All You Need is Within You

Dawn James~ Speaker, Author, Healer
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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Live or Dye: The Dangers of Eating Food Dyes

It may look pretty enticing – all those rainbow colors.. yellow, violet or red color. But is that food color from a plant or a manufacturer? While natural colorants made from foods like beets are available, any manufacturers opt for synthetic dyes which may have dangerous health consequences, particularly for children.

A consumer-watchdog group in Washington has asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of synthetic dyes in food being cancerous and can cause other serious illnesses. The group has identified these artificial colors to avoid such as Blue 1 and 2, Citrus Red 2, Green 3, Red 3 and 40, Yellow 5 and 6.

According to the group, the Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40 are the serious ones that contain compounds, including benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl, that research has linked with cancer.

Research has also associated food dyes with problems in children including allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability and aggressiveness. A U.S. study published in Science found that children who scored high on a scale measuring hyperactivity had consumed a food-dye blend. They performed worse on tests that measured their ability to recall images than when they drank a placebo. 

A 2007 British study found that children who consumed a mixture of common synthetic dyes displayed hyperactive behavior within an hour of consumption. (These children had not been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.) The results, published in The Lancet, prompted Britain’s Food Standards Agency to encourage manufacturers to find alternatives to food dyes. Last year, the European Parliament’s mandate that foods and beverages containing food dyes must be labeled as such went into effect for the entire European Union.

One study in Columbia University found that dyes promote hyperactive behavior in already hyperactive children. But the real apprehension of doctors about food dyes is on nutrition causing calories and fats to spike. 

If you’re concern about your future health and your children, watch out for dangerous synthetic dyes. If you can opt for organic one, go for it. But be aware that foods labeled “made with organic ingredients” may still contain synthetic dyes. 

On the other hand, some ingredients list beet, carotenes, annatto, capsanthin (a paprikaextract), are natural colorants that are considered safe. 

The terms “artificial color,” “artificial color added” or “color added” also indicate that nature-derived pigments were used since synthetic dyes must be listed by their names. (Milton Stokes’ “Live or Let Dye”)



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