Artificial food dyes are widely used and appear in many everyday foods, beverages, supplements, medications, and cosmetics.
Synthetic dyes are derived from petroleum and out of the hundreds that exist, many of these have actually been banned by governments due to their toxicity. The most commonly used dyes are Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40 which all contain compounds that research has linked with cancer.
Research has also linked certain food dyes to hyperactivity, irritability, attention disorders and allergies in children.
In 2010 the British government placed regulations on the number of dyes food manufacturers are allowed to use, and foods within the European Union containing food dyes must be explicitly mentioned on labels. However, there are few regulations on the use of food dyes within the US.
Despite there being natural alternatives, the food industry often prefers artificial dyes as the results are much more vibrant. These vibrant colors make strawberry yogurts pink, sweets rainbow colored, cheese bright yellow and more shockingly can even be injected into the skins of fruits and vegetables to enhance their color.
It is best to avoid synthetic food dyes altogether, who wants to eat food with petrochemicals in them? Alternatively, dyes listed on labels such as beet, carotenes, annatto, capsanthin (a paprika extract) are all derived from natural sources. For use in home baking, it is simple to make your own plant-based natural food colorings using chlorella, green spirulina, and spinach for green, beetroot, acai and pitaya powder for pink/purple, saffron and turmeric for red/orange and blue spirulina for aqua green
There is also an increasing number of natural food colorings available in supermarkets:
Organic Larder here in the UAE have introduced food colorants containing beetroot powder, turmeric, and nettle powder or you can order online also containing beetroot powder, turmeric, and spirulina fromhttps:http//ae.iherb.com
It can be difficult to completely eradicate artificial food dyes from your diet, as they are so prevalent in today’s food industry, however having an awareness of which ones to avoid altogether, is an excellent place to start. Look out for the following seven to avoid:
Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue)
Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine)
Green #3 (Fast Green)
Red #3 (Erythrosine)
Red #40 (Allura Red)
Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)
Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow)
If ice cream is bright blue, here’s looking at you Cotton Candy ice cream, then you know it has artificial colorants and may have an effect on your child’s mood or behavior.
Here’s a healthy homemade alternative recipe for the perfect “Cotton Candy” ice cream 🙂
2 cups frozen over-ripe banana pieces
½ cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp Blue spirulina (must be Blue, not green)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Mix well in a high powered blender or food processor (they’ll never know :))
Follow @realfoodbytwomoms for more awesome healthy alternatives your little ones will love!