What’s all the fuss about artificial food colorings?

It goes without saying that color additives or food coloring are substances that are added to food items or beverages to make them a certain color.   There are also natural variations in the color of foods due to the effects of storage and processing.  Manufacturers use colors and dye to mask those changes which in turn makes the item more appealing to the consumer.   Then there is the “psychology of color marketing.”   We could spend all day on that one.

In our “bakery” world, coloring is most often used for decorative purposes like matching the cake frosting to the color theme of a wedding.  Some of you might not know this, but most bakeries add “gobs” of artificial red food coloring to make Red Velvet cake.  At “BAKED”, we are committed to baking without the use of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and trans-fats.  The colorings that we use are fruit and vegetable based therefore 100% natural.  You may be asking, “So what, why fuss about artificial food colorings”?

Although there are varying opinions, claims of attention deficit, hyperactivity and behavioral disturbances occurring in children due to consumption of certain food additives and food coloring agents have been reported and  studies have shown that allergies result from certain food dyes.  In addition, research studies have found definite connections between behavioral problems and hyperactivity in children. Other effects on health from food dyes are allergies, headaches, asthma, fatigue, nausea, concentration problems, agitation and nervousness. In addition to this, there may also be an increased risk of developing Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma and lymphoma.  The use of D&C red 33, red 40, blues 1 and 2, FD&C yellow 5 and 6 appear to be the most problematic and are found in everything from drinks and dairy products to cake mix and cereals.

The bottom line…educate yourself.  If you or anyone you know is experiencing health problems, eliminate processed and artificially colored/flavored foods from the diet for 2 weeks.  Keep a food journal and observe your physical and emotional well being.  Read food labels and ask questions about your food purchases.  You might be amazed at the results.