Food Colors: Fading Fast?
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on April 8, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Good news! The trend towards using natural colors in foods, rather than artificial dyes, is increasing by many manufacturers. Even some big brand names are starting to substitute ingredients such as beets and carrots for Red Dye No. 40, the most widely used food coloring in the U.S., due to consumer demand. This is welcome news for those wishing to avoid unnecessary, cosmetic ‘improvements’ to their food, especially ingredients known or suspected to have an association with hyperactivity in children, or other health effects including possible carcinogenicity.
Why the Switch?
Scientific studies over the last couple of decades have suggested that color additives might be linked to hyperactivity in children (some of our fans can attest to this with their own children). Two recent studies in Britain found that children given foods containing some artificial dyes and a food preservative, sodium benzoate, showed an increase in hyperactivity. As a result, the European Parliament now requires foods containing those six tested dyes to carry a warning label stating that they “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”
Mandatory label warnings in the European market are the reason that some U.S. foodmakers have switched to other dyes (including some natural ones): to avoid the need to put warning labels on their products destined for Europe.
This Wednesday, an advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration (U.S.A.) will meet to discuss the science behind artificial dyes and whether the government should be restricting their use. Depending on the outcome (we’ll keep you posted), that chemically enhanced “orange” color of a couple of top-selling snack brands may soon require a warning label!
When choosing Natural Wellbeing, you can rest assured that ALL of our products (including Concentration Essentials), contain no artificial colors.
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan