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Let’s Get Rid Of The Food Dyes

Those people who have followed me on this blog for awhile know how I frequently talk about eating whole foods, mostly organic if possible, and how you should minimize your consumption of refined foods, drink purified water, etc.  In this post I’d like to focus on some of the artificial ingredients that are put in many of our foods.  Now obviously this won’t be a problem for you if all you do is consume organic foods and drink purified water.  But I realize that most people who are reading this information don’t only eat organic foods.  Heck, even I don’t eat a diet consisting of 100% organic foods!  But whenever I go the the grocery store to buy food, I avoid buying foods that have artificial colors, flavors, etc.

The truth is, even if you want to continue buying refined foods, you can still easily avoid purchasing products that include artificial ingredients.  For example, let’s take a look at breakfast cereals.  There are many different sugary breakfast cereals which include artificial colors and/or flavors.  I actually grew up eating many of these, as every morning I would have a bowl of Froot Loops, or another sugary cereal (Lucky Charms, Fruity Pebbles, Apple Jacks, etc.).  And while these cereals may taste good, many natural breakfast cereals without artificial ingredients taste pretty good as well. 

As you might have guessed, I recommend minimizing the consumption of ANY breakfast cereal.  In any case, if you were to compare two cereals side by side, one with artificial ingredients,and another with natural ingredients, it probably wouldn’t be a surprise if the cereal with the artificial ingredients tasted better to you.  After all, the artificial colors make some of these cereals look more appealing, and some people are addicted to foods high in sugar.  Without question, most children would prefer the cereal with artificial ingredients as well.

But it all comes down to what we’re accustomed to.  In other words, I do let my children eat breakfast cereal from time to time.  However, when we purchase cereal, we make sure they are low in sugar, and without artificial ingredients.  While my two beautiful girls probably would prefer eating Froot Loops or Lucky Charms, we don’t give them that junk.  So since they’re not exposed to these junk cereals, they’re not used to eating the cereals that look good and are high in sugar, and therefore they enjoy the taste of the natural cereal.  On the other hand, if we gave them Froot Loops or another sugary cereal for breakfast every day, and then suddenly switched to a natural cereal that was low in sugar, they probably would rebel.  And the same concept applies to other types of foods.  Once again, we try to minimize the amount of refined foods that our children eat, but when we do purchase refined foods for them, we make sure that they are free of any artificial ingredients.

If you have children and currently are giving them cereal and other foods which contain artificial ingredients, then it can be challenging to make the transition to natural foods.  In other words, upon purchasing natural foods they probably will rebel, but of course as they get older they will appreciate this move, realizing that you did it because you were concerned for their health.

If you would like to know some of the risks of consuming these artificial dyes, you can check out the following report, which is a real eye-opener. 

http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/food-dyes-rainbow-of-risks.pdf [1] 

This is a 68-page report that goes into detail about the specific dyes, and the potential risks involved.  These dyes that are commonly placed in the foods we eat (Red Dye #40, Yellow #5, Yellow #6, etc.) can potentially cause cancer, genetic mutations, and other health conditions.  And while you might argue that there is no guarantee eating foods which contain these artificial preservatives will cause any health issues, why take the chance when there are natural foods that for the most part taste just as good?

You might wonder why companies choose to use artificial dyes when they can use natural ingredients.  As usual, it comes down to profit, as these artificial ingredients are usually cheaper to include, and are also more stable than most natural ingredients.  So while some companies have made the switch and now use natural ingredients, many continue to use artificial colors and flavorings.

Just as is the case with all “bad foods”, eating foods with artificial ingredients on an occasional basis probably won’t do you harm, unless if you happen to be severely allergic to any of these ingredients.  But assuming this is not the case, then it’s usually no big deal to eat such foods every now and then.  However, most people consume these artificial ingredients on a regular basis.  This of course includes millions of children, who are only eating these potentially harmful ingredients because they’re given to them by their parents.  And I’m not trying to give anyone reading this a guilt trip, as I’m just stating the facts.

Of course I realize that many people buy these foods with artificial ingredients because they are less expensive than natural foods.  And I’m not suggesting that you eat only organic foods.  In fact, even if you choose not to eat any organic foods due to the high cost, you still can purchase non-organic foods with natural ingredients for a reasonable cost.  Sure, they won’t be as cheap as junk food, but we’re talking about your health here.  And if you and your family eat these toxins on a daily basis, over the years this is likely to create health problems, which obviously will cost you money to address.  So over the long term you’re really not saving much money, and at the same time are risking your health by eating foods with artificial ingredients.

What I would recommend is for you to create a list of everything you eat, and then see how you can replace any foods which have artificial ingredients with foods that consist of natural ingredients.  Of course replacing refined foods with whole foods will solve this problem, but even if you choose to eat some refined foods, try to eat foods that only contain natural ingredients.  If you don’t care about your health (which I’m guessing you do care or you wouldn’t be reading this), at least consider the health of any children or grandchildren you have who don’t have a choice but to eat the foods you buy.