Yesterday’s issue of Food Dive was dedicated to the growing use of natural colors in food products. In fact, natural colors and clean foods have become “must haves” for many consumers. Food manufacturers have taken notice. Between 2009 and 2013, there’s been a 77 percent growth rate in new products using natural colors.
The shift away from artificial colors started a decade with a seminal 2007 study that indicated artificial food colors make children hyperactive. It was determined that Americans were eating five times more food dye than in 1955. Think about what you ate as a kid – cereals in brilliant blue, red and yellow, candy, brightly colored beverages in squeeze bottles. We hate to think about how those products got to be those rainbow hues. It’s not good news. Here’s a sampling of health threats posed by artificial dyes. Note that Red #40, Yellow #5 and #6 make up 90 percent of the market and are commonly found in a wide range of foods you and your family eats:
Red #40 – The most widely consumed artificial dye is Red #40 and is linked to hyperactivity, lymphomas and chromosomal damage.
Red #3 – The FDA tried to ban this dye and failed. It’s linked with hyperactivity, neurochemical and behavioral effects, thyroid tumors, and other health issues.
Yellow #5 – Banned in Norway, this dye is linked to aggression and violent behavior, asthma, insomnia, and chromosomal damage.
Yellow #6 – Norway and Sweden have banned this dye for links to hyperactivity, thyroid tumors and other concerns.
Blue #2 – Banned in Norway, this hue is linked to brain tumors.
All of this is serious stuff, which is why Thrive Ice Cream – which contains all natural colors – is pleased to see the U.S. food industry moving to naturally derived food dyes. Today, it’s estimated that 40 percent of U.S. food products are colored with natural dyes derived from carrots, beets, berries, and other foods.
The question becomes: “Is the switch helping?” According to a report released by Special Education Degree titledColors to Die for: The Dangerous Impact of Food Coloring, many parents have seen their child’s behavior improve dramatically when taken off food dyes, especially Red #40. Research suggests that some children may be susceptible to even tiny amounts of artificial dyes, but that a significant number of children are affected by amounts over 35 mg per day. Research from Purdue University showed the amount of dyes in common foods is much higher than expected and that one bowl of brightly colored cereal or some candy and macaroni and cheese was enough to break the 35mg threshold.
The research on artificial dyes and behavior continues, but the personal experience of many parents lends credence to the wisdom of removing artificial dyes from children’s diets.
Food Dive reports that nearly 30 percent of North Americans believe it’s very important to eat foods without artificial colors and are willing to pay more for them. We hope that’s true as you can’t put a price on health.
Thrive Ice Cream is formulated as complete nutrition and contains all natural colors and flavors, is certified Real Dairy, contains no high fructose corn syrup, and is appropriate for many special needs diets of children, active adults and seniors. Learn more about Thrive and order online here.