingredient is usually contaminated with carcinogens such as benzidine, and researchers found that it increased tumor incidence and death rate in hamsters who were exposed to it.
  • Yellow #5: Another food dye that is usually contaminated with carcinogens such as benzidine. Researchers found that it mimics the function of estrogen in the body.
  • Yellow #6: Often added to candy, baked goods, gelatin, sausage, and beverages, this ingredient has been associated with tumor formation in the kidneys and adrenal gland. …”

“Back in 1985, the acting commissioner of the FDA said that Red 3, one of the lesser-used dyes, ‘has clearly been shown to induce cancer’ and was ‘of greatest public health concern.’ However, Secretary of Agriculture John R. Block pressed the Department of Health and Human Services not to ban the dye, and he apparently prevailed—notwithstanding the Delaney Amendment that forbids the use of in foods of cancer-causing color additives. Each year about 200,000 pounds of Red 3 are poured into such foods as Betty Crocker’s Fruit Roll-Ups and ConAgra’s Kid Cuisine frozen meals. Since 1985 more than five million pounds of the dye have been used.”

Interesting history:

“Food colorings have been used since ancient times. When color was needed, spices, flowers, and juices from fruits and vegetables were employed to do the job. Minerals and ores were also used but were found to be dangerous. If the concentration was off even a little bit, the result was a poisonous food that could not be eaten.

“Artificial food colorings began as additives that enhanced the way that food looked in shop windows. … If the color is bright then you think that the food is fresher somehow. It is a trick of the eye and the brain that has worked for manufacturers for ages.

“In early history, food colorings were derived from natural sources. This went for medications and/or cosmetics too. If you wanted red coloring for a cake, you added red beet root juice to the mixture. This not only provided a deep color but also a certain flavor. For other colors, different spices could be used with water to bring out the desired look. …

“After World War II, scientists discovered that they could manufacture coloring additives artificially and cheaper than using food sources. The colorings that went into food were created in labs or extracted from dyes. People didn’t notice the difference. …

“Many of these artificial colorings were derived from petroleum-based products. It extended shelf life and that was important at the time. According to the government, as long as the chemical used in the food wasn’t at a level that would kill half of the test animals in the group, it was deemed safe for human consumption. There were no tests that measured toxicity as it related to behavior in humans or animals.

“In the 1930s an act was put in place that called for regulation of color additives to foods, drugs and cosmetic products. When artificial colorings were added to the line-up, they also had to be regulated and included in this act (in 1960). …

“Artificial colorings added no additional nutritional value to the food. …

“… the use of coloring additives has increased. You don’t just see the coloring in candy or jelly beans. It can be found in soft drinks, popsicles, ice cream and even fish. …

“Dyes are added to some salmon to keep it looking bright in the package. It apparently works. If you saw a lighter-colored salmon and a brighter piece of fish, which would you buy? …”

A healthier alternative would be to limit processed foods and prepare your own meals with healthy ingredients which include fresh fruit and vegetables in which God’s natural coloring shines forth and nourishes your body.