How to Avoid Artificial Colors, Dyes and Sweeteners in Food

Various chemicals are added to processed food for a number of purposes. Some additives help preserve your food, improve the taste, appearance or texture, improve the color, provide artificial antioxidant properties and for many other purposes.

Many food additives, like artificial colors, can have major side effects particularly for children being associated with mood swings and hyperactivity. While some of the additives are derived from natural organic compounds such as sweeteners and vitamins, many are not used in natural ways nor at natural concentrations.

Most of the additives are chemical made from petroleum derivatives and acetone. In many cases the long term damage caused by these chemicals is simply unknown, especially when combined with other chemicals and medications.

People concerned about their health and diet want to avoid artificial colors, dyes, preservative and sweeteners in their food.

Consumers should be aware that even many natural fresh foods may be contaminated with chemicals eve though they appear free of contaminants.

Fortunately in most countries there are regulations which require that all the chemicals added to food be listed on the label. This article is designed to help you identify the more dangerous additives by their number codes and their health concerns.

It includes a summary chart of the chemicals and their health risks.

Many foods contain chemicals that are health risks. Learn how to avoid them
Many foods contain chemicals that are health risks. Learn how to avoid them | Source

Avoiding Artificial Food Additives - How to read the Labels

  • The best way to avoid artificial colors and chemicals is to eat whole foods, organic food, fresh foods from farmers markets like vegetables, fruit, meat and legumes and to prepare your own food at home.
  • Check all the colors, flavors, spices and other ingredients you use when cooking to ensure they don't contain any chemicals or additive you don't want.
  • Look for the various number codes or descriptions on the label such as Green #3, Red #40, Blue #1 or #2, Yellow #5 and #6 and Red #3 - all of which are artificial colors.
  • Avoid all processed foods when you can. Virtually all of these foods have many additives. The same applies to processed ingredients, many of which contain artificial colors, stabilizers and preservatives.
  • Look for foods made with natural colors like fruit juice, beet root extract, paprika, saffron, beta carotene, caramel color and turmeric.
  • Learn how to use natural colors, such as turmeric, as substitutes for the artificial ones.
  • Avoid flavored milks, yogurt, snack foods, candy and prepared desserts, and many drinks which are often a cocktail of chemicals.
  • Learn to identify the codes of the chemicals you want to avoid. If the codes don't appear in the table below, do some research to check them out.

Artificial Colors, Dyes, Preservatives, Sweeteners and other Additives to Avoid

Additive Number
Name of Food Additive
Hyper-activity
Asthma
Cancinogen
102 and E102
Tartrazine (food color)
H
A
C
104 and E104
Quinoline Yellow (food color)
H
A
C
107 and E107
Yellow 2G (food color)
H
A
C
110 and E110
Sunset Yellow (Yellow food color #6)
H
A
C
120 and E120
Carmines, Cochineal (food color)
H
A
-
122 and E122
Azorubine, Carmoisine (food color)
H
A
C
123 and E123
Amaranth (Red food color #2)
H
A
C
124 and E124
Ponceau, Brilliant Scarlet (food color)
H
A
C
127 and E127
Erythrosine (Red food color #2)
H
A
C
E128
Red 2G (Red food color)
H
A
C
129 and E129
Allura Red AC (food color)
H
A
C
E131
Patent Blue (food color)
H
A
C
132 and E132
Indigotine, Indigo Carmine (food color)
H
A
C
133 and E133
Brilliant Blue (food color)
H
A
C
142 and E142
Acid Brilliant Green, Green S, Food Green (food color)
H
A
-
143
Fast Green (food color)
-
A
-
150 and E150
Caramel (food color)
H
-
-
151 and E151
Activated Vegetable Carbons, Brilliant Black (food color)
H
A
C
154
Food Brown, Kipper Brown, Brown FK (food color)
H
A
C
155 and E155
Chocolate Brown HT, Brown HT (food color)
H
A
C
160b and E160b
Bixin, Norbixin, Annatto Extracts (yellow, red to brown natural colors)
H
A
-
E171
Titanium Dioxide, TiO2 (to give foods an opaque color)
?
?
?
E173
Aluminium (preservatives)
-
-
C
E180
Latol Rubine, Pigment Rubine (preservatives)
H
A
C
200 and
Potassium & Calcium Sorbates ,Sorbic Acid (preservatives)
H
A
-
E200-203
 
 
 
 
210 and E210
Benzoic Acid (preservatives)
H
A
-
211 and E211
Sodium Benzoate (preservatives)
H
A
C
212 and E212
Potassium Benzoate (preservatives)
-
A
-
213 and E213
Calcium Benzoate (preservatives)
-
A
-
E214
Ethyl Para Hydroxybenzonate (preservatives)
-
A
-
E215
Sodium Ethyl Para Hydroxybenzonate (preservatives)
-
A
-
216 and E216
Propyl P Hydroxybenzonate, Propylparaben (preservatives)
-
A
-
E217
Sodium Propyl P Hydroxybenzonate (preservatives)
-
A
-
220 and E220
Sulphur Dioxide also Sulfur dioxide (preservatives)
H
A
-
221 and E221
Sodium Sulfite or Sodium Sulphite (preservatives)
-
A
-
222
Sodium Bisulfite or Sodium Bisulphite (preservatives)
-
A
-
223 and E223
Sodium Metabisulfite or Sodium Metabisulphite (preservatives)
-
A
-
224 and E224
Potassium Metabisulphite or Potassium Metabisulfite (preservatives)
-
A
-
225 and E225
Potassium Sulfite or Potassium Sulphite (preservatives)
-
A
-
E226
Calcium Sulfite or Calcium Sulphite (preservatives)
-
A
-
E227
Calcium Hydrogen Sulphite or Calcium Hydrogen Sulfite (preservatives)
-
A
-
E228
Potassium Bisulfite, Potassium Hydrogen Sulfite or Potassium Bisulphite, Potassium Hydrogen Sulphite (preservatives)
H
A
-
E230
Diphenyl, Biphenyl (preservatives)
-
-
C
E231
Orthophenyl Phenol (preservatives)
-
-
C
E236
Formic Acid (preservative)
-
-
C
E239
Hexamine, Hexamethylene Tetramine (preservatives)
-
-
C
249 and E249
Potassium Nitrate (preservative)
-
A
C
250 and E250
Sodium Nitrite (preservative)
H
A
C
251 and E251
Sodium Nitrate (preservative)
H
-
C
252 and E252
Potassium Nitrate (preservative)
H
-
C
260 and E260
Acetic Acid, Glacial (preservatives)
-
A
-
280 to 283
Calcium or Potassium or Sodium Propionates, Propionic Acid (preservatives)
H
A
-
310 and E310
Propyl Gallate (Synthetic Antioxidant)
-
A
C
311 and E311
Octyl Gallate (Synthetic Antioxidant)
-
A
-
312 and E312
Dodecyl Gallate (Synthetic Antioxidant)
-
A
-
319 and E319
TBHQ, Tert Butylhydroquinone (Synthetic Antioxidants)
H
A
-
320 and E320
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) (Synthetic Antioxidants)
H
A
C
321 and E321
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) or Butylhydroxytoluene (Synthetic Antioxidants)
H
A
C
330 and E330
Citric Acid (NOT DANGEROUS if naturally occurring e330 & 330 citric acid, but other can contain other chemicals
-
-
-
407 and E407
Carrageenan (Thickening & Stabilizing Agent)
-
A
C
413 and E413
Tragacanth (thickener & Emulsifier)
-
A
-
414 and E414
Acacia Gum (Food Stabilizer)
-
A
-
416
Karaya Gum (Laxative, Food Thickener & Emulsifier)
-
A
-
421 and E421
Mannitol (Artificial Sweetener)
H
-
-
430
Polyxyethylene Stearate (Emulsifier)
-
-
C
431
Polyxyl Stearate (Emulsifier)
-
-
C
E432 � E435
Polyoxyethylene Sorbitan Monostearate (Emulsifiers Gelling Stabilisers Thickeners Agents)
-
-
C
433 � 436
Polysorbate (Emulsifiers)
-
-
C
441 and E441
Gelatine (Food Gelling Agent)
-
A
-
466
Sodium CarboxyMethyl Cellulose
-
-
C
507 and E507
Hydrochloric Acid (Hydrolyzing Enhancer & Gelatin Production)
-
-
C
518 and E518
Magnesium Sulphate (Tofu Coagulant)
-
-
C
536 and E536
Potassium Ferrocyanide (Anti Caking Agent)
-
A
-
553 and E553 and E553b
Talc (Anti Caking, Filling, Softener, Agent)
-
-
C
620 � 625
MSG Monosodium Glutamate, Glutamic Acid, all Glutamates (Flavour Enhancers)
H
A
C
627 and E627
Disodium Guanylate (Flavour Enhancers)
H
A
-
631 and E631
Disodium Inosinate 5 (Flavour Enhancers)
-
A
-
635 and E635
Disodium Ribonucleotides 5 (Flavour Enhancers)
-
A
-
903 and E903
Camauba Wax (used in Chewing Gums, Coating and Glazing Agents)
-
-
C
905 and 905 a,b,c
Paraffin and Vaseline, White Mineral Oil (Solvents, Coating and Glazing, Anti Foaming Agents, Lubricant in Chewing Gums)
-
-
C
924 and E924
Potassium Bromate (Agent used in Bleaching Flour)
-
-
C
925 and E925
Chlorine (Agent used in Bleaching Flour, Bread Enhancer and Stabiliser)
-
-
C
926
Chlorine Dioxide (Bleaching Flour and Preservative Agent)
-
-
C
928 and E928
Benzoyl Peroxide (Bleaching Flour and Bread enhancer Agent)
-
A
-
950 and E950
Potassium Acesulphame (Sweetener)
-
-
C
951
Aspartame (Sweetener)
H
A
-
952 and E952
Cyclamate and Cyclamic Acid (Sweeteners)
-
-
C
954 and E954
Saccharine (Sweetener)
-
-
C
1202 and E1202
Insoluble Polyvinylpyrrolidone Insoluble (Stabiliser and Clarifying Agent added to Wine, Beer, Pharmaceuticals)
-
-
C
1403
Bleached Starch (Thickener and Stabiliser)
-
A
-

© 2012 Dr. John Anderson

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Comments 1 comment

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

of course the simplest way is to make everything from scratch and never buy anything but fresh food. However, that is a bit impractical and even though I really work at it..sometimes it just doesn't work. Thanks for a great hub.

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