Colorful Catastrophe

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It's that time of year again. As the holidays roll around and the weather gets colder, we consume more and more candy and colorful treats. However, these colors can have a variety of unwanted side effects for something that doesn't even change the way your food tastes.

Being a child in today's world means eating foods in many colors. From bright blue to light purple, there isn't a color we haven't consumed. And even when our foods aren't neon green, there is still a high chance they have been colored. Everything from mac and cheese to ice cream can contain them.  So what exactly are these colors and what are they doing to our bodies?

While some European countries have placed regulations on food dyes, the United States has not made these changes. Every year the US pours 15 million pounds of food dyes into our food- especially in kids food. These dyes are split into eight varieties: blue #1, blue #2, citrus red #2, green #3, red #3, red #40, yellow #5, and yellow#6. 

Artificial colors can act as endocrine disruptors. This means they can disrupt our hormone system leaving us susceptible to many diseases and even cancers in our future. This is especially dangerous for children who are still growing and are therefore the most susceptible. Many of these colorful foods are targeted towards them. Food dyes are linked to tumors of the bladder and brain in studies and even allergic reactions. A particular culprit, Yellow #5, is linked to hyperactivity and behavioral changes in children such as ADHD. 

Luckily, these harmful chemicals are easy to avoid. By sticking to foods that are naturally colored you can lower your risk greatly. While it is good to have many natural foods that are a variety of colors in your diet, man made colors don't fill these needs.

By: Sara Frawley