Every child gets attracted to the lovely coloured foods on their favourite weekend mall visit. Does your child love eating brightly coloured candies, cotton candies, jelly candies and ice creams? The answer is yes and we know it. Did you know the colours used in them are highly toxic?
Ever wondered why artificial food colours are bad for your child’s health? Let’s find out!
Food colours are the one thing we encounter or consume without realising. Be it your favourite candy, tomato ketchup, jam, jelly, breakfast cereal, fruit juice, soft drink, etc., all of these products are loaded with synthetic dyes.
What is food colouring?
Food colouring, or colour additive, is any dye, pigment or substance that imparts colour when it is added to food or drink. They come in many forms consisting of liquids, powders, gels, and pastes. Food colouring is used both in commercial food production and in domestic cooking.
It is a well-known fact that children love different colours and shapes in their meal. These colourful dishes attract them and eases the job of Mom who has to always chase the fussy eater. How do you know if the colour in your child’s food is harmful or not? At the end of this blog post, you will know for sure.
Synthetic dyes are coal or petroleum-based and at times are not even purified chemicals. These chemicals have a deleterious effect on your health and some of these chemicals are also carcinogenic.
Despite stringent regulations, several non-permitted colours are used for colouring many food items.
How harmful are these food colours?
Many parents have observed their child’s behaviour improve drastically when taken off food dyes, especially Red #40. Here is a slideshow with the negative effects of all the food dyes with the foods that contain these dyes.
Permitted colours are equally harmful to health causing various ailments. The cherry red colour of erythrosine makes it quite popular among sweets, candy and Popsicle manufacturers. It is also used in cake decorating gels and is known to damage your DNA and also interfere with the process of sperm formation and other functions of the pituitary gland.
A few commonly used natural colours are Annatto(seed), turmeric, beet juice (root), red Cabbage (vegetable), spinach (leaf) and caramel. All these colours are obtained from some of the other natural products. Least to know, these dyes are again processed and preservatives are added to keep the colour intact for a longer time.
Skip the chemicals found in synthetic dyes, and instead use this guide of fruits and vegetables to create your natural dyes.
It’s important to remember that natural dyes will take a little longer to work than synthetic ones. Also, it adds to the nutrient intake of your child, which the artificial colour fails to give.
Research has also associated food dyes with problems in children including allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability and aggressiveness. A study found that children who consumed a mixture of common synthetic dyes displayed hyperactive.
Many children have a slight sensitivity to food dyes-and a smaller percentage are very sensitive. We see reactions in sensitive individuals that include core ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) symptoms, like difficulty sitting in a chair and interrupting conversations. Even though, this isn’t the most compelling reason to give up food dyes. Foods with dyes are often riddled with other nutritional problems, like excess calories and fat.
Despite all the facts known, we still want colour in our meals. As rightly said, “We eat with our eyes first, and expect that coloured food will taste better.” After reading these eye opening dangers of food dyes, we suggest that you go an extra mile to use natural dyes in food, and watch out for the above names on the packages while buying food items from the super market.