Food dyes are chemical substances that were developed to enhance the appearance of food by giving it an enhanced color. The first artificial food coloring was created in 1856 from coal tar, but today, food dyes are made from petroleum – the same component that is used to make gasoline and kerosene. Food manufacturers use these dyes to cover up the absence of natural color, offset color loss due to light/temperature/air exposure, and to make food essentially more visually pleasing.
There are currently 6 food dyes that are approved by both the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the FDA, but the three that make up 90% of the food dye in the US are Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. These food dyes have been linked to negative impacts on your health, including chromosomal damage, neurological conditions, certain types of cancers, aggressive behavior, hyperactivity, respiratory conditions, skin conditions and allergies. Some of these dyes are even banned in European countries.
Almost every processed food in the US contains at least 1 artificial food dye, and they can even be found in most “organic” foods. Why? Studies have shown that color plays a factor in what we choose to eat. For example, we always choose the brightest colors when it comes to fruits and vegetables because in our minds, vibrant equals healthy. Also, kids are more drawn to color, which is why we are assaulted by neon colored cereals, brightly colored popsicles and yogurts, and unnaturally red juices every time we walk into a grocery store.
It’s information like this that leads us to wonder, why do we need dyes in our food? The answer is quite simple – we don’t. When following GOLO, you are trying to eliminate these types of processed and packaged foods anyway. Personally, I’d choose colorless food over chemicals any day!
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