If you shop at any grocery store, you will come across multitudes of products containing artificial food dyes. I’m sure you know just what I’m talking about – artificial colors that make everything bright and beautiful?
Many of the foods containing dyes are the kinds eaten by children. Manufacturers market items to be brightly colored, and they are engineered to taste good in order to appeal to a child’s sense of aesthetic.
What’s so bad about artificial food dyes?
For many years, consumer advocacy groups have attempted to ban these substances. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of these dyes, or at least provide labeling about them on packaging. Many of which are already being phased out in Europe. But those bans didn’t happen.
Then in June of 2010, CSPI uncovered important new research showing that commonly used food dyes Yellow 5, Red 40, and six others, are linked to hyperactivity, impulsivity, learning difficulties, ADHD, and cancer.
Annually, the food industry uses 15 million pounds of synthetic food dyes in products sold to consumers. You can read the report put out by CSPI Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks (pdf). It shows the health risks from the consumption of these substances. The results? The most commonly used dyes – Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6 - were found to contain carcinogenic compounds. Those causing serious allergic reactions include dyes Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6, and Blue 1, and still others are responsible for inducing hyperactivity in children.
Artificial food dyes are everywhere
So you would think that because of all these findings, the use of dyes would be decreasing – but it’s not. Since 1955, our nation has experienced a five-fold increase in the per capita consumption of these toxins. Indeed. If you look at the history of the grocery store – which began back in the 1920s, mom-and-pop businesses carried about 700 items. Today, the myriad of products available in modern grocery stories surpasses 30,000.
Let’s face it, food dyes don’t add nutritional value to foods. They only provide color. So why are they still there?
The answer: profit
There are also many additives in foods, known as excitotoxins, which are engineered to affect the taste of the food. Read more about this subject on AromaTherapy4U with supporting information from Dr. Russell L. Blaylock and Dr. Colleen Huber – both medical doctors. Another medical professional who has researched these dangerous toxins is George E. Shambaugh, Jr. M.D. who explains how hidden taste enhancers included in foods actually over-excite neurons in the brain, overworking them and eventually killing them. Various animal tests done with these substances have repeatedly confirmed these findings. Why would you allow your child to eat them? For more information about excitotoxins, read this post.
Where you’ll find artificial food dyes
Foods you can find these substances in are wide and vast, and would include a majority of processed foods, unless otherwise labeled. Your best bet is to avoid processed foods and eat only whole, real foods. Some organic processed foods do contain these substances, but the health benefits of any processed food, organic or not, should always be questioned before consumption. Here is a brief list of ingredients that are excitotoxins which are found in many processed foods and should be avoided:
- Malt extract
- Natural pork flavoring
- Citric acid
- Malt flavoring
- Bouillon and Broth
- Natural chicken flavoring
- Soy protein isolate
- Natural beef flavoring
- Soy sauce
- Barley malt
- Soy sauce extract
- Whey protein concentrate
- Soy protein
- Whey protein
- Soy protein concentrate
- Whey protein isolate
- Protease enzymes
- Anything protein fortified
- Flavors(s) & Flavoring(s)
- Anything enzyme modified
- Anything fermented
- Natural flavor(s)
- Enzymes anything
- Seasonings (the word “seasonings”)
Always be aware of anything that reads “hydrolyzed” in an ingredient list. These substances are more often than not full of excitotoxins or glutamates – which is the group of substances to which Monosodium Glutamate or MSG belongs.
Hopefully you are not still purchasing packaged foods. But if you are, check your labels! Don’t just assume something you buy that is packaged, boxed, or canned is good for you to eat because the manufacturer says it is…it may in fact be deadly!
The best solution for this problem, of course, is to STOP buying processed and packaged foods. Buy real, whole foods that are not advertised or marketed. Support your local food system, and pay attention to food growers and farmers who use sustainable methods in their practices.
Packaged and processed foods seem cheaper and more convenient, but the cost to human health and the environment is not cheap. Read Is Cheap Food Really Cheap? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Food
For more information about this important subject on the Food Dyes and Children’s Behavior web site.
Read this startling book by one of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject, Dr. Russell L. Blaylock’s Excitotoxins, The Taste that Kills.
Take action! Sign the petition to ban the FDA from allowing food dyes in consumer products – go to Change.org. and make your voice heard!