Artificial food dyes are everywhere. These dyes, which used to be derived from coal tar and are now produced from petroleum, are added to foods to make them look more appealing and “kid-friendly.” More than 15 million pounds of artificial food coloring are added to foods each year by companies.
Artificial food dyes do not add any nutrition, and are potentially harmful; these dyes have been linked with behavioral changes in irritability, restlessness, and sleep disturbance. The Center for Science in the Public Interest also released a report on artificial food coloring’s links to hyperactivity in children, cancer, and other health problems. In fact, in the EU, foods with artificial food coloring come with a warning label that reads:
Consumption may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.
Click to the next page to read about how to avoid artificial food coloring.
Because these artificial dyes don’t have any nutritional value and are mostly found in highly processed foods, it’s best to avoid them. However, food dyes can also be found in unexpected foods, such as fresh oranges, meats, yogurts, canned fruits, and so forth.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Artificial food coloring can be hard to avoid, so here are some pointers to keep you safe from their adverse effects:
- Buy organic whenever you can and read the labels. Dyes can be hidden in meats, produce, salad dressing, and so forth.
- Opt for whole foods. A head of cauliflower or broccoli is less likely to have artificial food dyes compared to pre-packaged foods.
- Use natural food coloring. You can always use natural alternatives like beet juice, paprika, and spinach powder to make your meals look more appealing.
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