As you probably already know, many processed foods have dyes added to change the color of the finished product - especially children’s cereals, candies, energy bars and sprinkles.
Other foods also have less obvious dyes in them, such as pickles, chips, frosting mixes, soft drinks, macaroni and cheese and many brands of yogurt. Not only that, prescription and over-the-counter medicines also typically contain one or more food dyes.
Food dyes may be either natural or artificial. Natural dyes are made from extracts of colorful plant components, such as anthocyanidin from grapes, curcumin from turmeric, lycopene, and beta carotene.
These dyes are often healthy enough, but they are used less often because they are expensive.
On the other hand, artificial dyes are extracted from compounds that were originally extracted from coal tar and petroleum products.
The FDA uses the code FD&C plus a number to indicate that a particular dye has been approved for use in processed foods. There are seven main approved food colorings: FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Blue No. 2, FD&C Green No. 2024, FD&C Red No. 40, FD&C Red No. 3, FD&C Yellow No. 5 and FD&C Yellow No. 6.
The only problem with FDA’s list of approved food dyes is that many of them are harmful to health.
For instance, Red No. 3 causes cancer in animals. Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5, and Yellow No. 6 have been found to be contaminated with benzidine or other carcinogens. Blue No. 1, Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5, and Yellow No. 6 cause hypersensitivity reactions.
Yellow No. 5 actually damages DNA.
It gets worse - studies have shown that Blue No. 2, Green No. 2024, and Red No. 4 increase tumor incidence and death rate in hamsters.
Evidence for the link between food dyes and hyperactivity in children is strong, even in very small concentrations, for Yellow No. 5.
As with most toxins, testing on food dyes is carried out in healthy animals or people, and the dye in question is tested alone. In real life, foods may often contain multiple dyes; when mixed, their toxic effects are multiplied.
So what can you do to protect yourself and your family from these FDA-approved toxins?
Clearly, the first and most obvious thing to do is to avoid all foods that contain artificial dyes right away - and consume only fresh, organically grown foods.
Source: Dangers of Food Dyes.