Colored Foods Are Great!  Coloring Your Food?  

NOT so Great.


A healthy diet should consist of beautifully, rich colored foods, but these foods should be colored by nature!  Foods naturally rich in color, such as green spinach, blueberries, eggplant, bell peppers, beets, squash, and so many other fruits and vegetables are both healthy and delicious!  However, artificial food dyes responsible for the appealing colors of so many of our beverages, foods, and even vitamins and medications in the United States today, should be or approached with knowledge and caution!

These artificial food dyes, according to the The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), may be linked to numerous forms of cancer, allergies, and hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in children. The CSPI has determined that food manufacturers in the U.S. pour about 15 million pounds per year of artificial food dyes into our food.  Sadly, this is acceptable under U.S. regulations.  Conversely, as of July 2010, most foods in the European Union that contain artificial food dyes also contain warning labels.  The British government has actually asked food manufacturers to remove most artificial colors from their foods all together!

The dyes appear in bright colored candies, sports drinks, baked goods, cereals, some brands of pickles, smoked salmon, salad dressings, and even our vitamins and medications.  Go through your fridge and pantry and grab a handful of labels, and see how many of these dyes are in your kitchen?  What about your vitamins?  Your kids vitamins, especially.  Check your kids snacks.  Odds are, the dyes are in most of them.

This is a controversial subject, and there are many conflicting opinions about the safety of artificial food dyes.  Food dyes are chemical substances developed to enhance the appearance of food.  Color has been added to food for centuries, but the first artificial food colorings were created in 1856 from coal tar.  Today, the food dyes are petroleum products.  Of the hundreds of dyes that have been developed, a majority of them have since been found to be toxic.  There are only a handful remaining that are still used in food.  That should tell you something!  Food manufacturers often prefer the artificial dyes over natural food colorings, such as beta carotene and beet extract, because they produce more vibrant colors.

    In CSPI’s summary of studies in food dyes, it is evident that some of the most frequently used dyes may be linked to numerous forms of cancer.  CSPI reported, “The three most widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens…Another dye, Red 3, has been acknowledged for years by the Food and Drug Administration to be a carcinogen, yet is still in the food supply.”

     In their 58 page report, “Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks,” CSPI revealed that nine of the food dyes which are approved for use and being used in the United States are linked to health issues ranging from cancer and hyperactivity to allergic-like reactions, and these results were from studies conducted by the chemical industry itself!

To help yourself stay focused on eliminating these “dyed foods” from your daily diet, concentrate on the reason the dyes are added in the first place!  The dyes are added in order to change the visual appeal of foods that, otherwise, would be off-colored, and off-putting. Yuck.  Mind games.


     The research on toxic food dyes is plentiful.  The solution to the problem is very simple.  EAT CLEAN.  Your diet should consist of vibrantly colored foods fresh from NATURE.  These are the foods you need in your diet.  Man made, processed, chemistry lab created “foods” are not natural to your body and are not healthy to your body.  Just stick to whole, fresh foods and avoid processed foods with dyes, additives, preservatives and chemicals.

 Know better….do better…..make healthier choices.  Your mind and body will thank you!   

  The following is a list of some common dyes found in foods, beverages, cosmetics, pet food, and/or vitamins and medications:

  • Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue) - Found in baked goods, beverages, desert powders, candies, cereal, drugs and other products, unpublished studies suggest that Blue 1 caused kidney tumors in mice.

  • Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine) - Found in colored beverages, candies, pet food and other food and drugs, this Blue 2 causes statistically significant incidence of tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats.

  • Citrus Red #2 - Found in the skins of Florida oranges, this dye is toxic to rodents at modest levels and caused tumors of the urinary bladder and possibly other organs.

  • Green #3 (Fast Green) - Found in drugs, personal care products, cosmetic products (except in eye related products), candies, beverages, ice cream, sorbet, ingested drugs, lipsticks, and externally applied cosmetics, this dye caused significant increases in bladder and testes tumors in male rats.

  • Red #3 (Erythrosine) - Found in sausage casings, oral medication, maraschino cherries, baked goods, and candies, this was recognized in 1990 by the FDA as a thyroid carcinogen in animals and is banned in cosmetics and externally applied drugs.

  • Red #40 (Allura Red) - Found in beverages, bakery goods, dessert powders, candies, cereals, foods, drugs, and cosmetics, this is the most commonly used and consumed dye. It may accelerate the appearance of immune system tumors in mice. It causes hypersensitivity (allergy-like) reactions in some consumers and might trigger hyperactivity in children.

  • Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) - Found in pet foods, numerous bakery goods, beverages, dessert powders, candies, cereals, gelatin desserts, and many other foods, as well as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

  • Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow) - Found in color bakery goods, cereals, beverages, dessert powders, candies, gelatin deserts, sausage, cosmetics, and drugs, this dye has been found to cause adrenal tumors in animals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions.