Colorful Skittles

Artificial Colors

Artificial colors are used in processed foods to make them look more appealing.  The problem is that they are created in a lab and they have numerous health concerns.  Studies show that artificial food colors can cause hyperactivity and ADHD.  Artificial food colors are banned in Europe, yet the FDA continues to allow them in our food.

Found in

  • Candy
  • Snacks
  • Juice
  • Soft Drinks
  • Cereal
  • Macaroni and Cheese

Did you Know?

  • Out of 10,000+ food additives, artificial colors are one of the top 12 worst ingredients added to foods. Check out EWG’s Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives.
  • Artificial food colors are derived from petroleum. Petroleum is used in gasoline, asphalt, and tar.  Would you eat any of these things?
  • The top commonly used colors are Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.
  • The purpose of artificial colors is simply to make foods look more appetizing. They are completely unnecessary.
  • Food companies sell the same products made with natural food coloring in Europe and other countries.
  • Safety of artificial dyes in food has been in question for DECADES.
  • Animal lab tests confirm that artificial colors can cause cancer.
  • Large studies on children show behavioral effects from eating dyes. Note that the levels of artificial colors in some foods exceed levels used in many of these tests!
  • Children eating SAD (Standard American Diet) consume copious amounts of food dyes.
  • Negative impacts include hyperactivity, ADHD and other behavioral problems. Not all children are sensitive, but do so you want to take the chance?


Samantha is one of many children who are highly sensitive to many foods. She had uncontrollable tantrums shortly after consuming Red 40. After her mother happened to finally connect to dots and removed all Red 40 from her diet, there was a drastic improvement.

Alessandra suffered terrible uncontrollable tantrums shortly after consuming artificial dyes.  She would stop responding to discipline, get angry and lash out in rage.

Somewhere I read about a real life experiment where a group of kids at a daycare were given brand name processed foods such as packaged cookies, juices and other snacks VS whole foods such as sliced fruits and veggies, nuts.  There was a drastic difference in he kids behavior even after one day. I nstead of being riled up and fighting more often, they became calmer and easier to manage.

Shopping Tips

  • When shopping read the ingredient labels and check for artificial colors.
  • You can also use an app such as Fooducate, available on iphone/android/desktop.
  • Remember to vote with your dollars and boycott brands that still use artificial colors.
  • Read this Essential Guide to Healthy Cereal

Artificial colors are not something that you want your family to consume. Food companies can and do make food without artificial colors in Europe. Don’t we deserve the same?  The FDA has acknowledged artificial food coloring might exacerbate existing behavioral problems in children. Until the FDA gets its act together and bans artificial colors we have to protect ourselves and mindful of what we buy and the ingredients they contain.

First-ever Study Reveals Amounts of Food Dyes in Brand-name Foods
Living in Color: The Potential Dangers of Artificial Dyes
CSPI Says Food Dyes Pose Rainbow of Risks
Do Food Dyes Affect Behavior?

Photo: pixabay




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