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Impact of Artificial Food Colours on Your Health: Exploring Risks & Consequences

Food colours are used to enhance the appearance of our meals. This seems unnecessary, especially given how enticing it is to look at a rosy red apple or an emerald bunch of broccoli.

Shivam Dwivedi
Impact of Artificial Food Colours on Your Health: Exploring Risks & Consequences
Impact of Artificial Food Colours on Your Health: Exploring Risks & Consequences

Nonetheless, corporations have taken it upon themselves to add unneeded, artificial colouring to many of the foods we consume. But are these artificial colours in food harmful to our health, or are they simply a splash of technicolour added to a few sepia-toned foods.

What are the ingredients in artificial food colors?

Organic dyes have been used to colour food for generations, according to Healthline. It wasn't until around 1856 that the first artificial ones were developed that they began to be constructed of synthetic materials. Originally formed of delicious, healthy coal tar, these colours are now made of a far more modern commodity - 'petroleum.'

Given this, and given how horrible petroleum has proven to be for the environment and public health, it's no surprise that various dyes have been researched for their possible carcinogenic effects.

Are artificial food dyes harmful to your health?

According to Slate Magazine, large dosages of artificial food colours have been linked to birth abnormalities, cancer, and organ damage in animal test subjects. Meanwhile, the use of food colours has been related to childhood behavioural disorders such as ADHD and hyperactivity, while the veracity of these assertions is still being debated despite evidence from multiple scientific studies.

Nonetheless, major news agencies such as U.S. News & World Report appear to confirm the behavioural impacts of several of these colours on youngsters. Simultaneously, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) claimed that several popular artificial colors, including Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40, are "contaminated with known carcinogens."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also openly admitted that another dye, Red 3, is a thyroid carcinogen in animals, according to CSPI. As if that weren't enough, some people have had allergic reactions to a variety of common artificial dyes, including Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6.

Foods containing any of the same potentially cancer-causing, allergy-inducing dyes are all obliged to bear warning signs in Europe, despite the FDA's open approval of their usage in many of the foods consumed in the United States. While it has been difficult to uncover conclusive proof that the dyes are inherently dangerous, one could think that the EU's governing authority has a legitimate reason to impose these warnings.

What are health threats linked with food colours?

Even if the supposed carcinogenic characteristics of several of these colours have been confirmed by scientific studies, some proponents argue that the dangers caused by the various food dyes can be mitigated simply by "ingesting less of them." Increased exposure to and use of many of these artificial colour is thought to have resulted in brain cancer, bladder cancer, thyroid cancer, adrenal cancer, kidney cancer, and serious allergic reactions in certain people.

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