How Harmful is the Dye in our Food?
Updated: Sep 23
This is one of the hardest ingredients to keep from children but the most important. Children are immediately attracted to the bright and beautiful colors of that pink princess cupcake at the party, and can you blame them? It does look delicious. The problem is- red dye and the potential long and short terms effects of consuming it. Heres a break down on what prolong use of each synthetic colorant can do to our bodies;
Red 40- Hyperactivity, allergies, and various types of cancer.
Red 3- Hyperactivity, Thyroid cancer, and chromosomal damage.
Yellow 5- Hyperactivity, chromosomal damage, depletes zinc and thyroid tumors.
Yellow 6- Hyperactivity, kidney, ADHD, and adrenal gland tumors.
Green 3- Bladder and testicular cancer.
Blue 1- Hyperactivity, chromosomal damage, kidney tumors and asthma.
Blue 2- ADHD, allergies, and brain tumors.
Now I know what you might be thinking, “how can I possibly just cut my child off?” I know this can be huge and seem really overwhelming, especially if the child has never been restricted before. The key is to start slow when removing dye foods. Maybe start switching out their snack section in the cupboard with non dye, but very yummy options. The biggest thing is don’t forget to talk to your kids on why you’re doing this.
The key about changing your children’s diet for the better- is not making it seem like a punishment. In the beginning they will feel like they are missing out on their favorite desserts, candy, and snacks, but if you talk to them about how the dyes effect them, they will be more likely to stick to it and not be upset about it. When we first discovered the harms of dye in our foods, my son was the child most affected by this. So I sat down with him and gave him examples of how his behavior changed after he ate *insert dye-fulled treat* and that helped him pay more attention to how he felt after he ate something. Months later, we were at a function and someone handed him a red ice pop and my amazing little boy asked if this has red dye in it. Of course it did, and he said no thank you. Now does this happen every single time? No absolutely not, but the main thing is he is trying to make better choices.
So as long as you have delicious substitutions ready, they WILL adjust to this. There is so many great food items that kids will love without dye. Obviously fruits and vegetables are best but for a child who’s used to eating candy regularly fruits and veggies won’t cut it. Speaking of candy- it can be the biggest trigger- children see other children at parties, school, parks eating candy and they want to too. Be prepared, have dye free lollipops in your home. They are usually sweetened with honey or stevia. You can find them on Amazon or even at Target. You can also find gummy bears, hard candies, etc. For desserts and other treats, get creative! You can use food to create different colors.
Check out this list I’ve complied of food items that also double as natural food coloring:
Beets- red/pick tones
Carrot juice- orange
Matcha powder- green
Red cabbage- blue
Purple carrots- purple
Cocoa powder- brown
Activated charcoal powder- black
Those same ingredients can be used to color icing to give your child their own *pretty princess* cupcake like the rest of the kids. Just be sure to make the cake with organic ingredients and no refined sugar.
Let me know if you found this helpful and Id love to hear about healthy dye free snack you've made for the kiddies.
*Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a licensed health care practitioner is recommended for any concerns or symptoms of health issues.