Steer clear of artificial dyes

Steer clear of artificial dyes

Artificial dyes may make foods look more appealing, but the fake coloring could be harming a person’s health.

The dyes have been linked to cancer and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to Healthy Child Health World, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization focused on protecting children from harmful chemicals.

In addition, a study from the Center for Science in the Public Interest examined nine common food dyes made from coal tar and petroleum. The researchers discovered that three of these common dyes were linked to serious health issues.

They include:

Red 40 – The most-widely used dye in foods can be found in baked goods, fruit snacks and breakfast cereals. It may cause tumors in the immune system and allergic reactions.

Yellow 5 – A dye which may trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral effects. It is commonly used in potato chips, jams, candy, drinks pet food, shampoo and cosmetic products.

Yellow 6 – It can cause tumors and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Some common places to find the artificial color is American cheese, macaroni and cheese, candy and carbonated beverages.

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already banned Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 from all food because of the side effects from artificial coloring. Earlier this year, Kraft Foods announced plans to remove artificial yellow dyes from all macaroni and cheese products by January 2016.

Not all doctors believe food coloring causes a significant health risk.

“Food coloring is used in just about everything we eat and has been used for so many years,” says Dr. Rochelle Hawkins, a family medicine physician at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “More research need to be conducted on it.”

Either way, medical experts view good nutrition as central to avoiding health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

“You put the wrong things in your body, and you’ll get a bad outcome,” Dr. Hawkins says.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.