Monday, February 10, 2014

Are Artificial Dyes That Bad for You?

There have been more and more studies that show artificial dyes are not good for us.  Artificial dyes are petroleum-based, made from the same petroleum that fuels our vehicles.  According to CSPI, three of the most widely used dyes (Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) contain known carcinogens, which are agents that are directly linked to the cause of cancer.  Now why would the FDA allow such ingredients to be added to our food?

Many people have an allergy to artificial dyes, resulting in a wide variety of symptoms.  As a child, every time I would eat or drink something with artificial red dye in it, I would get a headache shortly after.  Even as young as I was, I realized that it was the red dye that affected me.  I saw many other children who would be well behaved then after snack time, and having a soda or something with artificial coloring added, they would bounce off the walls so-to-speak and be very disruptive in class.

Numerous studies have linked artificial dyes to hyperactivity in children and many parents can attest to this fact.  The Washington Post says, "Beyond the behavioral problems and cancer risks, the greatest hazard that dyes pose for children may also be the most obvious: They draw kids away from nutritious foods and toward brightly colored processed products that are high in calories but low in nutrients, such as fruit-flavored drinks and snack foods. Those types of foods are a major force in America’s obesity epidemic, which, according to the Society of Actuaries, costs the nation $270 billion a year."

Ever since I first learned that artificial dyes are linked to hyperactivity and cancer, I have done my best to stay away from them. As an adult I have noticed that when I have something with artificial color in it, I can't seem to focus as well as I normally can.  Some things we would not think do not contain artificial dyes, but they do, including white stuff!

Some items that contain artificial dyes are: packaged macaroni and cheese, store bought cheese, yogurt, flavored milk, candy, snack cakes, cake mixes, cake frosting, pickles, pizza, vitamins, medications, granola/cereal bars, chips, flavored oatmeal, cereals, ice cream (including plain, white ice cream!), marshmallows, processed meats and hotdogs, refrigerated dough, sodas, juice, jello, frozen waffles, chocolate syrup, cheese flavored crackers, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, lipstick/gloss, bubble bath, etc.

I have realized that any time I break down and have to take an ibuprofen for pain, I have trouble concentrating afterward.  It has artificial orange dye in it that could be contributing to my symptoms.  I also noticed I had major emotional mood swings when I used to eat candy and ice cream with artificial dyes in them.  When I eat a healthy diet and avoid anything artificial, I don't have mood swings like I used to...even during that time of the month.

Also, a lot of pet foods have artificial dyes in them.  My dog breaks out with spots on his underside and we believe it could be the dyes in his food and treats, especially the red color.  We try to only give him natural foods now to help stop that. Some people have allergies to the dyes as well and break out in rashes, given Benadryl to help, only to get worse because Benadryl contains artificial dye!

I really don't understand why dog foods would have artificial colors.  I can see why kids' food would because it is more pleasing to the eye, and it's a marketing tactic.  The problem is that they serve no purpose and are not needed.  They just line the pockets of the companies that sell them.

Did you know that in Europe, it is required to have a warning label on any product containing artificial dyes?  Some of the products that are made for the United States have artificial dyes in them while the same brand and products in Europe contain natural dyes.  That is probably because they don't wan to have to label it with a warning.  People are more hesitant to buy something that has a warning label on it.

The CDC states, "Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011."  The numbers have been on the rise and are continuing to rise.  We have statistics such as this and studies showing links between things like artificial dyes and the rising numbers of neurological problems in Americans.  Why are changes not taking place?

We have to vote with our dollars.  Every time we buy something that isn't loaded with the artificial dyes, it is taking money out of the pocket of the companies who include those dyes in their products.  Eventually they will get the message and change their product to get more consumers to buy them.  You can also sign petitions on to have the artificial dyes removed from things like M&M's and Kraft products.

All we can do is read labels, avoid those products with the artificial dyes in them, and sign petitions until the FDA makes the changes that are needed to protect us and our children from these harmful additives.  We have come too far as a country to be having continuous rises in our disease statistics and neurological defects of our people.  It's time to make a change.

This post is linked up to the Homestead Barn Hop!


  1. Hi Candice! Found your blog through the Barn Hop. Looks like we share a lot of interests....=)

    Great post on artificial dyes too!

    1. Thank you for reading, Jennifer! I will have to check out your site as well!


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