Artificial Food Coloring: Do I Need to Worry?

By on 03/30/2016
artificial food coloring

Unfortunately, today’s current food practices and trends are chock full of artificial flavorings, preservatives, and coloring. In fact, we, as a society, have become far removed from what real, non-processed foods actually look like, as most foods today contain some amount of artificial coloring.

Did you know Americans are now consuming five times as much food dye as we did in 1955?

Since these artificial color additives have now fully invaded our food supply, it is important we learn the truth about them, mainly: are they safe?

Artificial food coloring is not safe and should be avoided whenever possible!

Many studies have now linked artificial coloring to major health concerns – including some forms of cancer. The truth is, these synthetic colors are just chemicals that are derived from sources like coal tar. They are not natural and do not positively affect the food in any way. They are added simply for marketing and sales purposes, as society has slowly been taught to only accept brightly colored, visually enhanced foods only.

The three most widely used culprits—Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40—contain compounds, including benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl, that research has linked with cancer.


Even worse, it is now known that the toxicity of these fake dyes negatively affects the health of children even more than adults, and it goes without saying how absolutely overrun kid’s food is with these artificial colors!

These food dyes have been associated with higher occurrences of allergies, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, and mood swings in children.

So much so that other countries, like the UK, now have laws requiring companies to label their products that contain these dyes with a warning that says, “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

As a result of this law, many food companies switched to natural, safe food dyes, But since no such laws exist in the US, they still choose to use the cheaper, unsafe synthetic dyes on food products sold in the US.

artifical food coloring


How to Avoid Unsafe Artificial Colors

Most food products have become compromised, including meat, drinks, candies, vitamins and even toothpaste. So you must always be diligent and check labels on all foods. When reading an ingredients label, artificial colors appear as a color and then a number, like “blue 1” or “citrus 2.” Avoid products with these ingredients whenever possible.Unsafe food dyes

Additional steps you can take to help eliminate synthetic food coloring from your diet:

  • Shop organic. USDA organic foods cannot contain synthetic food colors. But be careful as this is only true for foods with the green and white USDA organic label. Foods that state they are, “made with organic ingredients” can still contain artificial colors.
  • Read labels. As stated, avoid foods with the color-number naming scheme, (like Red 40) as you know those are unsafe. Instead, look for natural food colorants: beet juice, carotenes, annatto, and capsanthin (a paprika extract), as they are natural and safe.Natural food coloring
  • Cook at home Choose natural, whole fruits, veggies, grains and un-enhanced meats to create delicious meals at home, sans the unsafe food additives.

The reality is, it may be impossible to avoid all artificial food coloring at all times (especially if you have kids!), but its important to do your best to reduce your exposure as much as possible. As they say, all good things come in moderation. Will snacking on some processed foods every now and then kill you? No. But eating mostly processed, artificially colored (and flavored foods) most of the time will likely negatively affect the long term health of you and your family.

About modernhealthproject

Hi there! This is my little blog project where I am trying to learn more about health, wellness and living a balanced life, while also sharing a bit of my silly side as well. By "silly" I mean sarcastic. And by "a bit" I mean way too much. Sorry about that.♥ - Anna

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