Red, blue, yellow and green, there is an absolute rainbow of colours out there that you can find in your food. When you stop to think about it though, most of these colours do not occur with the same vibrancy in nature as they do in your cereal, so why is it that we want to eat them? After all, when was the last time you saw a brilliant blue in naturally grown food?
From ice cream to fish, there are many foods that are dyed to make them seem more appetising, but the truth is that these dyes are not what you want to be digesting on a regular basis. There is dye in many brands of margarines, adding to the chemicals which are already in this product, chemicals which you might be consuming unknowingly.
If you read the ingredients carefully, you will see in the fine print the initials FD&C followed by a number, which indicates the dye in the product. These dyes exist not only in candies but in cakes and dairy products, as well as coloured beauty products.
Although it is possible to use natural dyes, these synthetic dyes are easier to use because they are water-soluble. Many of them are petroleum-based: prolonged exposure to this chemical can have a variety of effects on the immune and nervous system from neurological disorders to asthma. The impact of petroleum is still being researched but the results so far should encourage you to avoid this particular chemical.
The food dyes themselves have a negative impact, ranging from allergic reactions to hyperactivity. Medical research shows that some of these dyes are possible carcinogens including Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.
While some countries have stricter prohibitions on food dyes, unfortunately these dyes are still a common additive in many countries in a wide variety of food products. So when you next reach for a colourful popsicle on a hot summer day, read the ingredients first and then consider a healthier alternative.