Food dyes are so prevalent these days, with half of the foods marketed for kids containing them. Currently the FDA approves of 9 different food dyes, 3 of which are not allowed for use in the European Union.
FDA approved food dyes
- FD&C Blue No. 1
- FD&C Blue No. 2
- FD&C Green No. 3 (Not approved for use in the EU)
- Orange B (Not approved for use in the EU)
- Citrus Red No. 2 (Not approved for use in the EU)
- FD&C Red No. 3
- FD&C Red No. 40
- FD&C Yellow No. 5
- FD&C Yellow No. 6
Sometimes you will see the word “lake” used on food labels. Lake dyes are dry non-soluble forms of the above food dyes.
Dangers of artificial food dyes
There are mountains of research showing the dangers. They have been connected to behavioral changes, cancers, hives, asthma, and hyperactivity. Research shows they are carcinogenic as well as genotoxic.
If you have a hyperactive child, try cutting out artificial food dyes and see how it affects them. Try cutting them out for yourself to see how they affect you as well. I would love to hear the results from your experiements.
Brightly colored chips, desserts and candies are a given for artificial food dyes. However, there are other foods on the market that contain food dyes that are not so obvious such as:
- orange peels
- salad dressings
- chewing gum
How to avoid them
Always read labels! This is the number one way to avoid most things in your food.
Eating healthy whole foods will also make a big difference. You can still find dyes in healthy foods, but they are not as common as they are with processed foods.
Make your own food from scratch. If you are making your food, then you know what is and is not in it.
While colors are pretty and enticing remember they come at a cost to your health.
Natural food dye alternatives
- beet juice
- pomegranate juice
- carrot juice
- matcha powder
- any purple colorant + baking soda
- red cabbage juice
- purple cabbage
- purple sweet potatoes
- cocoa powder
- activated charcoal