Whenever I read a nutrition label that includes artificial food dyes my first reaction is, “Who do they think they are fooling?” The addition of lab made colors is an old technique used by food companies to make their product more appealing in the cheapest way possible, regardless of their safety record.
A friend of mine was shocked recently when I pointed out the truth about the ingredient list of colors found on a box of a popular Mac and Cheese, one which is a staple in her house for her very picky toddler. Her first words were, “Why didn’t I know about this? I’ve been feeding my child a box of chemicals daily. This is just horrible!”
I believe in and support the idea of eating foods as they were made by nature. When an apple is not the perfect tint of red it doesn’t mean it won’t taste good. Because we “eat with our eyes” the industry has found it very profitable to add artificial enhancers to their products to boost sales.
So why should we avoid them? Because synthetic coloring additives have been proven unsafe in multiple ways as they contribute to conditions ranging from ADHD to carcinogenic toxic illnesses. Some fake colors have been completely banned in the US, but, several are still FDA approved even though other countries have prohibited them. These lab-made food dyes include Blue #1, Blue #2, Green #3, Red #3, Red #40, Yellow #5 and #6. Those last two even come with warning labels in some countries: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” When you see a color and a number in an ingredient list, you can be assured they are made from derivatives of coal tar and petroleum.
The good news is that we can avoid them completely by simply reading ingredient labels. Eating “clean” by eliminating artificial dyes is not as hard as you may think. But it does require you to be informed. Those dyes are not only in bright colored sodas or candy, they are also found in cake batter, yogurts, breakfast cereals, and just about everywhere. Don’t you be fooled!
This is something we pay close attention to when evaluating products and recipes for our Kid Kritics Seal of Approval. We are happy to see that many companies are moving to using herbs, spices and natural ingredients such as paprika, annatto and beta carotene to enhance color in their products instead of dyes.
Take a look at this wonderful Kid Kritics Approved recipe full of natural colors! It has lots of eye appeal while keeping true to a “clean eating” way of life without any artificial dyes: Colorful and Crunchy Pasta with Vegetables
… for the health of your family,