Are foods with artificial colorings harmful?
Manufacturers must list human-made food dyes in ingredient lists, so seeing Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 on labels has become commonplace. The problem is that these three dyes that are the most commonly used also contain compounds such as 4-aminobiphenyl and benzidine, both of which are potentially cancer-causing agents.
What is even more alarming is the harm that these ingredients may be causing our children. Studies are currently underway that appear to show a direct link between increasing amounts of synthetic food dye consumed with hyperactivity and short term memory loss in children. Knowing that these dyes are even more concentrated in foods marketed directly to children, such as breakfast cereals, ice cream, and sodas, simply exacerbates the problem. Other side effects currently being linked to food dyes and children include depression, irritability, increased allergies, and learning disabilities.
Researchers and scientists are suggesting that the most responsible path for parents to have a conversation with their children that explains what foods with artificial colors are harmful and the potential harms of synthetic dyes and offer alternatives. Opting for a bowl of fresh fruit will satisfy a sweet tooth just as well as a bowl of cereal in the morning. While children may not want to give up colorful favorites, responsible parents need to help children create healthier eating habits. Take the time to read labels, explain to children what the ingredients are and why some products are inherently better for them than others.
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