The Cost of Color: How Artificial Colors Can Affect your Health and your Skin

food colors and dyesEver wonder why certain food, drinks, skin and body care, even household cleaners come in colors like bright blue, green, red, pink, orange and purple? These are definitely not natural dyes, yet they are used so frequently they are starting to show cause for concern.

“It takes up to 25 synthetic chemicals to create 1 artificial dye. If a product is purple, it could potentially have 50 or more chemicals just in the color.” – Leila McGehee Tucker, ND, CNC

And these 50 chemicals are making their way through the skin or down the digestive tract into the bloodstream. The body can process some of them out, but some remain – and all this can definitely add up to knock down health and cause skin to age prematurely, break out or become hyper sensitive. The liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and intestines have enough to work on without all these extra synthetic chemicals to process and detoxify. The more stress we put on our digestive system, the more problems we will have with our skin. Add to this the histamine effects of certain dyes that can cause allergic reactions like rashes, swelling and dermatitis, even headaches and (most commonly) hyperactivity and mood disorders in children.

Do we really need purple that badly? The real concern is how many products and consumer goods that contain artificial dyes. here’s a brief list of common products containing synthetic dyes:

  • Gatorade and other sports drinks and sodas
  • gelatin products like Jell-o and puddings
  • popsicles
  • food coloring – used to decorate cakes, cookies, Easter eggs, etc
  • cereals
  • candy
  • laundry detergents
  • hand and dish soaps
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • skin care products
  • cosmetics
  • mouthwash and toothpaste
  • salad dressing
  • margarita mix
  • juices
  • cheeses

…and the list goes on and on…

Even if some of these products don’t look like they contain dyes, check the label anyway! Many add color in to prevent discoloration.

Pure Zing provides a general guide to food additives and toxins that many Americans use on a daily basis.

They also lists artificial dyes and their effects on the body.

CBS News reports on an FDA request to ban certain artificial dyes as they are linked to ADHD and hyperactivity in children.

Foodconsumer.org also reports on food dyes coming into scrutiny.

Dyes don’t have to be synthetic. They can also be sourced from vegetables and fruits. However, these natural sources don’t get the bright color the synthetic sources provide, and they are sometimes much more expensive to use.

Bottom line? Read labels and be aware of what goes into your body or on your skin. Limit synthetic dyes whenever possible, especially if you are experiencing some of the above mentioned symptoms.

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2 replies
  1. Jonathon Pugsley
    Jonathon Pugsley says:

    Great information on your article! I learn so much that I did not know. Thank you. I have to admit that manufacturers are able to get away with. The FDA is way to easy on food manufacturers. I look forward to the day the ban artifiicial colors worldwide including the United States.

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