- Food and Cooking
5 Dangers of Food Dye
Food dye consumption has increased by 500% the last 50 years according to the National Institutes of Health. The food dye topic has been marred by controversies with all manner of conflicting opinions regarding their safety getting thrown around. And the growing fear of processed foods as made dyes even more popular.
Popsicles, yogurt, drinks, meats, fruits, candies and more contain food dyes as ingredients including the famous Yellow #5, Blue #1 and Red #40. Apparently, it’s hard to go a day without the exposure to artificial food colors. Inarguably, adding color to the food makes it more appealing and desirable, and the food industry has banked on that fact.
But why use synthetic food colorings while we can use the natural ones that such as chlorophyll and turmeric that have been in use for many years? According to the America Chemical Society, the cost is the issue. It would cost a lot more to gather and process materials used in making natural colorings compared synthetic dyes.
And although numerous safety concerns have been raised regarding the dyes, the U.S Food and Drug Administration maintains that the food dyes currently in use in the US meet the strict safety requirements. But studies have proven that food dyes carry profound health risks. Artificial food dyes have been linked to certain cancer types, hyperactivity, and ADHD. In this post, we'll take a closer look at food dyes and the five health dangers they pose!
They Are Carcinogenic
A report by the Center for Science in Public Interest reveals that in most studies, the artificial food colorings have caused DNA damage or genotoxicity than they were found to be safe. However, all these studies involved rats and mice and bladder which were diagnosed with tumors and other cancer types after that. Even though no humans have been involved in the trials, the impact on lab animals is proof enough of what awaits the humans.
Benzene is a known carcinogen that's an ingredient in Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. Despite there being lots of proof linking benzene to cancer, the Center for Disease and Control maintains there's very little information regarding this compound. Most countries have banned the food dyes containing benzene, but such dyes are used freely in the food processing in the US.
Increased ADHD in Children
Studies on the effect of artificial food colors on the behavior of children have been studied for over 35 years. The National Institutes of Health asserts that artificial food colors may affect the behavior of the children although they may not be the primary cause of ADHD per see. Synthetic food dyes affect the behavior of children regardless of whether they have ADHD or not.
A UK study concluded that synthetic food colors and in particular the most common preservative, sodium benzoate causes increased hyperactivity in children. Following that, the European Union passed a law that requires manufacturers to include on their labels that the foods contain one of the six dyes allowed by the FDA. The label would indicate clearly that the food may hurt the attention and activity of children.
An analysis of several studies concludes that artificial food dyes may cause hyperactive behavior in children. While most of the studies included a small group of people, it wouldn't be ideal to risk the health of the kids by taking chances that results thus far may be wrong.
Synthetic Food Dyes Are Made from Petroleum
Initially, artificial food colors were made from coal tar. After numerous complaints got raised, they switched to the use of petroleum as the product ingredient. People from all quarters have managed to convince the masses that these food dyes are manufactured in such a way there are no longer traces of petroleum in the final product.
As it is, probably petroleum may be the most unpleasant thing you've ever thought of ingesting. But since we've turned to inorganic unprocessed foods, then avoiding these dyes may be challenging. In fact, most of the sodas, sports drinks and powdered mixes on the market today are made from petroleum-derived products.
Elevate Estrogen to Dangerous Levels
Estrogen is a primary sex hormone in women and secondary in men. Sunset Yellow, popularly known as yellow 6 and tartrazine (yellow 5) have similar effects with the natural estrogen in the human body. But isn’t estrogen a good thing?
Well, excessive estrogen is associated with breast cancer in women, according to NIH. Besides, it has a negative effect on men as it reduces reduce sex drive among other undesirable negative impacts.
Causes Severe Allergies
For the sensitive individuals, food dyes will result in allergic reactions when they consume products containing synthetic food dyes such as Blue 1, Yellow 6, Yellow 5 and Red 40. According to a review by the National Institutes of health, all the US-approved food dyes raise varying degrees of health concerns.
Most of the artificial food dyes cause hypersensitivity reactions. Further, people who are allergic to aspirin are highly likely to be allergic to Yellow 5. Besides, for the people with chronic hives or swelling, 52 percent we found to be allergic to artificial food dyes.
Food Dyes Allowed for Use Are Inadequately Tested
Even with shocking reveals from the numerous studies that food dyes pose multiple risks to the human health, the food industry continues to dump millions and millions of pounds of dyes into the market. And the worst part is that most of the dyes have not been thoroughly studied to ascertain their safety.
Some studies reveal that some of the dyes have caused cancer in lab animals that include brain cancer, colon cancer, and testicular cancer. With the uncertainty surrounding their use, they pose enormous risks, especially among children.
*Disclaimer: This article provides general information about medicine, health, and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this article, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.
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