Take a walk through any typical American grocery store and you will see thousands of products packed with synthetic food dyes. These dyes certainly do a lot to make products visually appealing but the impact they have on our health is anything but pretty.
In their publication, Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks, Dr. Sarah Kobylewski and Dr. Michael F. Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), provide fascinating research on numerous problems associated with the consumption of synthetic food dyes. They state, “as this report discusses, studies of the nine dyes currently approved by the FDA suggest, if not prove, that most of the dyes cause health problems….”
There are so many questions that come to mind when reading this study. For instance, if the FDA considers these products safe, then why has the British government banned the use of most synthetic food dyes? And, is saving a few bucks by using synthetic dyes over natural food coloring really worth damaging the health of millions of Americans?
If you are not convinced yet, following are five great reasons to avoid synthetic food dyes:
1. Some dyes have been linked to cancer and contain contaminants. According to CSPI, “certain of those contaminants, such as 4-aminobiphenyl, 4-aminoazobenzene, and benzidine, are carcinogens, but are supposed to be present at safely negligible levels in the dyes.”
2. Synthetic food dyes can negatively impact behavior and interfere with learning. Research shows that the consumption of these dyes is linked to ADHD and hyperactivity in children.
3. Many synthetic food dyes are made from petroleum. Enough said.
4. According to CSPI, a number of food dyes can cause serious allergic reactions in some people. Allergic reactions may come in the form of rashes, skin irritation, or worse.
5. Many parents have reported that their children have sensitivities to food dyes, which may result in headaches, irritability and behavioral problems.
Why risk it? Do yourself a favor and select products that use natural food colorings like beetroot red. Wouldn’t you rather eat coloring extracted from plant sources over chemical coloring anyway? I sure would!