The Food Colors We Are Dyeing For
Larry A. Law
Scientists at McMaster University in Canada
Reported in Nature Communications on December 20, 2022, scientists found that chronic consumption of the AR colorant caused intestinal inflammation in mice. "The dye directly disrupts gut barrier function and increases the production of serotonin, a hormone/neurotransmitter found in the gut, which subsequently alters gut microbiota composition, leading to increased susceptibility to colitis."
Nine Synthetic Food Dyes
The nine artificial food dyes approved by the FDA are:
1) Blue 1 used in confections, beverages, cereals, frozen dairy desserts, popsicles, frostings
2) Blue 2 used in baked goods, cereals, snack foods, ice cream, confections, yogurt
3) Green 3 used in cereal, ice cream, sherbet, drink mixers, baked goods
4) Orange B used only in hot dog or sausage casings
5) Citrus Red 2 used only to color orange peel
6) Red 3 used in confections, beverages, cereals, ice cream cones, dairy desserts, popsicles, frosting
7) Red 40 or Allura Red used in cereal, beverages, gelatins, puddings, dairy products, confections
8) Yellow 5 used in confections, cereals, snack foods, beverages, condiments, baked goods, yogurt
9) Yellow 6 used in cereals, snack foods, baked goods, gelatins, beverages, dessert powders, crackers, sauces
These nine synthetic colorings are required to be listed on food labels. These additives are classified as certified because of FDA labeling requirements. All other additives are considered exempt from certification. With the exception of carmine/cochineal extract, color additives exempt from certification can be listed collectively as "artificial colors," "artificial color added," "color added," or equally inclusive terms without naming each one. Because of allergic reactions in some people, carmine/cochineal extract is required to be listed by name on food labels.
Harmful Side Effects
The FDA believes that most children have no adverse side effects based on the totality of scientific evidence they give credence to. However, they admit that there is evidence that some children may be sensitive to these dyes. Hyperactivity, chromosomal damage and various tumors and cancers have been chronicled for decades. It pays consumers to read labels so they are aware of potentially harmful ingredients. However, we all need to realize that there are also clever ways to hide this information from the public. To circumvent these issues, eat real, whole food and avoid processed foods whenever possible. For other concerns about ways our food has been altered, see my book, There's An Elephant in the Room--Exposing Hidden Truths in the Science of Health.
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