Should You Avoid Food Colours & Dyes?

January 19, 2021

Despite the growing trend of healthier and safer food products being introduced into the marketplace, you might be surprised to learn that the consumption of artificial food colours, has been increasing over the years, especially among packaged products marketed to children.


Food colours and dyes have been around since the mid-1800’s and were originally created from coal tar – today, they are typically made from petroleum. (yum!)


Many food manufacturers choose to use artificial dyes vs. natural ones because they create more radiant hues, whereas natural food colours tend to create more of a pastel look.


Artificial food colours are used by food manufacturers in a variety of products, including sweets, maraschino cherries, cereal, baked goods, sports drinks, pickles (yes, pickles!), smoked salmon (think pink), and even medications.


The safety of artificial food colours has been very controversial among consumers for some time now, despite several regulatory agencies stating that artificial food colours do not pose significant health risks and are therefore safe to use.


One reason behind the controversy, which has resulted in conflicting opinions regarding their safety, is that some countries have deemed artificial food colours to be safe while some countries have banned them from human consumption.


There have been claims that artificial food colours cause serious side effects in some people, including cancer, allergies, and hyperactivity in children. [1234]


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The following colours are approved by the FDA for use in food:

Wondering if the food products you consume contain artificial food colouring?


Read the ingredient labels on the packaging – any artificial food colouring that has been added is required to be listed on food packaging.


Keep in mind that there is no nutritional benefit to using artificial food colouring – not even if it makes it “look” healthier because it looks more fruity!


Should you avoid food colouring and food dyes?


On the whole, food dyes are likely not dangerous for most people, but some are more sensitive to them than others – and some children should be especially mindful of their consumption.


Taking steps to avoid processed foods that contain dyes is a good idea for most everyone, and can improve your overall health.





Healthline: Food Dyes – Harmless or Harmful?


* Other relevant studies linked in [1234]