It’s been about five years since we read that some of the major U. S. companies would be removing artificial food dyes from their food products. There has been some progress, but in some cases nothing was done. The fact is that Big Food companies prefer to use artificial dyes for several reasons. They’re less expensive and more stable, and they make it easier to achieve just the right color.
Do artificial food dyes have any bearing upon health and wellness? Studies have indicated that they do. In Europe, any food product using the dyes Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 must carry a label with the warning “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” But in the US, where it’s common to find them in food, the FDA reviewed the European regulatory research and didn’t find sufficient evidence to require a warning label.
What You Need To Know
Foods made with artificial dyes are often the same ones that offer minimal nutrition and unhealthy amounts of sugar. Bright colors may be your first clue that it’s time to check the ingredients before you buy them for your children. That advice even applies to products we automatically assume are healthy. Notice that fruit drink highlighting its vitamin C content. How much juice does it really contain? You may find that it’s full of high-fructose corn syrup and the bright orange you see is actually artificially-colored.
One good example is frozen yogurt. We’ve been fooled by advertising into believing that frozen yogurt is healthier than ice cream. But you’ll notice that the sugar content is very high, and certain flavors may contain artificial colors like Red 40 and Blue 1.
Reading The Ingredients Is Just The Beginning
Obviously, the food companies are in business to make money. They’re going to make whatever sells. It’s important to educate yourself and your family to know the difference between processed foods and those that have real nutritional value. Our children’s book “The Adventures of Veggieman :Food Fight” is a great tool for helping to improve understanding of how important real foods are to the quality of children’s daily life and long-term health and well-being.
Just because the FDA tells us not to worry about artificial colors, there’s no reason not be diligent when choosing what to purchase. Research, read and educate yourself, and of course shop and buy wisely.