Ava had so much fun picking out a “dog” cake, which was basically two chocolate cupcakes covered with a mountain of bright blue frosting to resemble a long-haired dog of some kind, with two beady chocolate eyes! It was quite the conversation piece! She ate one of the cupcakes, and her tongue was, you guessed it, bright blue! She enjoyed her birthday indulgence, and then threw the rest of the “dog” into the garbage can. I don’t like to preach nutrition at a birthday party, so we just laughed, wrinkled our noses, and enjoyed the day.
Most of us can handle the artificial food dyes that we eat during occasional celebrations, but it’s the daily indulgences on a regular basis that can hamper our health!
Blue #1, blue #2, green #3, red #3, red #40, yellow #5, and yellow #6 are artificial food dyes made from coal tar or petroleum. They have been linked to allergies, asthma, hyperactivity in kids, and cancer. The United Kingdom has asked companies to stop using most artificial food dyes as food additives, and to place warning labels on any packages that contain them.
You need to read the ingredients labels to check for these colors in everything from salmon, yogurt, Gatorade, fruit punch, candy, gum, cookies, ice cream, baked goods, cereals, cake mixes, frosting, pickles, sausage and hot dog casings, cheese, and butter, to supplements and medications. For a listing of foods and food colorings they contain, visit www.brainfoodselector.iatp.org (Center for Science in the Public Interest).
Some safer coloring agents include turmeric, blueberries, and beets.
Remember, even if you aren’t sensitive to synthetic food dyes, it’s the cumulative effects that can lead to health problems. Your best defense is to read those ingredients labels! Teach your children to read them, too. I showed my five-year-old grandson the label of the Gatorade he had had been drinking, and when I read yellow 6 on the label, I asked him if he would eat a yellow crayon. He said “no” and that he wouldn’t be able to drink that Gatorade again!
Keep learning to be healthy!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Consultant
1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.