With Easter just passing, I thought it would be a great time to talk about food dyes and how to get your children to choose wisely. You know after you've had your fill of brightly colored marshmallow bunnies.
The truth of the matter is, I am no expert on food dyes. There has been so much said already, that my plan of attack was to find some of the best articles without the scare tactics and share them with my children.
Just the same as I had shared Jamie Oliver's Letterman "Beaver Anal Gland" comment with them (see below)
I also find it important to share with them artificial ingredients, food colorings and things that are unnatural in our food system. For us it has been the best approach. The same as we teach our children to not run out in the middle of traffic, we can teach them how to take care of their bodies and put good things into them that would otherwise cause them harm.
I'm not saying we're perfect parents here but again, without the knowledge of something that harms our bodies, we just continue down the path of "what I don't know, can't hurt me". We all know that's not true!
This is an excerpt from Dr. Mercola's article Are You or Your Family Eating Toxic Food Dyes, that I shared with my children. I just let them do the reading.
Food dyes are one of the most widely used and dangerous additives. While the European Union has recently placed regulations on labeling food dyes to inform consumers of the health risks, the United States has no such requirement.
Here are some of the most common food dyes used today, according to the Food Freedom Network:
- Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue)
An unpublished study suggested the possibility that Blue 1 caused kidney tumors in mice. What it's in: Baked goods, beverages, desert powders, candies, cereal, drugs, and other products.
- Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine)
Causes a statistically significant incidence of tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats. What it's in: Colored beverages, candies, pet food, & other food and drugs.
- Citrus Red #2
It's toxic to rodents at modest levels and caused tumors of the urinary bladder and possibly other organs. What it's in: Skins of Florida oranges.
- Green #3 (Fast Green)
Caused significant increases in bladder and testes tumors in male rats. What it's in: Drugs, personal care products, cosmetic products except in eye area, candies, beverages, ice cream, sorbet; ingested drugs, lipsticks, and externally applied cosmetics.
- Red #3 (Erythrosine)
Recognized in 1990 by the FDA as a thyroid carcinogen in animals and is banned in cosmetics and externally applied drugs. What it's in: Sausage casings, oral medication, maraschino cherries, baked goods, candies.
- Red #40 (Allura Red)
This is the most-widely used and consumed dye. It may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice. It also causes hypersensitivity (allergy-like) reactions in some consumers and might trigger hyperactivity in children. What it's in: Beverages, bakery goods, dessert powders, candies, cereals, foods, drugs, and cosmetics.
- Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)
Yellow 5 causes sometimes-severe hypersensitivity reactions and might trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children. What it's 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)
Caused adrenal tumors in animals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions. What it's in: Color bakery goods, cereals, beverages, dessert powders, candies, gelatin deserts, sausage, cosmetics and drugs.
As you can see there are some pretty scary facts listed there, and the rest of the article goes on to site scientific studies and other useful information.
As far as those brightly colored bunnies go? My children were on a mission to read the lable of every single piece of candy gifted to them. They even had me look up ingredients on all of their chocolates, as artificial flavored vanilla wasn't sounding so good to them anymore. Sandly we found that even some of the "best brand" chocolates had artificial flavorings.
Raising healthy kids is a mission of mine. I find it pleasing with God's help that we haven't spent a day in the doctors office this year and as a matter of fact maybe none last year as well. I can only attribute that to God himself and for new knowlege being shared with me daily. I hope this article wasn't a "guilt trip" of sorts for you, but some encouragment to take control of what you're feeding your kids. Once they go to the real, natural and whole living foods, they'll start noticing taste differences in the other. I think it is a win-win for all of us.
A couple of other great articles on the topic of food additives and food dyes.
The Dangers of Artificial Food Colors from Natural News