Remember when you were young and you would dig your hands into a big bag of Doritos or Cheetos and your fingers would come out all yellow and orange? What about how you would suck on Jaw Breakers or Gob Smackers only to find your mouth and tongue all blue and green? Those were the days. Back when Fraggle Rock and Pound Puppies were still on the air, you had plastic streamers on your handles bars, and you thought hypercolor t-shirts were the best thing ever invented. Some things may have changed but unfortunately if you still dig your hand into a bag or chips or suck on some candy, you are still going to get color all over you. Although your childhood may have been a time for some great memories, it turns out you were back then, and still are now, being exposed to unhealthy food colorings, dyes and additives that could be the reason for some of your current and future health concerns. Want to know what's even scarier?... they now put them in foods you would never expect.
What if I told you that there were chemicals in the food that you ate as a child, but more importantly, the food you are eating now, that are known carcinogens? Meaning they have been proven to cause cancer. What about if I told you a lot of these chemicals were banned in many countries across Europe and the rest of the world, but still allowed in your food here? It would make you pretty angry right? Well it turns out thats exactly what is happening...
Maybe thats no big news to you, as people has suspected food dyes and colorings as one of the factors behind children's developmental and learning disabilities for decades, and you avoid packaged foods and junk foods so don't really worry too much about it. Well you had better listen up, because food colorings and dyes are now being included in a wide variety of other products from oranges, to peas, and even your toothpaste.
Let's take a look at some of the food colorings thats are currently being used in the market place here in the United States, their side effects, and in what food items and products you can likely find them
Also known as Brilliant Blue FCF. Used in various candy, beverages, dairy products and even some baked goods. It is suspected to cause cancer, and has also been linked to learning and behavioral problems. It has been banned in most European countries and is made from coal tar. Mmmmm yummy.
Also found in candy, beverages, dog food, and is also added to tablets and capsules... yes even your multivitamins and over the counter cold and flu tables. It is also known as "Indigotine" and studies have shown that it's ingestion by mice have cause brain tumors.
Citrus Red #2
Used for dying skins of oranges and has been shown to cause various cancers in animals.
Used to color fruit, yes those prepackaged fruit cups that contain red fruits such as cherries can contain food coloring, it is also used in salmon, more candy and baked goods. Feeling hungry? Perhaps you would like to eat a printer cartridge? No? Why not? Thats one of the other uses of red #3. It has also been shown to cause chromosome damage and thyroid tumors.
Has been shown to cause a large variety of health related issues, but is well known for it's impact on children. In fact most nutritionists recommend that if you have a child with hyperactivity or learning and development issues, that if you remove Red #40 from their diet, you will see a vast improvement almost immediately. It can be found in candy, beverages, sauces and condiments, medications and even cosmetics. It is banned in Germany, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Sweden.
Found in baked goods, candy, and even sausages. It has been shown to cause kidney and adrenal gland tumors. Rethinking that boxed yellow cake mix or cupcake now huh?
Also known as Tartrazine, has been banned in Norway. This is what makes your hands all yellow after having one too many handfuls of Dorittos. It is also found in cakes, custards, soups, chewing gum, and a large list of other products, including mustard and I have just found it in the dijon I used everyday to make my vinaigrette. Not happy. It has been shown to trigger allergies such as asthma, hives and hyperactivity. More serious side effects include lymphomas and thyroid tumors.
Has one of the longest list of side effects out of all the colorings including kidney tumors, chromosome damage and various allergies. It can be found under ingredient labels as Sunset Yellow FCF and can be found in cookies, cake mix, soups, jellies, and also in DayQuil.
Otherwise known as Fast Green FCF, has been shown to cause bladder tumors. It is used in jellies and sauces, but most shockingly it is used in canned peas and vegetables.
Pretty long list huh. Unfortunately that is just a few of them, and even worse is that they are still being used in the foods we eat everyday. Think the only way to avoid eating these nasties is to stop eating packaged foods? Well it's a good start, but food colorings and dyes can also appear in products you would never think to look in. Most toothpastes contain Blue #1 but don't bother looking at the actual tube as it only show's you the "active" ingredients. Wonder why you salmon is such a deep red? Yep, they dye that also to make it look more appealing. Even your "healthy" granola and breakfast cereals contain food dyes and colorings.
Food manufacturers have caught onto the fact that consumers are becoming more educated and savvy when it comes to avoiding foods with food colorings, so they have started to code them. If you flip over to the ingredient list on your packaged food or muscle building supplement...yes they even include them in your healthy protein powers, bars and various other supplements... you might see some codes like E107, E127, E133, the lost goes on. These are just "additive codes" for some the food colorings discussed above, so look them up before you buy the product.
How can you avoid consuming these horrible additives? Well firstly cut out all prepackaged and processed, refined foods, this is where you will find the majority of the nasty critters. Look at the ingredient labels of everything you buy! Look at your muscle building and fat loss supplements, sauces and condiments, breads and canned fruits. Try and buy organic items where possible which is a sure sign you wont find any artificial colors or dyes in the product. And lastly, try and avoid all candy and junk foods as much as possible, sure those orange fingers may have been fun to chase your friends around with in the playground, but knowing that you aren't filling your body with artificial chemicals is cooler.