Are Food Dyes Dangerous?

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 6 ““ You’ve seen these mysterious combinations of colors and numbers on the ingredient list of your favorite candies, cereals, ice creams, soft drinks, snacks and even pet foods.

Artificial dyes may be pleasant to look at, but are they hazardous to your health? Find out exactly what you are ingesting when you eat foods that contain these substances and what health consequences they may have.

 Blue 1: Also known as Brilliant Blue, this popular synthetic additive is actually made from petroleum. Blue 1 may contribute to allergic reactions, asthma and gastrointestinal upset. At least 11 European countries have banned the use of this dye in food manufacturing, but here in the U.S. you’ll find Blue 1 in baked goods, candies and beverages.

Red 40: Commonly found in candies, soft drinks and medications, Red 40 (Allura Red) is also made from petroleum. Research has suggested that Red 40 could be a factor in hyperactivity, especially in children, and should be avoided if possible.

Yellow 6:   Yellow 6, also known as Sunset Yellow, has been linked to allergic reactions and hyperactivity. One particular compound that may be found in this dye has been identified as carcinogenic. Yellow 6 is manufactured from petroleum and typically found in chips, cheese-flavored products and apricot or citrus-flavored jams and jellies.

Instead of artificial dyes, rely on the rainbow of colors provided by nature by eating at least five servings of richly colored fruits and veggies per day. And when it comes to processed food, look for natural food products with dyes made from natural substances, such as plants and vegetables.