Color Me... Toxic? A Doctor's Take on Artificial Colors in Our Food

This is a guest post by Dr. Michael Teplitsky, author of Nutrition and Your Health. His book is a great guide to the basics of real food eating, including why saturated fat and cholesterol are healthy, which supplements are the best and more. I think this is a great resource, plus coming from a doctor it could be a great way to get those stubborn relatives into real food, too! You can read my interview with Dr. Teplitsky at this post and find out more about his book here.

Artificial colors are man-made, synthetic chemicals that are used to make processed foods look better. They are also added to drugs and cosmetic products. These chemicals do not make you healthy. In fact, your body does not need them at all. By definition, you will not find them in real, unprocessed foods, the kind that your body was designed to thrive on.

Artificial colors have to be listed on the label, so look for them. There are quite a few of them approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They usually start with the letters FD&C, which stands for Food, Drugs and Cosmetics.

Here is a partial list:

FD&C Blue No. 1

FD&C Blue No. 2

FD&C Green No. 3
Orange B

Citrus Red No. 2

FD&C Red No. 3

FD&C Red No. 40

FD&C Yellow No. 5

FD&C Yellow No. 6

The colors come in two basic forms – dyes and lakes. Dyes are water-soluble, lakes are not. Regardless of the form, all artificial colors contain dangerous chemicals, including toxic metals, such as mercury, lead, and arsenic.

These chemicals accumulate in the body and can cause health problems. This is especially true in kids, who are particularly sensitive to the effect of toxic chemicals. Artificial colors have been linked to hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder in children.

The best way to avoid artificial colors is to not eat processed foods. I mean anything that comes in a box, can, or any other kind of package. Most processed foods have additives, such as colors, flavors, preservatives, and other unnatural things.

Think of apple, broccoli or steak. These are examples of natural, unprocessed foods that you should make the cornerstone of your diet.

Elizabeth here: Toxic metals in food coloring? Ew. I just did a post on detoxing from these metals here. Check it out if you've ever eaten fruit roll-ups or the like (haven't we all? I did, like, every day for lunch when I was a kid!).

Oh, and I announced the winner of the Renew You 2010 MP3 giveaway earlier today. Check it out here. Even if you didn't win you can contact me to get a great coupon code if you want to purchase the MP3 package!

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