Saturday, November 16, 2013

What's My Problem with Artificial Food Colors?

It's a controversial topic in certain groups. Some people demand that artificial food colors be banned, while some people in the US government (namely, the FDA) claim the colors are perfectly safe. The majority of people don't give it a second thought and just eat what they want to eat.

Photographer: David Coleman | Agency: Dreamstime.com

  Personally, I don't want to eat artificial colors/dyes. They provide no nutritional value, and they don't enhance the flavor of food. They simply change the color. They can make foods appear brighter, more uniform in color, and more  appealing and appetizing. That's it. They're colored because they sell better that way.

Artificial food colors don't nourish or sustain. They don't help us with survival, growth and repair, or any other bodily functions. However, they have been linked to hyperactivity, aggressive behaviors, migraines, allergic reactions, and cancer. Studies have not provided enough evidence for the FDA to warn against the colors, but a study at the University of Southampton of 6 artificial colors has prompted the Food Standards Agency of the European Union to recommend phasing out the colors that were tested.

Many companies, including Kraft, Coca-Cola, and Mars are removing artificial colors from their products in the U.K. because of consumer concerns and the results of the study. Yet in the US, we are still sold the artificial ingredients. Is it just me, or does that seem messed up?

From what I understand, consumers in the US have simply not taken enough of a stand against artificial colors, so companies see no reason to substitute the cheap ingredients for slightly-more-expensive natural ones. Well, I'm ready to take that stand. How about you?

If your opinion contradicts mine, I'd also love to read it and hear about "the other side." I welcome anything thought-provoking.

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Pseudo (sü-dō) is something fake or not genuine. Food, according to the dictionary, is "something that nourishes or sustains." Pseudo food does neither of these and may actually harm the one ingesting it. It has the appearance of food but lacks the actual characteristics.